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5 Best Exercises To Build & Maintain Muscle Before 50

More muscle means greater independence, functionality, and overall health.

There's no better time than the present to start building up and maintaining your supply of lean muscle. This becomes increasingly more prevalent as you age. Research shows that boosting muscle protein synthesis through a protein-based diet and exercise helps you preserve strong and healthy muscle mass. This results in greater independence, functionality, and overall health. We're here to help with the fitness part of your lifestyle with five of the best exercises to build and maintain muscle before 50.

Eat This, Not That! spoke with Tyler Read, the founder of and a personal trainer who's been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years, who shares his top-recommended exercise picks. He tells us, "Using compound movements with traditional weights is the best way to build and maintain muscle for anyone. These movements hit multiple muscle groups with heavy resistance for the most efficient way to build muscle."

Keep reading to learn about Read's five best exercises to build and maintain muscle before you hit 50.

1. Squats

barbell back squat illustration

To complete a barbell back squat, you'll get into position by making sure the barbell is set to the proper height in the squat rack, just a bit below your shoulders, MasterClass explains. Face the rack, step below the bar, and plant your hands on each side. The barbell should be resting on your upper back. Then, take the bar out of the rack, and carefully step back. Plant your feet wider than your hips. Bend both knees and your hips to initiate the descent. Your thighs should become parallel to the ground before you press back up to the start position. Complete 10 reps.

2. Deadlifts

The muscles in your lower body will be put to work with dumbbell deadlifts. To set up, PureGym instructs you to have a dumbbell in both hands and face your palms toward your body. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your core tight. Hinge your hips back, and slightly bend your knees as you lower the weights toward the ground. Make sure the weights don't stray far from your thighs. Press through your feet and hinge your hips forward in order to bring the dumbbells back to the start position. Complete 10 reps.

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3. Pull-ups

illustration of pull-ups exercise

This upper-body strength move creates resistance with just your body weight, Sweat App explains. To begin, you'll stand under a pull-up bar. Using an overhand grip, grab onto the bar, placing your hands just outside your shoulder span. Bring your feet off the ground, and hang onto the bar so that both arms are extended. Activate your core. Next, bend both elbows in order to initiate the pull-up. Pull your chest upward until your chin clears the bar. Extend both elbows in order to return to the position you started in. Complete 10 reps.

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4. Bench Press

You can perform bench presses with a barbell racked on a flat workout bench or with dumbbells held at chest level. For the dumbbell bench press, you'll begin lying down on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, PureGym instructs. Press the weights up toward the sky until both arms are extended. Your palms should face ahead of you. Press your shoulders into the bench, and push through both feet in order to form a lower-back arch. Make sure your elbows don't flare out upon the descent. Bring the weights back down until they're at the sides of your chest. Complete 10 reps.

5. Rows

single-arm dumbbell row illustration

The single-arm dumbbell row is an excellent move for your back muscles, along with your biceps and core, PureGym explains. The move begins with you firmly planting your right hand and knee on a flat workout bench. Your left foot should be pressed into the ground, and you should have a dumbbell in your left hand. Activate your core, and row the weight up toward your midsection. When your triceps become parallel to the ground, that's when you'll lower the weight to where you started. Repeat the same motion on the other side. Complete 10 reps.

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
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