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The Best Calisthenics Exercises for Stronger Muscles in Your 50s

Preserve and build your muscle mass, power, and anaerobic capacity.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

When you're in your 50s and beyond, the goal is to remain strong. This means boosting your muscle mass and strength. In addition to getting in regular strength training—I recommend full-body workouts at least two to three times a week, focusing on compound movements—calisthenics exercises are a great way to get stronger. In honor of that, we've put together the absolute best calisthenics exercises for stronger muscles in your 50s.

Calisthenics exercises are low-resistance and don't require any fancy equipment; all you need to perform them is your body weight (via WebMD). For each movement, you're working the majority of your body and can up the reps to boost muscle growth. You can warm up or cool down with calisthenics exercises, or perform several to make a full workout.

As you age, your body begins to break down. You lose muscle mass, power, and anaerobic capacity. If you don't take action in order to maintain your muscle mass, you're at a higher risk of suffering from health issues, including diabetes and heart disease. So along with your strength training, let's get into these calisthenics exercises for stronger muscles in your 50s. Gear up to use a combo of both your body weight and gravity to challenge your body, forcing it to stabilize and build the strength to take you through each movement.

Feet-Elevated Pushups

feet elevated pushup to get rid of chicken wings
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Feet-Elevated Pushups start in a classic pushup with your hands shoulder-width distance apart. Your feet should be raised on a sturdy surface, such as a box or workout bench. Keep your chest tall and core tight as you lower yourself under control until your chest touches the floor. Then, drive yourself up by pushing through your palms. Flex your triceps and chest at the top to finish. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Related: The Best Strength Exercises To Build Stronger Muscles in Your 60s

Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Bulgarian Split Squats have you positioning the top or ball of your foot on a workout bench. Step out about 2 to 3 feet. When you're in the proper position, lower yourself down into a split squat using control while keeping your back knee bent as you descend. Drive through with your front heel to return to a standing position, and repeat. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 12 reps for each leg.

Related: Regain Muscle Mass After 60 With These Free Weight Exercises

Bodyweight Rows

bodyweight rows with suspension straps
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

To perform Bodyweight Rows, grab the equipment that's accessible to you. It can be a TRX/suspension strap (as shown above), bar, or rings. If you're using a strap, make sure to use a neutral grip with your palms facing you. If you have a bar, you can opt for a pronated (overhand) or supinated (underhand) grip.

To begin, stick your feet forward, and lean back to at least 45 degrees. Keeping your core tight and hips high, pull yourself in by driving with your elbows toward your hips. Squeeze your lats and upper back hard, then completely straighten your arms until your shoulder blades stretch at the bottom. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Triceps Pushups

trainer doing triceps pushups, demonstrating exercise to get rid of bat wings
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Next up in our exercises for stronger muscles in your 50s, we have Triceps Pushups. Assume a plank position with your shoulders in line with your wrists. Keep your core tight and glutes squeezed, and extend your arms by pushing through your palms to come up to a full pushup. Flex your triceps hard at the top of the motion, then resist on the way down to a plank while maintaining tension the entire time. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps.

Single-Leg Hip Thrusts

single-leg hip thrust exercises for stronger muscles after 50
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

It's time to wrap things up with Single-Leg Hip Thrusts. Place your upper back on a bench or sturdy surface with one foot firmly placed. Keep your core tight as you extend your hip up by pushing through the heel of the planted leg. Squeeze hard at the top of the motion for two seconds, then lower your leg using control before performing another rep. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps for each leg.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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