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5 Lean-body Exercises Everyone in Their 50s Should Do, Trainer Says

Achieve the slim, toned look you desire with these exercises.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

In order to sculpt a lean body and maintain it, adding a few key habits to your routine is necessary. "Eating a healthy diet, getting in cardio, and performing strength training on the regular" should be a mindset to live by. Prioritizing strength exercises over cardio is the name of the game—especially if you want to get lean. So in order to achieve this fitness goal you're working towards, we've put together the best lean-body exercises everyone in their 50s should do.

When you're trying to lose fat, you need to build and hold onto as much muscle mass as possible. (You may be surprised to learn that after you hit 30, you start losing 3% to 5% of your muscle mass every 10 years.) Sculpting lean muscle helps keep your metabolism up and gives you the slim, toned look you desire. If you're mostly focusing on cardio, you'll end up losing muscle in the process. Although the scale may go down, your body composition won't improve as much as it should. Needless to say, in order to stay lean in your 50s, strength training at least 3 times per week is the way to go.

When it comes to choosing just the right lean-body exercises, you should focus on the fundamental movement patterns with your strength training: squat, hinge, press, row, and carry. If you're not sure where to begin, we have you covered with the below lean-body exercises that will get the job done efficiently. Check them out, and next, be sure to read The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Bodyweight Row

trainer demonstrating bodyweight row
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

To perform the bodyweight row, grab the equipment that's easily accessible to you—rings, a bar, or a TRX/suspension strap. If you're using a strap, use a neutral grip (palms facing you). If you have a bar, you can either use either the pronated (palms overhand) or supinated (underhand) grip.

Begin the movement by sticking your feet forward. Lean back slightly to at least 45 degrees. Keep your core tight and hips high, and pull yourself in by driving with your elbows towards your hips. Squeeze your lats and upper back hard to finish, then straighten your arms fully until your shoulder blades stretch at the bottom. Complete 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Related: Shrink Belly Fat Faster In Your 40s With These Free Weight Exercises, Trainer Says

Suitcase Carry

trainer demonstrating suitcase carry lean-body exercises
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

For the suitcase carry, you're going to hold a heavy dumbbell at your side while keeping your chest tall, core tight, and spine neutral. Brace your abs hard, then begin walking, under control, for 50 to 100 feet. The weight will try to pull you down to one side, but resisting it will really work your core. Once you complete the distance, turn around, switch the weight to your other hand, and walk back to the start. Do this three times though, 50 to 100 feet for each side.

Dumbbell Goblet Squat

woman closeup dumbbell goblet squat

Begin this movement by holding a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest. Keep your core tight as you push your hips back and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drive through your heels and hips to get back up to the starting position, flexing your quads and glutes to finish. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Kettlebell Deadlift

red kettlebell on gym floor

For this exercise, position yourself in front of the kettlebell with your feet outside the weight. Push your hips back, and squat down low enough to grab the kettlebell. Keep your shoulders in line with the handle, and your torso straight. Make sure your core is tight and your shoulders remain down as you push through the heels and hips to pick up the kettlebell. Stand tall, and flex your glutes at the top of the movement. Reverse the motion to put the weight down before performing another rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

Related: The Most Effective Exercises To Reverse Aging After 50, Trainer Says

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

incline dumbbell bench press
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Begin this movement by lying on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold them straight up above you with your arms fully extended. Pull your shoulder blades back and down into the bench as you lower the weights toward your core. Get a solid chest stretch at the bottom of the motion, then press the weights back up to the starting position, squeezing your upper pecs and triceps at the top. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

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