When you’re in your 50s and beyond, the goal is to stay strong. This means increasing your muscle mass and strength. Along with regular strength training — I recommend full-body workouts at least two to three times a week, focusing on compound movements — calisthenics is a great way to get stronger. In honor of that, we’ve rounded up the best calisthenics exercises for stronger muscles in your 50s.
Calisthenics exercises are low resistance and require no fancy equipment. all you need to perform them is your body weight (via WebMD). For each movement, you work the majority of your body and can increase the reps to stimulate muscle growth. You can warm up or cool down with calisthenics, or perform several to make a complete workout.
As you age, your body begins to break down. You lose muscle mass, power and anaerobic capacity. If you don’t take steps to maintain your muscle mass, you are at a higher risk of suffering from health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. So, in addition to your strength training, let’s get to these calisthenics exercises for stronger muscles in your 50s. Get ready to use a combination of your body weight and gravity to challenge your body, forcing it to stabilize and build the strength to go with you through every move.
Elevated foot push-ups begin with a classic push-up with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be lifted on a solid surface, such as a box or a workout bench. Keep your chest high and your core tight as you lower yourself under control until your chest touches the floor. Then push yourself up by pushing through your palms. Flex your triceps and chest up to finish. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
Related: The best strength exercises to build stronger muscles in your 60s
Bulgarian split squats allow you to position the top or ball of your foot on a training bench. Come out about 2 to 3 feet. When you’re in the correct position, lower yourself into a split squat using control while keeping your back knee bent as you descend. Cross with your front heel to return to a standing position and repeat. Perform 3-4 sets of 12 reps for each leg.
Related: Regain Muscle Mass After 60 With These Free Bodybuilding Exercises
To perform Bodyweight Rows, take whatever equipment is available to you. This can be a TRX/suspension strap (as pictured above), bar or rings. If you’re using a strap, be sure to use a neutral grip with your palms facing you. If you have a barbell, you can opt for a pronated (from above) or supinated (from below) grip.
To start, put your feet forward and lean back at least 45 degrees. Keeping your core tight and hips high, pull yourself up driving with your elbows toward your hips. Squeeze your lats and upper back hard, then fully straighten your arms until your shoulder blades stretch down. Perform 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps.
Next, in our exercises for stronger muscles in your 50s, we have Triceps Pushups. Assume a plank position with your shoulders aligned with your wrists. Keeping your core tight and your glutes tight, and extend your arms pushing through your palms to come up with a full push-up. Flex your triceps hard at the top of the movement, then resist descending into a plank while maintaining tension the entire time. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10 repetitions.
It’s time to wrap 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 pushing through the heel of the planted leg. Squeeze hard at the top of the movement for two seconds, then lower your leg using control before performing another rep. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps for each leg.
Tim Liu, CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles. Learn more about Tim
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