Weight Lifting Routines for Men Over 50

Lifting weights should be done by everyone if they are able to. It doesn’t matter what age, gender or size you may be – if you can go to the gym then you should. There are many weight lifting routines for men over 50. Today I will be sharing one of the best with you.

Lifting protocols do not change much between demographics. I’m sure any man over fifty years old will agree you can’t move like when you were twenty. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make amazing changes to how you look and feel. It just means you need to be a bit more careful. At Rise and Claim we are all about focusing on what we can do rather than what we cannot. With that said, there is still a tremendous potential in any man, no matter the age.

As your risk of injury increases with age, you must become more aware of proper technique. Everyone should aspire to achieve near-perfect form but younger men have more margin for error. The good news – following the correct technique and sensible programming will drastically decrease your chance of injury. This will allow you to enjoy the benefits of lifting weights, which there are a ton of.

Increased confidence

As you get stronger and witness your body transform week on week, your confidence will grow as well. There is nothing more powerful than being capable of improving yourself. Once you experience it the rest of your life will follow suit. It is not uncommon to get in shape and then improve your relationships and finances. The reason being is the momentum gained from looking good radiates out. Becoming stronger reassures your place in the physical world. It gives you the confidence to handle challenges that once seemed too large. A strong individual walks with their head held high. Once you begin to conquer the iron, everything seems that bit more in reach.

Improved posture

Following a good barbell training program will have you performing the big compound movements. A large proportion of these will work the muscles that go into having great posture. These muscles are the part of what is known as the posterior chain. The muscles making up the posterior chain are the neck, back, glutes and hamstring muscles. Abdominal muscles are also essential for great posture. Having great posture is a sign of strength. It immediately creates the impression of someone who is confident and dominant. Those with bad posture constantly have their eyes turned to the floor. They appear weaker and unsure of themselves. First impressions matter and with improved posture you can be sure to make a good one.

Look better

We all want to look better if even if we won’t admit it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it at the same time. No matter what age we are, appearance should always be a high priority. Even if it isn’t important to you in particular, your spouse will appreciate it regardless. There are many men over the age of fifty who look better than the average twenty year old. Age should not be an excuse to let ourselves decline. While nature will take it’s course, there is plenty we can do to prolong our quality of life. Lifting weights is one of these key things.

Improved mood

Ever heard of happy chemicals or endorphins after exercise? Better yet – have you ever experienced it first hand? If not, you are missing out on a incredible feeling.  Lifting weights has it’s own version of the”Runners high”. It’s just as good if not better (in my humble opinion. Lifting weights increases your ability to handle stress. Small annoyances that would have annoyed you in the past may well not anymore. Those who are strong do not get disturbed easily.

Starting Strength

This is one of the best weight lifting routines for men over 50 program ever. It is also perfect for older men as it takes care to monitor levels of fatigue and stress. Mark Rippetoe, the creator, has over three decades of competitive lifting and coaching under his belt. Mark has used this to formulate the most simple and effective program out there for beginners. Starting Strength was designed to be followed by virtually anyone. This means there should be no problems for anybody who is seeking to pack on muscle and get stronger.

The program goes through slight modifications throughout it’s timeline but four main lifts remain constant. These are the squat, deadlift, bench press and the overhead press.

Here is a “How to” video on each of the lifts:

Starting Strength is a three day per week program. It seeks consistent progression in weight with every workout. This means 5lbs/2.5kg should be added to your previous lifts. The average time an individual can run starting strength for is six months. Correct adherence during this time will result in greater strength than most gym-goers. Each movement is performed for 3 sets of 5 reps. Take as much time as needed to rest between sets. This will normally be in the 3-5 minute bracket. Rest times generally increase with experience on this program. This is as a result of increasing weights requiring longer recovery.

The program looks like this in phase 1:

WEEK 1
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                  Squat                  Squat
Press                  Bench Press            Press
Deadlift               Deadlift               Deadlift

WEEK 2
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                  Squat                  Squat
Bench Press            Press                  Bench Press
Deadlift               Deadlift               Deadlift


Phase 1 lasts usually for a couple of weeks. During this period, the movements patterns should be learned and technique practiced. The weights are sufficiently low enough at this point that deadlifts can be performed twice a week. Once the weight you are capable of deadlifting overtakes what you are able to squat phase 1 is complete. 

Now you are ready to move on to phase 2:

WEEK 1
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                          Squat                             Squat
Press                           Bench Press                  Press
Deadlift                      Power Clean                 Deadlift

WEEK 2
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                          Squat                             Squat
Bench Press               Press                              Bench Press
Power Clean              Deadlift                         Power Clean

As you can see the power clean has been added to the routine in phase 2. This has replaced one of the deadlift spots to where it is now only performed once a week. The reason being is the deadlift is very hard to recover from. The power clean offers a fantastic alternative that builds explosive power. It also has great carryover to the deadlift as well due it working the same muscles.

This phase should be continued for 2-3 weeks to get acquainted with the power clean. 

Now it is time to move onto phase 3:

WEEK 1
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                  Squat                  Squat
Press                  Bench Press            Press
Deadlift               Back Extensions        Power clean
                       Chin-ups

WEEK 2
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                  Squat                  Squat
Bench Press            Press                  Bench Press
Back Extensions        Deadlift               Back Extensions
Chin-ups                                      Chin-ups

In phase 3 the deadlift and the power clean and deadlift are alternated between one another. This will give you more time to recover between deadlift workouts as the weight gets heavier. Chin-ups and back extensions have been added to the routine. This is the main phase of the program and it is where you will spend the majority of your time in starting strength. Chin ups and back extensions have been added for more back volume and to pack on more muscle. Chin ups will make your biceps explode in size which is good news for everyone. 

If you cannot do chin ups, bands are a great tool to use. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 bodyweight chin ups and back extensions you can then begin adding weight each workout. The number of reps performed should each be in the 5-7 range. Remember these are accessory movements. Most of your energy should be put into the exercises earlier in the workout.

It is in this phase where it is normally to “miss reps”. This is when you fail to complete the designated reps on a workout day. When you do stall, the lift should be repeated at the same weight next time around. This can result in completing the reps the second time. Sometimes the lift may be incomplete again. In this case the weight should be decreased to 90{3711378c469cb0b0f2923e21da067e748d3928633920f885cee3cbec769ee698} of the failed lift for the next workout.

Do not be annoyed with missing lifts. This is normal and happens to everyone as Starting Strength is only designed to be run for around 6 months. Once missed lifts become more frequent, progression can still be made but just a bit slower.

Finally phase 4:

WEEK 1
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                  Light Squat            Squat
Press                  Bench Press            Press
Deadlift               Back Extensions        Power Clean
                       Chin-ups

WEEK 2
MONDAY                 WEDNESDAY              FRIDAY
Squat                  Light Squat            Squat
Bench Press            Press                  Bench Press
Back Extensions        Deadlift               Back Extensions
Chin-ups                                      Chin-ups

Once you have had to reset on squats three times a light squat day is introduced every Wednesday. This is to aid recovery and  should be performed at 80{3711378c469cb0b0f2923e21da067e748d3928633920f885cee3cbec769ee698} of Monday’s weight. A light squat day allows for progression to be continued for longer on starting strength.

Eventually progress will slow down to such a degree to where weight can no longer be added every week. Once this is the case, you have completed starting strength and can now go onto an intermediate program such as wendler 5/3/1. Upon completion of this program you should be strong as hell. Your body will have transformed and will look better than ever. Through this process you will experience the power of dedication and consistency.

If you want to learn more about Starting Strength and the philosophy behind it, check out Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. This book will teach you everything you wanted to know about weight lifting. It has in depth instructions on how to perform every lift and the reasoning behind them as well. I can’t go into nearly as much detail as this book does which is a big benefit it offers.

The tools to change your life are there. All that is required of you is to put in the work. I have seen many people get seriously strong through this program. I wish I discovered it when I was beginning.

Thanks for reading,

Stay tuned.

P.S Leave a comment down below to let me know what you think.

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By | 2018-01-14T02:56:29+00:00 December 11th, 2017|Life|4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. […] is a program perfect for beginners who are new to weight lifting. In fact if you have never touched a barbell in your life you will see the most drastic changes […]

  2. Cesar January 10, 2018 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Squatting and deadlifting 3x a week seems pretty intense for a beginner, especially a beginner that’s over 50.

    • Peter January 10, 2018 at 11:02 am - Reply

      Hi Cesar thanks for commenting.

      You actually only deadlift 3x a week for the first two weeks of the program. After that, it is only performed once a week. The reason it can be performed 3x a week in the beginning is because the weights used will be sufficiently light to do so. Squatting 3x a week is perfectly fine for a beginner. It is a method used by numerous programs to get the best results for it’s trainees. It is not easy of course but it does get the best results.

      Starting Strength has been performed by thousands of over 50’s successfully. The program was designed to be doable by all ages and abilities. Take a look at this 91 year old woman discussing Starting Strength if you don’t believe me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3585w9FmOGs&t=26s

  3. […] the extra calories to good use and hit the gym hard if time allows. It isn’t unusual to have some of the best workouts around this time. The […]

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