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Powerlifting Routines For Over 50: Risk-Free Strength Training You’ve Been Looking For

It is obvious that powerlifting routines for over 50 have their features, requirements and warnings. Our body changes its abilities as time goes, but does it mean that active sports are not available after you’ve hit the big 5-0? Good news is that you may, and even should continue training at any age, but you must do it in a risk-free way. It is possible to support your form and grow muscles even when you’ve passed the 50-year-old mark? Read on to find out the main rules, warnings and tips.

Main Aspects Of Risk-Free Powerlifting Routines For Over 50

Powerlifting is a discipline of competitive weightlifting, it is a very popular type of sports, many people around the world train their bodies with the help of powerlifting methods, but how safe is this sport?

According to the study of the University of Cologne, 43.3% of powerlifters complained about problems during routine workouts. The rate of injuries is – 1 000 hours of training results in 1 injury. The most injured parts of the body are shoulders, lower back and the knees. 

The research shows that the rate of injury to the upper extremities was significantly increased based on age >40 years (3). We may see that the injury rate is low compared to other sports, but still, there is a possibility of getting hurt, and this possibility shoots up with the age of sportsmen.

Age is not an obstacle but you should not forget about the changes your body undergoes. Unfortunately, we cannot throttle back the aging process, we just need to take this fact into account when hopping on a weight machine. We’ve put together some tips for you to bump up the effectiveness of your training sessions and make them safe for your health. So, golden rules of powerlifting routines for seniors are:

Be Careful With The Number Of Loads

The safety of training is largely determined by the correctness of the exercises and the optimal selection of loads. One should adequately estimate the capabilities of joints and ligaments, which is especially important for aged beginners. Keep a slow pace and watch your breathing as you exercise. Ideally, you should seek help from a professional instructor who will plan your training program. It will also be useful to visit a doctor, check your health condition and inquire about permissible physical activity.

Read More: Balance Exercises For Seniors: Simple Moves To Help Improve Balance And Coordination In Older Adults

Diversify Your Exercises

Regardless of previous experience in sports, powerlifting at the age of 50 requires periodization of loads. Work with heavyweights must be alternated with lightweight sets. And remember the importance of pauses between different exercises.

Stretching Is Important

If it goes about the best strength training program we should pay special attention to stretching because muscles lose their flexibility after 50, and it increases the likelihood of injury. Take 15-20 minutes to warm up and stretch muscles at the beginning and at the end of the workout.

Let Your Body Recover

Obviously, the older body needs more time to fully recover after physical exertion. Powerlifting routines for over 50 should include breaks of at least 2-3 days between training sessions. Watch your condition and avoid any overloads. If you don’t feel so well after your training session it is advisable to consult a doctor.

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Can You Build Muscle After 50, And How To Do It?

The bottom line is to exercise regularly, gradually increasing weight. Start attending the gym and develop a training plan with an experienced trainer. Maybe it sounds quite ordinary but it is the key to effective powerlifting workout for over 50. Regular training is the main thing that helps to start biochemical processes in your muscles and it works for almost any age.

The peak age for powerlifters is 35 (4). The research shows that it is the best age for high-level performance, but if you train to support your health then any age is good. It is never too late to go to the gym, losing fat and building muscle requires more time with the age, but it doesn’t mean that you should give up.

All you need is a strict diet and exercise. This is the only way you can successfully pack on muscle. So, at this stage, you cannot do without a nutrition advisor who will point out the products you’ve been skimping on and who will put together a well-rounded personalized nutrition plan. 

To conclude this topic we may say that a strict diet and consistent exercise – are the main aspects of successful muscle-building even if you are older than 50.

How To Build Muscle After 50 And Avoid Health Risks?

Well, now we know that it is possible to achieve desirable results in the gym even if you are a senior. You have to pay close attention to your heart health and go out of your way to avoid injuries

According to fitness advisor Bill Hartman relaxed cardio workout – is one of the main aspects of healthy training in the gym (5). Cardio workouts help to increase blood flow to muscles and boost recovery after hard sessions. Five minutes of brisk walking or quiet running – these are needed cardio workout elements. It is important to keep your heart rate between 120 and 150 beats per minute during such exercises and devote 45 to 60 minutes of your session to them (6). 

We also prepared  a simple program with exercises for you (1). Let’s jump right in:

Back Squats

These are ordinary squats but with a barbell on the back. Put the barbell on your shoulders at the back of your head and hold it with your hands. This exercise develops leg and back strength. In any kind of squats, it is important to observe the correct technique: keep your back straight, do not round your lower back, do not tear your heels off the floor.


This is a well-known exercise in bodybuilding. Raise and lower the barbell to the floor while keeping your back straight. This exercise strengthens the muscles that stabilize the spine and the back of the thigh (2). As with squatting, it’s important not to round your lower back – keep your back straight at any point during the exercise. It is also important to keep the bar close to the legs, to reduce the load on the lower back.

Bench Press

Lie on the bench and lift the barbell up with your hands. Such exercises strengthen chest muscles and work your arm muscles to the max.

Lift Up The Bar To The Belt

In this exercise, we do not straighten the back; we lift the barbell off the floor only with the help of our hands. This exercise strengthens the back, shoulders and biceps. In any traction exercise in the starting position, you need to lower your shoulders and bring your shoulder blades together.

Back Lunges

Hold the barbell like in back squats, but squat lowering one knee to the ground. Such movements boost leg and back muscles, while improving a sense of balance (7). Before you take the barbell try lunges without weight. Make sure that during the lunge your knee does not extend much beyond the toe and does not wrap inward while lifting. 

As for our program, use the weight you can lift 6 times, and rest for 2 to 3 minutes between the sets. Do 4 to 8 repetitions of each exercise.

Read More: Core Exercises For Seniors: Your Exercise Days Aren’t Behind You

Here Is The Plan Of Powerlifting Routines For Over 50 (5):

  • Day 1: Bench press and Back Squats
  • Day 2: From 45 to 60 minutes of brisk walking or quiet running at a conversational pace.
  • Day 3: Back lunges and Deadlift
  • Day 4: Lift up the bar to the belt, and Bench press
  • Day 5: Again cardio training, brisk walking or quiet running at a conversational pace.

These are the most known powerlifting exercises, the program is easy and available almost for everyone.

If you want to be strong and healthy at 50 and older, you will have to pay the price in the form of hard work and strict self-discipline. The older you get, the more prominent is the role of such things as the frequency of meals, cautious workouts, high-quality sleep and the ability to cope with stress. At a mature age, you need to put in more effort and you should come up with a much more careful work out routine but the reward is worth it.

Following the mentioned recommendations, having passed a preliminary consultation with your doctor, you can safely go to the gym to start or continue your sports practice in order to maintain yourself in great shape. Powerlifting routines for over 50 is something that requires your experience and ability to listen to your body, and understand its state and needs at the current age.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Build Your Strength Foundation: 12 Exercises For Powerlifting Beginners (2018, bodybuilding.com)
  2. How to deadlift with perfect form (2019, menshealth.com)
  3. Injuries and overuse syndromes in powerlifting (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Peak Age and Performance Progression in World-Class Weightlifting and Powerlifting Athletes. (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  5. 4 Keys to Getting Shredded After 50 (2019, menshealth.com)
  6. 5 Great Benefits Of Cardiovascular Exercise (2018, bodybuilding.com)
  7. 11 Benefits of Doing Lunges Regularly (2019, healthline.com)
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