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7 Essential Exercises for Men To Prevent Muscle Loss After 50

A trainer shares crucial moves to help you boost your strength and avoid muscle loss.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

When men enter their golden years, a relatable roadblock is dealing with the natural loss of lean muscle, strength, and endurance. However, growing older doesn't mean all hope is lost when it comes to maintaining and building muscle mass. By following the right tips and tricks, you can "safeguard" your supply of lean muscle, boosting your chances of preserving your strength and overall well-being, says Daisean Brewster (AAAI/ISMA Certified) with Blink Fitness.

"The world we live in can be a fast-paced and demanding one, so, the importance of maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle cannot be overstated," Brewster explains. "The importance of your physical fitness extends beyond mere physical appearance, as regular exercise and physical activity have been proven to offer abundant benefits for both the body and the mind."

Focusing on resistance training—specifically, compound exercises that activate more than one muscle group at a time—is key as you age. "Resistance training stimulates the production of growth hormone and testosterone, promoting muscle growth and preventing muscle loss," Brewster tells us. "Additionally, resistance training enhances bone density, improves joint health, and increases metabolism, resulting in a more efficient energy expenditure."

Your goal should be to perform resistance training exercises a minimum of two to three times a week, allotting yourself some solid time to rest in between workouts for your muscles to recover and grow. If you're ready to get started, keep reading to learn all about Brewster's top-recommended exercises for men to prevent muscle loss after 50. And when you're finished, don't miss these 5 Top Fitness Tips to Prevent Muscle Loss for Men in Their 60s.

Squats: 3 x 12 reps

man doing squats

Squats start with you standing tall; your feet should face forward, and your back should be straight. Push your heels into the ground, press your hips back, and descend into a squat until your thighs become parallel to the floor or lower. Next, press your heels into the floor once more to rise back up to standing.

To achieve maximum hypertrophy, perform squats for three sets of 12 reps, two to three times per week.

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Deadlifts: 3 x 12 reps

illustration of barbell deadlift

Next up, get ready to perform deadlifts. "Using a barbell or dumbbell or similar weights, standing similarly to a squat position mentioned above, back erect, and feet facing forward, slowly reach down with your hands shoulder-width apart, slightly pushing your hips back, keeping your hands close to your body until you reach the bar," Brewster instructs. "Drive your heels into the floor as you stand up, keeping your elbows locked and straight, pulling your hips in under your spine."

Perform three sets of 12 reps, two to three times a week to reach maximum hypertrophy.

Pushups: 3 x 12 reps

man doing pushups

Pushups are a classic strength exercise that fires up your triceps, chest, shoulders, and core. Begin by placing your hands on the floor just outside shoulder-width so your fingers point forward. Extend your legs behind you, and roll onto the balls of your feet. Activate your core, and bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the ground. Push your body back up to a high plank.

Perform three sets of 12 reps, two to three times a week.

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Bench Presses: 3 x 12 reps

barbell bench press illustration

Now, get ready for the bench press. Lie down flat on your back on a workout bench under a barbell. "Make sure the weights are secure above your head," Brewster says. "Place your hands on the barbell slightly outside of your chest. Take the barbell off the rack, and angle the bar to the middle of your chest. Make sure your wrist is not bent backward to prevent it from being strained. Bring the barbell downward slowly until you touch your chest. Then, push the barbell back up in a straight line, back to the starting position."

Perform three sets of 12 reps, two to three times a week.

Pull-ups: 3 x 12 reps

illustration of pull-ups exercise

Feel free to use a machine that has an assistance seat to start off. Line yourself up with the pull-up bar. "The grip that you choose will make a difference in the muscle that you work," Brewster explains. "Once you grip the pull-up bar, pull yourself up into the bar, squeezing your traps and rhomboid."

Perform three sets of 12 reps of pull-ups, two to three times a week.

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Dumbbell Rows: 3 x 12 reps

dumbbell bent-over row

For dumbbell rows, hold a dumbbell in each hand, and stand up tall. Press your hips back, and maintain a straight back. Make sure your gaze remains ahead of you to keep yourself from bending down. When you reach the horizontal position, row the weights up to your chest, pressing your elbows back, then lower the weights until your arms are extended.

Perform three sets of 12 reps, two to three times a week.

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Lunges: 3 x 12 reps

illustration of man doing dumbbell lunges

Last but not least, this list of essential exercises for men to prevent muscle loss after 50 wraps up with lunges. You can work with added weights like dumbbells or simply your body weight. Stand up tall, and make sure your feet face ahead of you. Take a step forward with your left leg. Bend your right—aka back—knee in order to descend into a lunge. "This can also be done in a walking style, where you bring your back leg to meet your front leg after finishing one of the movements described, then alternating legs as you lung for a certain distance or number of reps," Brewster explains.

Perform three sets of 12 reps, two to three times a week.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa