How to build muscle as a man over 60 (2023)

The general consensus of some people is that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

I mean, a lot of people think it's impossible for men to build muscle after the age of 60. At least not if you haven't lifted weights in years. Many simply assume that it is too late.

Also, many people think it's dangerous to start exercising or trying to build lean muscle so late in life.

But both couldn't be further from the truth.

In fact, building muscle mass like a man over 60 is one of the best things you can do for your body. No matter how fit you already are, you can extend your quality of life and better protect yourself from whatever life throws at you by adding lean muscle mass.

Here's a guide on how to build muscle mass as a man over 60. We'll go through everything you need to get started today if you want.

Also read: CrossFit strength training program and exercises

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Benefits for building muscle after 60

The Best Ways for Men Over 60 to Build Muscle

How Men Over 60 Should Exercise To Build Muscle

The importance of nutrition for men over 60 to build muscle

Getting started with your program

Benefits for building muscle after 60

studiesshow thatcan add muscle:

  • Promote stronger and healthier muscles.
  • Better joint protection
  • better motion control
  • Better physical skills outside of your exercise routine.
  • More independence and autonomy
  • Less risk of falling
  • Leads to fat loss
  • Bone density improvement*

*All of these benefits are important. But from the age of 60, increasing bone density is particularly important. As you age, your bones become more brittle and more prone to breakage. Add toMuscle helps maintain this bone density, and protects you from injury in the event of a fall or accident.

As you can see, an older adult can benefit significantly from strength training and muscle building later in life. Here are some principles to follow when implementing a program.

Related reading: Strength training for women over 60

The Best Ways for Men Over 60 to Build Muscle

There are some specifics that men over 60 should be aware of when building muscle after 60:

  • If consistent:Whatever your workout routine is (or whatever you want), sticking to it should be your top priority. Results don't come overnight with any fitness program, so sticking to your exercise plan three, four, or even five days a week is the best way to see long-term results. Unfortunately, exercising sporadically every few months or years won't do you much good.

Mobility matters most:flexibilityIt only becomes more important with age, as most people naturally lose flexibility as they age. Staying flexible, whether it's through pre-workout stretching, weekly yoga, or both, is essential to avoiding injury and being able to safely move your body's joints through their full range of motion.

How to build muscle as a man over 60 (1)
  • It's not always just about lifting weights:Put simply, a 60-year-old doesn't recover as quickly as a 20- or 30-year-old. For this reason, an older adult should focus on simply going to the gym regularly, rather than setting new weekly highs of one and five reps. Be realistic about your goals. In all likelihood, you'll only be able to lift and recover from heavy objects once or twice a week, and that's perfectly fine. You can still train 4-5 days a week and focus on higher rep training or strength training, or build other physical skills on easier days.

Also read: Use one of these percussion massage guns to speed up your recovery.

How to build muscle as a man over 60 (2)

Injury Prevention:Men over 60 should pay particular attention to injuries. Even the smallest changes can keep you from hitting the gym or getting a great workout. Alongside the mobility work, try to add things likemyofascial release techniques, hydration and a healthy diet that reduces inflammation. This way you feel 100% while exercising and don't waste valuable resources and energy fighting a bad diet. (We'll talk about nutrition later.)

(Video) 6 WORST Mistakes Men Over 60 Make When Working Out (AVOID THESE!)
  • Train compound exercises:Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses have several benefits for men over 60. First, they evenly distribute the weight you're lifting, which means you're less likely to injure yourself if you're performing the exercise safely and in good form. Secondly, they offer functional advantages that can be transferred to everyday life. For example, squats help you get off the couch, climb stairs, or even sit on the toilet.

Related reading: Lower Back Injuries Caused by Squats: Injury Prevention and Recovery

  • Approach your training realistically:Only you can know what signals your body is sending out. As you get older, it's important to listen to these messages and recall or adjust your muscle building routine based on this information. Men over 60, in particular, should be more cautious about high-intensity or high-impact exercise that involves jumping. If your body isn't responding well, do these moves slowly and build up without much impact.

Now let's talk about the types of programs these principles might fit into.

Also read: The best HIIT cardio workouts you can do at home

How to build muscle as a man over 60 (3)

How Men Over 60 Should Exercise To Build Muscle

As mentioned above, compound exercises for men over 60 are the best way to build muscle. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, cleans, bench presses, and push-ups (or side push-ups) are good ways to strengthen and build muscle. and to keep you active and healthy outside of the gym.

Also read: Do push-ups at home + 5 alternatives to strengthen your back

Here are some examples of exercises and training methods that can help you get results:

  • Strength Training: Any functional movement performed with a barbell, kettlebell, or set of dumbbells probably fits here. CrossFit teaches many of these exercises, but again, you can simply follow a traditional strength training program.
  • HIIT Training – This is a great form of training for men over 60 as it also gives you a great cardiovascular workout. Cardiovascular training reduces the risk of heart disease and keeps your heart and lungs healthy and strong. It's probably best to keep itBodyweight calisthenics exercisessuch as pull-ups, pull-ups, squats, sit-ups and planks. You can also do barbell curls in this type of workout, but start with a light weight and then really focus on form.
  • Machine Training – If for some reason you don't like strength training or bodyweight exercises, you can still use machines to get results. They're definitely better than nothing, although it can be harder to get your heart rate up when switching from one machine to another. Stick to compound exercises like leg presses, hamstrings, pulldowns, and the chest press.

Also read:The best exercise equipment for seniors to keep fit at home

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(Video) Is it Possible to Build Muscle After 60?

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Men over sixty can still follow the exact same rep schemes to get results that other men follow when building muscle. Some popular ones are:

  • 3 sets of 8

  • 3 sets of 10

  • 3 sets of 12

  • 3 or 5 sets of 5 (best for strength)

  • Supersets (2 exercises in a row; do 5-10 reps of the first heavier exercise, then do 10-20 reps of an easier exercise without rest)

Follow these models for 4 to 6 weeks and then change them to give your body a new stimulus to adapt to. Aim to add between 2.5 pounds and 5 pounds per week to every movement you do to encourage strength gains and force your body to adapt to a new, heavier stimulus.

The importance of nutrition for men over 60 to build muscle

The older you get, the more important nutrition becomes. Especially if you want to benefit from a muscle or fitness program.

Let's keep it simple and not reinvent the wheel here. Men over 60 who want to build muscle should eat a lot:

  • lean protein

  • Vegetables

  • healthy fruits

  • "Clean" carbohydrate sources such as rice and sweet/white potatoes

Also read: Keto Diet Food List: A Complete Guide to What to Eat and What to Avoid

(Video) The Only 3 Exercises You Need To Build Muscle After 50 (GET RIPPED!)

As a general rule, the majority of your diet should consist of whole food sources. This helps promote muscle protein synthesis, fights inflammation in the body and promotes recovery. In general, you're more likely to have more energy when you eat whole foods.

On the other hand, men over 60 trying to build muscle should avoid:

  • Sugar/Candy/Junk Food

  • processed foods

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • excessive caffeine consumption

Promote these foodsinflammation in the body, which can have devastating consequences in different ways. From an increased risk of disease to decreased energy to decreased gut and cognitive health, you can see how eating these foods can affect your performance.

Finally, there are some supplements that older men can take to help them. things likefish oil,ALC,amino acids,Whey proteinor an amino acid supplement can provide various benefits. After 4 weeks of consistent training, you might consider adding supplements.

Related reading: 12 Testosterone Boosting Foods That Will Get You Drunk

How to build muscle as a man over 60 (4)

Getting started with your program

Now that we've covered the basics of how to add lean muscle mass to a man over 60, let's do a quick recap.

To get started today you must:

  • Choose a workout type: free weights,crossfit, HIIT or a machine program is fine. Just pick one to try for 4-6 weeks.

  • Choose a rep scheme: 3x8 or 3x10 is a good place to start if you're over 60. It doesn't go too fast that way. Try adding 5 pounds a week to each exercise to improve results.

  • Try eating only whole foods for a full day - see if you can tell a difference in energy levels and performance. Use this as motivation to clean up your diet in the future.

  • Listen to your body: This is a good rule of thumb to follow every day. Don't be afraid to go back or substitute an exercise that's causing you pain or making you nervous. Remember, you can't be consistent with your exercise routine when you're injured!

And this is! As beneficial as it is to build muscle past 60, it really isn't complicated to get started. Head to the gym or clear a spot in your living room to start and work on some bodyweight exercises.

(Video) How Often Should You Workout AFTER AGE 60? (Here's The Truth!)

For more tips on staying mobile, agile and looking your best, check out ourTraining and recovery guides.


Can a 60 year old man still build muscle? ›

Repeated research has shown that, through weight training, men and women in their 60s and beyond can grow muscles as big and strong as an average 40-year-old.

How long does it take for a 60 year old to build muscle? ›

It's Never Too Late to Build Muscle

Though you might not see improvement in days, you likely will in weeks. For example, one German review found measurable increases in muscle size occur in as little as six to nine weeks of consistent strength training in adults older than 60.

How often should a 60 year old man lift weights? ›

Most researchers advise training at least three times a week but not more than six. If you are using resistance-training equipment, then allow for a two-minute rest period between each machine. Training the low back muscles once a week seems to be just as effective as doing it more often.

How much protein does a 60 year old man need to build muscle? ›

Previous clinical trials reported that a diet containing 1.5–1.6 g/kg/day of protein improved muscle mass without exercise compared with a diet containing 0.8–1.2 g/kg/day of protein in older adults, with a habitual protein intake of 0.8–1.1 g/kg/day [14,15].

What supplements should a 60 year old man take to build muscle? ›

Top Supplements For Maintaining Muscle Mass in Older Adults
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) ...
  • HMB. ...
  • Antioxidants. ...
  • Vitamin D.

What foods build muscle in seniors? ›

10 Power Foods that Help Seniors Build Strong Muscles
  • Meat: Rich in protein, animal meat is an ideal dietary option for seniors. ...
  • Fatty Fish: In case one is a non-vegetarian, seniors also have the option of consuming fatty fish, which features a significant amount of protein. ...
  • Tofu: ...
  • Eggs: ...
  • Milk: ...
  • Cheese: ...
  • Beans: ...
  • Nuts:
May 2, 2022

Is creatine good for seniors? ›

Taking high doses of creatine for a short period of time is shown to help older adults have more energy throughout the day. In addition to fighting mental tiredness, supplementing with creatine can also help with muscle tiredness, particularly in your lower body. Reduces skin aging.

Can a 60 year old man get ripped? ›

Yes, strength training is important to getting a lean body after 60. "Bone density improves with resistance training and you build muscles, which is needed as you age," says Malek.

Can you transform your body after 60? ›

No matter what your age, you can improve your fitness.

If it's been a long time since you've exercised and you're feeling less than fit, you might think that it's too late to make a change. But you're wrong. You can improve your fitness at any age.

What is the best workout for a 60 year old man? ›

Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, or step ups will help to increase muscle tone, maintain sound strength, build bone density, maintain a healthy weight, optimize metabolic function, and reduce the risk of injury, falls and fatigue.

At what age should a man stop lifting weights? ›

If you are currently in your 50s or 60s and have been lifting weights for many years, then it is likely that you will be able to continue doing so for many years to come. However, if you are in your 70s or older or have not been lifting weights for very long, you may need to start considering stopping.

How many reps should a 60 year old do? ›

For each exercise, two sets of 8-10 repetitions should be enough to start with, but as fitness levels differ this should be adjusted accordingly. Remember, you should always feel comfortable while performing each exercise. If in doubt ask a personal trainer at your gym to put together an exercise programme for you.

What is the best source of protein for seniors? ›

Yes, animal meat, poultry and fish are protein powerhouses. Dairy products (such as eggs, cheese and Greek yogurt), beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are also great sources. One essential amino acid in particular, leucine, stimulates muscle growth and prevents the deterioration of muscle as we age.

What kind of protein is best for seniors? ›

With lower fat and therefore lower calorie content, lean meat is an excellent source of protein for seniors. The USDA defines lean as having less than 10 grams of fat and 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat per 3.5 ounce (100-gram) serving.

Are protein shakes good for seniors? ›

Researchers say protein shakes combined with exercises showed significant health benefits in a group of men over the age of 70. Senior citizens may want to take a tip from body builders and make whey protein shakes a regular part of their diets.

What is the best protein for 60 year old man? ›

Whey protein offers the most benefits for older adults, but you likely won't notice any dramatic differences as long as you eat plenty of protein overall. What is this? The overall best protein powder for men and women over 50 is whey protein. The best plant-based alternative, if you avoid dairy, is soy protein.

Should a 60 year old take creatine? ›

Creatine is an inexpensive and safe dietary supplement that has both peripheral and central effects. The benefits afforded to older adults through creatine ingestion are substantial, can improve quality of life, and ultimately may reduce the disease burden associated with sarcopenia and cognitive dysfunction.

How much protein should a 60 year old man have a day? ›

Protein Requirements for Elderly Adults. Experts in the field of protein and aging recommend a protein intake between 1.2 and 2.0 g/kg/day or higher for elderly adults [3,8,15].

What is the main food to build the muscle? ›

High protein foods such as chicken, salmon, Greek yogurt, skim milk, and beans are some of the best foods to help you gain lean muscle (67).

What foods to avoid when building muscle? ›

Foods To Avoid
  • Simple carbohydrates, also known as refined, are high in calories and lack the nutrients of complex carbohydrates.
  • Alcohol can suppress your muscles ability to recover, adapt, and perform.
  • Deep-fried foods are high in saturated and trans fats, promoting inflammation and arterial complications.
Dec 2, 2021

What are the negative effects of creatine? ›

Purported side effects of creatine
  • kidney damage.
  • liver damage.
  • kidney stones.
  • weight gain.
  • bloating.
  • dehydration.
  • muscle cramps.
  • digestive concerns.
May 12, 2022

At what age should you not take creatine? ›

The American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends against its use by adolescents, and most of the flavored powders, tablets, energy bars and drink mixes containing creatine bear warning labels that the supplement is not recommended for anyone under 18.

Does creatine slow aging? ›

Another “anti-aging” effect of creatine supplementation is to increase intracellular water content. Aging is associated with loss of intracellular water. Phosphocreatine has also been found to reduce leakage of cytoplasmic contents, such as intracellular enzymes.

How often should a 60 year old male workout? ›

Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do. Adults aged 65 and older need: At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking.

What does 60 year old bodybuilder eat? ›

I eat as much as I want of clean foods: lots of fish, chicken and dairy, lots of fruits and vegetables, rice, yams and oatmeal, and I try to stick with whole foods.” By sticking to these relatively low-calorie foods, 60-year-old Labrada is probably still within a calorie deficit which helps him stay lean.

How long does it take to build noticeable muscle for males? ›

Most beginners will see noticeable muscle growth within eight weeks, while more experienced lifters will see changes in three to four weeks. Most individuals gain one to two pounds of lean muscle per month with the right strength training and nutrition plan.

What exercises should be avoided after 60? ›

Most seniors should avoid the following six exercises to protect their health.
  1. High-Impact Aerobics. Aerobic classes often look fun, and many are advertised as including elements of dance that make seniors want to join in. ...
  2. Deep Squats. ...
  3. Sit Ups. ...
  4. Sprints or Heavy Running. ...
  5. Stair Climbs. ...
  6. Standing Toe Touches.
Dec 19, 2019

What should you not do after 60? ›

Things to Never Do After Age 60, Say Experts
  • Let Yourself Get Too Lonely.
  • Skip Your Vaccinations.
  • Lose Track Of Your Blood Pressure.
  • Skip Regular Exercise.
  • Drink Too Much.
Dec 18, 2021

How do you get rid of belly fat at 65? ›

Weight or resistance training is the best way to lose belly fat after 65. As mentioned earlier, burning belly fat can be challenging in this age group due to muscle loss. By doing resistance training exercises, you develop more muscle mass that helps your body burn more calories even at rest (1).

How many pushups should a 60 year old male do? ›

Age 60-65: 5-12 push-ups

Now, these are the average numbers, and as you can see, the amount of push-ups you are able to go decreases as you age. Naturally, if at anytime you can do much more, such as 39-47 push-ups as a 20-29-year-old male, you are considered “good.” Can you do 47 or more?

Should men over 60 lift heavy weights? ›

The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends weight training for all people over age 50 and tells us even those into their 90s can benefit.

Is it better to lift heavier or more reps? ›

So, in general, low reps with heavy weight tends to increase muscle mass, while high reps with light weight increases muscle endurance. This doesn't mean that you have to rely on one method exclusively. Alternating between the two may be the best approach for long-term success.

Does heavier weights mean bigger muscles? ›

Muscle growth does not depend on the amount of weight you lift. It is a myth that one must lift more weight to bulk up. If you're regular and patient with lighter weights, you can achieve similar results.

What are the side effects of lifting heavy weights? ›

Lifting weights that are too heavy can cause muscle and joint damage. Doing so can also cause spinal injuries such as herniated discs. In extreme cases, heavy lifting can even tear a heart artery, which could result in death.

Should seniors lift heavy or light weights? ›

Seniors should lift light weights to start with and then progress to heavier weights over time. Lifting heavy weights is safe and recommended for seniors as it helps to improve strength. Strength is lost as you get older but it can be slowed down and even reversed if you haven't been lifting weights regularly.

What is the best workout routine for older men? ›

Want more? Here are the Top 20 Exercises For Men Over 40!
  • Warm-up: 5 minutes rower, skipping, cross-trainer, or similar.
  • Legs: 3 x 45 seconds jump squats.
  • Back: 3 x 10-12 pull-ups (or rows)
  • Chest: 3 x 15-25 push-ups.
  • Shoulders: 3 x 15-25 incline push-ups (feet elevated)
  • Cooldown: 5 minutes walk outside.

What is the best exercise for over 60s? ›

aim to be physically active every day, even if it's just light activity.
Examples of moderate intensity activities include:
  • walking for health.
  • water aerobics.
  • riding a bike.
  • dance for fitness.
  • doubles tennis.
  • pushing a lawn mower.
  • hiking.

At what age do men stop producing muscle? ›

Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60 [4,5]. This involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function is a fundamental cause of and contributor to disability in older people.

At what age do you stop making muscle? ›

Typically, muscle mass and strength increase steadily from birth and reach their peak at around 30 to 35 years of age. After that, muscle power and performance decline slowly and linearly at first, and then faster after age 65 for women and 70 for men.

What is the best exercise for men over 60? ›

The Best Exercises for Seniors
  1. Water aerobics. In the past years, water aerobics have become an extremely popular form of exercise among all ages, but in particular to seniors. ...
  2. Chair yoga. ...
  3. Resistance band workouts. ...
  4. Pilates. ...
  5. Walking. ...
  6. Body weight workouts. ...
  7. Dumbbell strength training.

Can you reshape your body at 60? ›

No matter what your age, you can improve your fitness.

If it's been a long time since you've exercised and you're feeling less than fit, you might think that it's too late to make a change. But you're wrong. You can improve your fitness at any age.

Do muscular guys live longer? ›

It's in your muscles. In a 2021 review of 16 studies from around the globe, researchers found that just 30 to 60 minutes a week of muscle-strengthening, or “resistance,” exercise increased life expectancy by 10 to 17 percent.

What is the best way for seniors to build muscle? ›

Cardio and strength training are the two best ways of gaining muscle mass as an older adult.
  1. Cardio is something everyone needs, especially those who live a more sedentary lifestyle. It's vital for overall heart health and metabolism. ...
  2. Strength training is the secret to muscle growth for older adults.
Mar 16, 2020

Can a 70 year old male gain muscle mass? ›

Seniors Can Still Bulk Up On Muscle By Pressing Iron Our muscle mass decreases at surprising rates as we get older. But researchers found that people older than 50 can not only maintain but actually increase their muscle mass by lifting weights.

At what age should I stop lifting heavy weights? ›

Heavy weights.

Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength, but when you're over 50 there is no reason to push yourself too hard. Try a slightly lighter weight that you can safely do 10 to 12 reps with.

How do I stop my muscles from wasting? ›

Disuse (physiologic) atrophy can be treated with regular exercise and better nutrition. Your healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy or an exercise plan. Even if you can't actively move certain joints in your body, you can do still exercises wearing a splint or brace.

What are the side effects of bodybuilding at old age? ›

Negative Effects. Overtime, weightlifting puts a tremendous amount of stress on your joints, tendons, and ligaments. As a result, many bodybuilders have tendinitis, back pains, shoulder pains, and other forms of joint problems.


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