8 Week Bodybuilding For Men Over 50 Workout Routine

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Bodybuilding Over 50 Workout Routine – Introduction

If you are looking for one great bodybuilding over 50 workout routine, you’re in the right place!

Lifting weights is arguably one of the best things you can do for your body.

For example, compound exercises like:

will strengthen your major muscle groups, ligaments, tendons, and joints, improve your health, and are good for your mental wellbeing, too.

There are several different types of weight training workouts, including powerlifting, Olympic lifting, functional training, calisthenics, and bodybuilding.

These workout variations can also be combined, which is something CrossFit does very well.

However, some exercisers specifically want to work out for bigger muscles, and that means focusing on bodybuilding.

The goal of bodybuilding is to trigger hypertrophy, which is the scientific term for increases in muscle size.

This article explains why bodybuilding is such an excellent workout for men over 50 and provide you with an eight-week bodybuilding program to follow.

Bodybuilding Benefits for Men Over 50

A lot of people assume that bodybuilding is a young man’s game.

That’s probably true if you have dreams of winning the next Mr. Olympia competition, but that doesn’t mean training for hypertrophy is a waste of time.

Some of the most notable benefits of bodybuilding for men over 50 include:

Increased muscle mass

It goes without saying that bodybuilding workouts are designed to build muscle.

But, for men in their 50s, this benefit goes beyond a better appearance.

Muscle mass peaks and then starts to decline after your mid-30s.

In fact, the average man will lose 3-5% of his muscle mass per decade after age 30.¹

Among the leading causes of muscle loss in men over 50 is:

  • a decrease in testosterone levels
  • aging,
  • lack of strength training exercise, and
  • poor nutrition

They all contribute to muscle loss in men over 50.

Muscle loss is a common issue that arises in older adults.

Its prevalence increases with age and can result in functional impairments, such as difficulty climbing stairs or walking long distances.

However, with the right type of workout, you can delay and even reverse this loss of muscle mass.

So, don’t wait till you need a walker to get around, take action now and start strength training!

However, even if you have been sedentary your entire life and are starting to have mobility issues, never give up.

See why Shirley Webb’s Great Results Will Motivate You To Get Fit Today which details how this grandmother first started to deadlift at 75, regained her mobility, and became a powerlifter!

Increased strength

Unlike powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters, bodybuilders generally aren’t concerned about getting stronger.

Instead, they’re focused more on increasing muscle size.

That said, a bigger muscle is usually a stronger muscle, so bodybuilders get stronger as a happy side-effect of their hypertrophy workouts.

Stronger bones

Lifting weights puts stress on your muscles which, in turn, puts stress on your bones.

This stimulates bone-building cells called osteoblasts to lay down new bone tissue, so your skeleton becomes denser and stronger.

Like muscle mass, bone density tends to decline with age, and bodybuilding is a very effective way to prevent age-related bone loss.

Increased basal metabolic rate

Your basal or basic metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn per day at rest.

Muscle is metabolically active tissue, which means it needs energy to sustain it.

So, the more muscle you’ve got, the more calories you’ll burn per day.

A fast-revving metabolism makes it much easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy level of body fat.

Improved appearance

At the risk of sounding shallow, lean, muscular bodies are generally more attractive than soft, overweight bodies.

People tend to feel happier when they look good.

It improves confidence, leading to better self-esteem, less risk of depression, and a host of other mental health benefits.

Bodybuilding Over 50 Workout Routine

Bodybuilders mostly follow split routines, where they train different muscles on different days.

This provides the time necessary to do multiple sets of several different exercises per body part, and that volume is an integral part of the muscle-building process.

As such, for this workout, you’ll need to hit the weight room, whether in your home or at the gym, four days per week.

Why not more?

After all, many top bodybuilders train six or more times a week.

The main reason is that, as a man in your 50s, you probably won’t be able to recover from more than four workouts per week.

Anabolic hormone production is lower than it was when you were younger.

Therefore, you need to allocate more rest days for your recovery time between workouts.

So, while bodybuilding training is undoubtedly good for you, more workouts per week are not always better.

This is your program for the next eight weeks:

8 Week Bodybuilding Over 50 4-Day Split Workout Routine








Chest and abs



Legs and abs


Shoulders and arms



Of course, before doing any of these workouts, you must prepare your body for what you’re about to do with a thorough warm up.

Warm-ups are especially important for older exercisers.

Start with 5-10 minutes of easy cardio to get your blood pumping, and then stretch and mobilize the muscles and joints you are about to train.

Pay extra attention to any areas that feel sore or stiff.

Finally, do 2-3 sets of the first exercise from the workout you are about to do using lighter weights.

This is called ramping and will ensure your muscles are firing properly so you can get the most from your training.

Workout 1 – Chest and Abs

Exercises 3a and 3b are to be done as a superset.

Do 10-12 cable crossovers immediately, followed by 10-12 reps on the chest press machine.

Rest a minute, and then repeat the pairing.

Do three supersets in total.

Workout 2 – Back

Workout 3 – Legs and Abs

Exercises 3a and 3b are to be done as a superset.

Do 10-12 leg extensions immediately, followed by 10-12 leg curls.

Rest a minute, and then repeat the pairing.

Do three supersets in total.

Workout 4 – Shoulders and Arms







Seated dumbbell shoulder press



90 seconds


Dumbbell lateral raise



60 seconds


Bent over lateral raise



60 seconds


Barbell curl



60 seconds


Close grip bench press



60 seconds


EZ bar cable curl



60 seconds


Cable pushdown



Exercises 6a and 6b are to be done as a superset.

Do 12-15 EZ bar cable curls immediately, followed by 12-15 cable pushdowns.

Rest a minute, and then repeat the pairing.

Do three supersets in total.

Bodybuilding Over 50 Workout Routine – FAQ

Got a question about bodybuilding for men over 50?

We’ve got the answers!

#1. How much weight should I use for each exercise?

I can’t answer this question because I don’t know how strong you are!

That said, you should choose a weight that takes you close to muscular failure somewhere within the specified rep range.

So, where the program calls for 10-12 reps, if you can do more than 12, the weight is too light, but it’s too heavy if you can’t manage 10.

You probably won’t get your weights exactly right straight away, but after a workout or two, you should have identified the correct weights to use.

#2. Do I use the same weights for the entire eight-week program?

For a bodybuilding workout to be effective, it needs to be progressive.

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during training.

This can be done by gradually increasing the weight, repetitions, or the total number of sets performed during a strength training workout.

The principle of progressive overload plays an important role in strength training, as it is the only way to continue making progress and seeing good results.

When applied correctly, progressive overload leads to increases in muscle strength and size.

That means you must do your best to work a little harder from one week to the next.

For example, if you manage 10 reps with 45kg (100 pounds) one week, you need to either try to do 11 reps the next week or use 47.5kg (105lbs).

While one rep or 2.5kg might not sound like a lot, over eight weeks, all these small increases will really add up.

Remember, though, that you should never sacrifice good form for more reps or heavier weights.

If you have to cheat to do more, the risk of injury outweighs any benefits!

#3. Can I change some of the exercises?

Depending on where you train, you may not have access to the necessary equipment to do all the prescribed exercises.

Or, there may be exercises you don’t like.

Feel free to make changes based on your wants and needs BUT make sure you stay true to the program.

For example, you could do back squats instead of front squats but doing hip abductions instead of squats is too different.

And it goes without saying that you should not do exercises for different muscle groups, such as adding a biceps exercise to leg day.

#4. What diet should I follow during this workout?

It’s beyond the scope of this article to provide you with a detailed guide for what to eat for building muscle.

But, here are some bodybuilding nutrition guidelines for men over 50 years of age:

  • Make sure you get enough protein
  • Therefore, consume roughly one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight
  • Create a slight (250-500) calorie surplus
  • Eat clean, meaning primarily natural, nutritious foods
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruit
  • Get plenty of fiber
  • Eat 4-6 meals a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Consider using some bodybuilding supplements

See The Best Protein Powder for Men Over 50: 2022 Buying Guide and learn why protein is so important as you age and the top 12 protein supplements on the market made from whey protein concentrate, casein, soy, hemp, pea protein, egg protein, and beef isolate.

#5. Do I HAVE to use nutritional supplements?

Supplements are not compulsory, and you can build muscle without them, but they can be helpful.

Good options include:

  • Protein powder
  • Creatine
  • Pre-workout
  • ZMA (natural sleep enhancer and testosterone booster)
  • Amino acids
  • Multi-vitamin/mineral

#6. What about cardio?

Cardio should still be part of your training, even when following a bodybuilding routine.

Cardio works your heart and lungs and is good for your circulatory system and general health.

It’ll also help keep you lean.

Try to do 3-4 20-minute cardio sessions per week in addition to your bodybuilding workouts.

However, don’t do much more than this, as it could impede muscle growth.

#7. How long does it take to build muscle?

This is another of those questions we just can’t answer.

Age, genetics, diet, program adherence, and previous exercise history will all determine how quickly you build muscle.

That said, if you work hard, eat right, and don’t miss any workouts, after eight weeks, you should see some increases in muscle size, and you will undoubtedly be stronger, too.

Bodybuilding Over 50 Workout Routine – Wrapping Up

While there is nothing wrong with powerlifting and Olympic lifting, you might be more interested in improving your appearance than in increasing athletic performance.

You just want to look good!

Thankfully, training for a better appearance can also improve your overall strength and health, even if your primary goal is bigger biceps or broader shoulders.

If bodybuilding has any disadvantages, it is that the workouts tend to be quite long and that you need to commit to working out at least four times a week.

In contrast, for general strength training, two short-ish workouts per week are all that you need.

But, if you’ve got the time, energy, and motivation to hit the gym four times a week, you should soon start to see measurable progress.

Remember, though, while your workouts are the trigger for muscle growth, hypertrophy only happens when you’re resting and sleeping, and if you fuel your muscles with the right kinds of foods.

Therefore, what you do outside of the gym is every bit as important as what you do in it.

Bodybuilding is a lifestyle!

What’s Next

As good as bodybuilding is for all of the benefits we noted above, it is not the only training method on the planet.

Learn about two of the most popular weight training programs today and their key distinctions in the following articles:

And then you can select one of the following workout programs:

Related Posts


¹ Declining muscle mass is part of the aging process, but that does not mean you are helpless to stop it – Harvard Health Publishing

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