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Exercises You Should Never Do After 50, Trainer Warns

These moves simply aren't joint-friendly, so make sure they're no longer a part of your workout routine.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

As we continue to get older, our bodies begin to change. Our hormone levels drop, our metabolism decreases, and it gets harder to maintain our lean muscle. Plus, based on the lifestyle you've lived, you may feel aches in your muscles and joints that make even the most common of exercise moves harder to perform.

Given this, there are certain exercises and movements that you may have been used to doing throughout your 20s, 30, and 40s that you probably shouldn't do after age 50. Why? Well, they're simply not joint-friendly—and the last thing you need to be doing now is potentially damaging your joints. What's more, fitness is one of those healthy habits that you should be able to enjoy well into old age, so you have to be smart about it now in order to continue being pain- and injury-free.

What follows are the four exercises I'd warn you not to do anymore if you're 50 or older. And for more, check out the 3 Major Secrets to Living to 99, According to Betty White.

1

Flat Barbell Bench Press

flat barbell bench press
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Although the barbell bench press is a common exercise used around the world, if you're over 50, it isn't the best movement for building your chest. When you're gripping the bar, you're locked in, and for many people, this targets more of their shoulders instead of their arms, which can lead to pain and injury (especially when done with improper form and setup).

Instead, I recommend using dumbbells over the barbell. It's more joint-friendly, you can control both arms independently, and it's a better tool for building your chest.

Related: Exercise—Not This Diet Change—May Help You Live Longer, Science Says

2

Barbell Row

barbell row
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

The barbell row can be a great exercise to build your upper back and lats. However, as they get older, many people lack the mobility to get into the proper position for this exercise. This can lead to unnecessary stress on their spine.

A good alternative would be a chest-supported row using dumbbells or a T-bar.

Related: Science Just Confirmed You Don't Need Cardio to Burn Fat

3

Bench Dips

bench dips
Shutterstock

Although bench dips are a common exercise performed all of the time, it's not the best exercise to do if you're over 50. Chances are, you have a slouched forward shoulder posture, and bench dips force your shoulders to rotate internally even more. As you lower yourself down, the humerus glides forward too much, placing extra stress onto your shoulder joint.

Instead, perform regular dips or dumbbell triceps extensions.

Related: Surprising Side Effects of Taking Multivitamins After 50

4

Behind-The-Neck Lat Pulldowns

behind the neck lat pulldowns
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

This exercise can place a lot of strain in the wrong areas (mainly, your neck and anterior portion of the shoulder). Most people younger than 50 don't have enough thoracic and shoulder mobility to begin with, so this should be absolutely be ditched once you're over that age.

Instead, lean back slightly and pull the bar to your upper sternum in order to work your lats and upper back.

For more, check out This 5-Move At-Home Workout Will Help You Build Strength and Get Lean.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu is a fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles. Read more
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