Here’s an entry level full-body workout that you can do at home. We know that life can get a little busy, and a 20-minute workout (three times per week) will be the perfect way for you to reclaim your health. This routine does not require equipment and can be done using little floor space. It effectively targets all major muscle groups; chest, legs, shoulders, arms, back, and core. Make sure to take a 1-2 minute break between sets as you move through each exercise.
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The 20-Minute Workout Routine
If you do anything too quickly, you’re only going to injure yourself and delay reaching your fit-and-fab-after-50 goal. We’ve heard many of our followers say that the exercises they find online just aren’t designed for 50+ers. And we agree. Many of them aren’t going to inspire much enthusiasm in your workouts because they’re difficult to follow and are designed for a much younger fitness group. Much the same, heading to the gym and joining a class with all the “youngsters” is just going to leave you feeling deflated and left behind.
The most important part of this process is realizing that you’re kickstarting your body from sedentary into action, which has to be done slowly and steadily. You’re young at heart, but your body isn’t what it used to be. That doesn’t mean it can’t be greatly improved, but you have to do so with care. You can’t suddenly join an advanced fitness group and expect to keep up. You have to listen to your body along the way too. If you’re in serious pain during a workout, slow down, take a break, and make sure you’re doing the exercise correctly. To ensure that you’re doing the right exercises and movements for a mature physique, we have compiled a selection of strength training exercises that you can do at home and at your own speed.
Before we ease into any exercise routine, let’s talk about responsible training.
Disclaimer: You should always consult with your physician or healthcare provider before changing your regular exercise program or trying new forms of exercise. You should not use this articles contents as a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. If you have received medical advice that is opposed to the information found in this book (everyone’s situation is unique), please do not discard that advice. While we have done everything to ensure that this article provides responsible and safe advice and exercise routines, it is important to practice any of it solely at your own risk. If you have any existing physical disabilities or conditions or have a past injury, seeking the advice of your healthcare provider is first and foremost advised.
A Proper Warm-Up
A warm-up before an exercise routine is crucial because it gradually prepares your body for physical activity. It increases heart rate, blood flow to muscles, and core body temperature, which helps reduce the risk of injury by making muscles and joints more flexible and less prone to strains or tears. Additionally, a warm-up mentally prepares you for the workout ahead, enhancing focus and coordination. Overall, a proper warm-up ensures a safer, more effective, and enjoyable exercise experience while maximizing the benefits of your workout.
"Many of us rush through the warm-up phase before exercise."
* It's essential to emphasize the importance of warming up, regardless of your chosen exercise. Skipping a warm-up raises the risk of significant injuries when exercising with cold muscles.
* In contrast, a proper warm-up boosts blood flow to the muscles, enhances muscle metabolism, and promotes the secretion of synovial fluid in the joints. See our article on the benefits of a good warm-up prior to an exercise routine > warming up
1. BASIC LUNGES
We like to call lunges our secret to staying stable and agile. These exercises do far more than most people realize! Lunges strengthen the back, hips, and legs. They also improve stability and mobility – two things that become increasingly important as we age. Do this exercise next to a wall or a table (if you need stability).
• Make sure that you are standing with a tall and straight back with both of your feet positioned hip-width apart.
• Squeeze your core muscles while placing hands on your hips.
• Take a big step forward with your right leg.
• Lower your body until your right thigh is in a parallel position to the ground and your right shin is vertical.
• Don’t allow your knee position to move past your toes (this would be poor form).
• Now, simply press into your right heel while pushing your body up as you step backward again, returning to the start position.
• Repeat 2 sets of 10 reps -for each side.
2. MODIFIED PUSH-UPS
A modified push-up is a great option for those who are getting back into fitness. This exercise targets the shoulders, upper body, triceps, biceps, back, chest, and core. Squeeze your ab muscles while doing this routine.
• Start by kneeling on your mat or thick folded towel with your hands flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Now, each arm should be fully extended.
• Position your knees back behind your hips so that you are now in a semi-plank position.
• Look directly down. This keeps your neck in the correct position.
• Squeeze your glutes (buttocks muscles) and inner thighs together while keeping the lower part of your body active.
• Gently lower your body down to the floor while ensuring your elbows stay back at a 45-degree angle. Your knees remain on the ground for this exercise, providing stability.
• Immediately push yourself back up into the starting position with arms fully extended. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
3. GROUND TRICEP DIPS
The triceps are a powerful little muscle that most people forget to exercise. Working out your triceps will make all the ground-based exercises easier as it builds upper body strength and stabilizes the shoulder joint. Having strong triceps will also make it easier to play a number of sports.
• Sit on the floor with your hands flat on the ground with palms flat and fingers pointing towards your feet.
• Ensure that your hands placed below your shoulders.
• Extend your legs with your feet hip-width apart, knees bent.
• Keep your chin up while looking directly ahead of you.
• Then, push yourself up to lift your body from the floor without letting your heels or feet do the work for you. Ensure that your arms are doing the pushing.
• Hold your position with buttocks off the ground for three seconds, and then slowly lower yourself to the ground.
• This is a very small movement, but if you do it correctly, you should feel a burn in the back of your arm.
• Repeat 3 sets 10 reps.
4. HAMSTRING BRIDGE (single leg)
This is a brilliant exercise for gaining strength in your core, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back because it targets and strengthens several important muscle groups, primarily the hamstrings and glutes, while also engaging the core and lower back muscles. To reap the benefits of the hamstring bridge exercise, it's essential to perform it with proper form and consistency.
• On your exercise mat or thick towel, lie flat on your beck.
• Place your feet flat on the ground hip-width apart.
• Lie with your arms straight down by your sides with your palms flat on the ground. Your hands provide stability.
• Extend one leg straight out, and then raise it to point your toes at the ceiling.
• Raise your hips off the mat while squeezing your glutes (buttocks muscles). This will push you into a bridge position.
• Hold the bridge position for 2 seconds, and then lower yourself back down to the ground.
• Repeat 2 sets of 8 reps - for each side.
5. BASIC AB CRUNCHES
The ab crunch exercise is beneficial for strengthening the abdominal muscles, particularly the rectus abdominis, which is responsible for flexing the spine. By performing ab crunches, you can improve core stability, posture, and overall functional strength. A strong core not only enhances your ability to perform daily activities with ease but also reduces the risk of lower back pain and improves athletic performance in various sports and activities. However, it's important to perform ab crunches with proper form and avoid excessive repetition to prevent strain or injury to the neck and spine.
• Lie flat on your back using a mat or towel as padding.
• Keep your feet firmly planted flat on the floor with your knees bent. This will create a 45-degree angle behind your knees.
• Keep your upper body relaxed and place your hands behind your head.
• Breathe in deeply and then when you breathe out, slowly tuck your chin in toward your chest and pull your shoulders halfway off the floor (do not sit the whole way up).
• Pause in this position for a second, and then gently lower yourself back down into the start position.
• Repeat 2 sets of 20 times (but if you can, aim for 30).
• It is important that you focus on using your core muscles to lift and raise your shoulders. (don’t use your arms and hands to lift your neck).
The plank is a whopper of an exercise because it works out the entire body and comes with many benefits. When you get the hang of planking, it improves both balance and posture while strengthening your core. It develops and strengthens your spine, shoulder bones, joints, and pelvis. But wait, there’s more! It also increases flexibility, trims the fat that likes to hang around the belly, and reduces backache. Starting from a kneeling position on your exercise mat will be the easiest for you. It will make getting into the plank position a lot easier.
• In the kneeling position, place your hands with palms flat on the ground directly below your shoulders. Make sure that you take care to spread your fingers wide, as this will help with balance and stability.
• Lower yourself and bend your elbows so that you are now resting on your forearms.
• Slowly extend your legs behind you and balance on your toes.
• Tuck your hip bones forward as if you are pulling your belly button and hips towards each other.
• Hold this position firmly for 30 seconds, and then relax.
• Repeat this three times with 20 second rests in between each.
Cool Down & Follow-up
A cool down period for a 20-minute workout should last at least five minutes, and can involve walking and doing some stretching. This is important for the following reasons: it regulates blood flow and promotes a gradual recovery of heart rate and blood pressure. If this is the first routine you’ve completed in a while, congratulations, you’re on your way. Keep going. Start a habit. Eventually you’ll want to get this routine up to 3 times per week. It will get easier with every passing week.
Your fitness level.
Hopefully, these simple yet effective strength training exercises have excited you as much as they excited us! They say the real fun starts at 50. If so, there's no reason you should spend it in pain, discomfort, and declining health.
For more information on building strength after 50 click the link for our recommended book Life After 50: Strength Training found on Amazon.