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The Best Age-Defying Workout Plan for Women in Their 50s

Boost your strength and day-to-day functioning with this routine.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

When you think of lifting weights and performing resistance training, what comes to mind? Often, people think of young athletic folks pumping up their muscles and lifting as much weight as possible in a clanky, high-testosterone weight room. If you're a woman in your 50s, this might sound like the last type of activity you'd consider being involved in. However, I would urge you to reconsider. If you plan to exercise as a component of a healthy, anti-aging lifestyle that keeps you looking and feeling younger, resistance training using bodyweight and free weight exercises should be at the top of your priority list. Today, you'll learn all about the best age-defying workout for women in their 50s, so gear up and listen up.

Lifting weights has a number of benefits for women who are 50 years of age or older. These include offsetting age-related loss of muscle mass, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis, improving strength and day-to-day functioning, and improving your overall appearance. The following is my top age-defying workout plan I use for most of my female clients who are 50 years or older in age. Be sure to combine this plan with a high-protein diet and healthy lifestyle to maximize the age-defying effects.

Keep reading to learn all about this age-defying workout for women in their 50s. And when you're finished, don't miss these 9 Floor Exercises Women Should Do Every Day To Stay Fit & Firm.

Walking Lunges

alternating walking lunges

Walking lunges are a fantastic exercise for women in their 50s, as they offer both strength and cardiovascular benefits. This movement works on the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. It also promotes balance and coordination.

To perform a walking lunge, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, and take a step forward with your right foot. Rotate your left foot inward slightly as you bend both knees at a 90-degree angle, lowering your body toward the ground. Keep your right knee directly above your right ankle, and do not let it go past your toes. Ensure your upper body is straight and your core is engaged. Avoid leaning forward or backward. Push through the full foot of your right leg to rise, bringing your left foot forward to meet your right as you stand straight. Repeat the movement with the left leg leading. Continue for the target repetitions—complete three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions per leg.

Barbell Back Squats

illustration of barbell back squat

Barbell back squats are a key strength-building exercise that targets the lower body, specifically your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They also engage your core, making them a great compound exercise.

To perform a barbell back squat, begin by positioning a barbell at shoulder level on a squat rack. If available, set the safety pins just above waist level. Stand under the barbell, and position it so it rests on your upper back. Grasp the bar with both hands for support. Remove the bar from the rack, and step back to clear the rack, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and hips simultaneously to lower into a squat, keeping your chest up and your back straight. Push through the full foot as you rise back up to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

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Seated Rows

woman seated cable row illustration

The seated row is a great exercise to target the muscles in your back, specifically your rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius, while also working your biceps and forearms.

To perform a seated row, sit at a seated row station, and grasp the handles with an overhand grip. Begin with your arms fully extended in front of you and your back straight. Visualize a piece of fruit in your armpit as you initiate the movement. Pull the handles toward your body, retracting your shoulder blades and squeezing at the end range of motion. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Slowly extend your arms back to the starting position. Repeat three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.

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Glute Bridges

illustration of how to do glute bridge core-strengthening exercises

Next up in this workout for women in their 50s are glute bridges. The glute bridge targets your glutes and hamstrings while also engaging your core muscles. This exercise is important as it promotes hip mobility and strengthens your posterior chain, helping to reduce lower back pain.

To perform a glute bridge, lie flat on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Engage your abs by visualizing drawing your lower rib toward your pelvis. Keep your hands by your sides, palms down. Push through the full foot, and raise your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lower your hips back down to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

Bicep Curls

illustration, concept of standing bicep curls with dumbbells to tone your arms in 30 days

Bicep curls are a simple and effective exercise that targets the biceps while also working the forearms. These muscles are crucial for upper-body strength, which is essential for daily activities like lifting groceries or picking up your grandchildren.

To perform a bicep curl, stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand, arms fully extended, and palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows close to your body, bend your elbows and curl the weights up toward your shoulders. Be sure to squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement for about one second. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

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Lat Pulldowns

woman demonstrating lat pulldown exercises to lift your breasts

Lat pulldowns are a great exercise for working your back, especially your latissimus dorsi (lats). They also engage your biceps and forearms.

To perform a lat pulldown, sit at a lat pulldown station, and grasp the bar with an overhand grip that's slightly wider than shoulder-width. Lean back slightly, and visualize crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit as you pull the bar down toward your chest. Keep your elbows pointing down, and avoid shrugging your shoulders throughout the movement. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the end of the motion, then slowly extend your arms back to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Tricep Pushdowns

tricep pushdown

The tricep pushdown is a staple in many strength training routines. It specifically targets the triceps, which make up a large proportion of your arm's total mass, and helps balance the strength gained in the biceps from the curls.

To perform a tricep pushdown, stand at a high pulley machine, and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Start with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle, elbows close to your body. Press down on the bar, extending your arms until they're fully extended at your sides. Squeeze the muscle at the end range for about one second. Slowly return to the starting position, maintaining control of the weight as you do so. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

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mature woman doing planks, weight loss exercises you shouldn't waste time on

This workout for women in their 50s wraps up with planks. The plank is a total-body exercise that primarily targets the core. It helps improve strength, balance, and stability.

To perform a plank, place your forearms flat on the ground and your elbows under your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Keep your neck neutral, and look at the floor just ahead of your hands. Engage your core, and hold this position. Make sure to keep your hips in line with your body; don't let them sag or lift. Hold for three sets of 30 seconds to one minute.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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