weight training over 50

It works.

All of it.

weight training over 50
Weight training over 50 works.

Light weights. Heavy weights. Moderate weights.

You can make gains with just about any program. It all works.

Consistency is your key to success with weight training over 50 years old..

This study shows that no difference in muscle growth was seen from light weights using high reps (3 sets of 10 Rep Max) versus heavier weights and low reps (7 sets of 3 Rep Max).

  • 10 Rep Max (RM) means selecting a weight where you will max out at 10 reps
  • Note that the study attempted to control volume (reps x weight)-I don’t know what the specific numbers were but for illustration, lets say the 10 RM was 150 pounds. Volume for group 1 was (3x10x150) or 4500 pounds lifted each workout. So the 3 RM was around 215 pounds giving total volume of 4515 pounds for group 2.

After eight weeks no significant differences were noticed in muscle thickness of the biceps. Strength, however, did favor the low rep, high weight group.

So, if you’re looking to get pumped and go shirtless, both bodybuilding type training (higher reps) and strength training (higher weight) will get the job done.

If you’re shooting for max strength, stick with the heavier weights and lower reps.

Weight Training Over 50

Try this workout below. I guarantee your success if you:

  • Use whatever weight and rep range feels good.
  • Do it three times a week for six to eight weeks.
  • Be consistent. Don’t miss workouts.
  • Use some common sense like sleeping well and limiting alcohol calories.
  • Eat quality protein at about 1 gram per pound of lean body mass (LBM). See how to calculate LBM here.

Change is good

In this program, we change the training approach every three weeks, using low-rep strength training, mid-range metabolic conditioning to very high repetition endurance workouts.

It all works and it works even better when you continuously change it up.

Try this workout.

The Exercises

Barbell Overhead Press

Bent Over Row

Dead Lift

Goblet Squat

Suitcase Carry

What do you think?

Are you a heavy weight, low rep lifter or lighter weight, high rep lifter? Please comment below.


Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research/National Strength and Conditioning Association 2014 Oct;28(10):2909-18. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000480. Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on muscular adaptations in well-trained men.

About the author 

Mark Fickler

Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 64 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature 2 Rule Easy Fat Loss training program.

  • I agree with you about “big rocks vs little rocks” (this was mentioned in the email I got from you, that lead me to this article). But for my personality, that takes effort to do! I’m the type that obsesses over the details. I purchased your program “How to Build Muscle After 50”. That has helped me tremendously with those details. Now on to conquer the “big rocks” of consistency – in exercise and diet. Thanks!

    • I like things that simplify matters. I have the tendency to get stuck trying to learn more, find the perfect solution. In fitness, it is consistent action that matters. So thinking about Big Rocks helps to simplify. Just do something 3 times a week. Eat food that looks like something you recognize from nature, not shit in a box or bag.

  • Mary Green says:

    I admire your active life style. Maybe you can help me. I am searching for a barbell comp done by woman over 50. I am 67. I’m not a heavy lifter but i can do olympic lifting with good form. All for fun. I can do a 200 # DL, 170 Back squat, 105 front Squat and I am working on a 75# snatch. Just looking for woman that enjoy lifting and want a little fun comp. I live in Nevada.

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