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Strength Training After Fifty

By Lynn VanDyke

Strength training after fifty is no longer for those people who are having some sort of mid-life crisis. In fact, doctors are literally writing prescriptions to get this generation up and moving. They are taking out the pen and prescription pad, writing something barely legible, ripping it off the pad and handing it to more and more of their patients. So what's the result? Well the result is lots of people strength training after fifty years of age. It's magical. A doctor writes a prescription to strength train! No pharmacy necessary.

Unfortunately, strength training still conjures up images of young guys with bulging peck muscles and barely there tank tops. More and more fitness centers across the United States are seeing more and more fifty+ members. And that's a great movement.

So where should you begin if you happen to be one of the many strength training after fifty people? Let's start with the basics- measurements. And I'm not talking about weight only here. I am talking about body fat percentage and resting heart rate. These two elements are critical when determining a starting point for your strength training program.

Armed with that data, we proceed to talk about goals. What do you hope to accomplish? A drop in blood pressure? A decrease in clothing size? An increase in health? Whatever your goals may be, your trainer should be properly prepared to walk with you along your journey. Remember that safety is always a top concern. Go with a trainer that you feel comfortable with.

A typical beginning routine for those strength training after fifty may look a bit like this-

  • Warm-up for 5-10 minutes

  • Begin with isolated (one-joint) strength training exercises such a bicep curl or chest fly

  • After completing 3 sets of 12 reps for each major muscle group, move onto cardio

  • Cardio can be anything that gets your heart pumping to approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate

Depending on your goals and health, the weight you lift and the amount of cardio performed will vary. Train well.

Copyright 2005

About The Author

Lynn VanDyke is owner of She is certified in personal training, nutrition and yoga. Be sure to check out the No Limits ezine. It's a must-read for all things strength training.


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