Can I build muscle after 50?
Posted: 12 May 2013
According to Clarence Bass, 73-year-old bodybuilder and fitness expert, it has long been acknowledged that levels of the muscle-building hormone, testosterone, decline with age. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a study in December 2006 that concluded men suffered a ten percent loss of testosterone per decade of age. Dr. Eugene Shippen, author of "The Testosterone Syndrome," believes this decline becomes noticeable after the age of 40. The decline results in loss of muscle and bone density. However, it is possible to slow down the decline and build muscle mass after 50, with the right exercise and nutrition.
Warm up thoroughly before you start your weight lifting program. Your joints and muscles are not as flexible and pliable as they were when you were 30 and are more prone to injury. Do 10 to 15 minutes of steady cardiovascular exercise on the treadmill or stationary bike. This will elevate your heart rate, increase your blood flow and body temperature, preparing you for the more strenuous exercise ahead.
Do whole-body workouts two or three times a week, but never on consecutive days. Each workout should last no more than 1 hour, including your warm-up. Use heavy weights, keeping your repetition range between eight and ten.
Use free weights to do compound movements like the bench press, dead lifts, overhead press, bent-over rows and squats. These build the major muscles like the chest, back, shoulders and upper legs. If you have difficulty with some movements, substitute resistance weight machines like the seated chest press, row pulls, seated shoulder press and leg press. Try to include at least one free weight exercise as they induce a more anabolic, growth-inducing effect.
Use isolation movements like bench flys, triceps push downs, barbell curls, dumbbell curls, leg curls and leg extensions to work on individual muscles.
Nutrition and Recovery
Use a rapidly digested simple carbohydrate supplement and branch chain amino acids immediately after working out. The simple carbohydrates will provide instant replacement for energy depleted, and the branch chain amino acids replace the essential amino acids that are broken down by the muscles during intense exercise
Get plenty of rest and sleep between workouts and limit other sporting activities away from the gym. To build muscle mass after 50, you need to fully recover between workouts. The ability to recover after strenuous activity lessens with age.
Eat five or six times a day. Ensure you have a source of complex carbohydrates and protein with each meal. Eat fewer carbohydrates if you find you gain weight easily.
Eat essential omega-3 fats and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Your body will need plenty of nutrients to help it gain muscle mass.
Tips and Warnings
- Use a whey protein supplement to ensure you get enough muscle-building protein in your diet. According to the bodybuilding website, GEN XXL, taking whey protein and the amino acid glutamine, 40 minutes before working out helps maintain testosterone levels and prevents muscle breakdown.
- Building muscle mass after 50, or at any other age, involves strenuous physical activity like resistance weight training and weight lifting. The American College of of Sports Medicine recommends that, if you are over the age of 65, you consult your physician or health care professional before embarking on regular strenuous activity. If you are over the age of 50 and seeking to build muscle mass, particularly if you are not used to regular exercise, you should follow the same recommendation.