T Nation

50yo Needs Advice on a Starting Program


hey guy
as the title says im 50 6ft and weigh in at 111kg
over the last year with kettlebell training and diet mods ive lost 31kgs
a normal kb workout goes something like this
24kg kb 2h swing 40 30 20 10 x 3 for 300 reps with a set of jumping jacks after each rep set
1h press 3x 10-24kg
1h clean and press 3x10 x24-32kg
upright row 32kg 3 x 10
floor press 3 x10 24kg
suitcase rows 3x10-32kg
1 set = right then left arm.

so ive dropped weight built stamina am breathing easier and am definitely fitter.

So now ive hit a point where i want to add shape definition and size.
i have no idea on what to do with barbells and dumbells as there is so much conflicting bs out there.

I have a good bench set, bars an ez curl a squat rack and a cable machine at home

what do i do?
I need some advice on what i should be doing to start out i did see a personal trainer but he wanted to push the cardio which isnt my thing. Im reasonably broad shouldered and more inclined to strength work physically and psychologically.

ive read starting strength and looked at medhis 5x5 but really have no idea.


Thanks in advance

im also recently vegan but have no worries with protein and amino intake
will post some pics when i find the ones from when i started to now.

thanks again


This 36 year-old has a few thoughts to share with you.

  1. Starting Strength is a good book to reference for performing the movements, even if Rippetoe can be a bit verbose at times. I think he wrote 40+ pages on how to squat. I think you can cover that without 40 pages, but he’s the author. I really found the photographs and diagrams helpful when I was learning how to squat, deadlift and press barbells.

  2. Starting Strength is generally considered a good beginner program, but I’m not sure how far you’d get on it as a 50 year-old vegan. Maybe you’d get very far, maybe you’ll stall fast. No way to know unless you try.

  3. I would buy the original 5/3/1 2nd edition. I think Wendler covers how to squat in a page or two. This book more than any other has shaped my personal approach to lifting, and I think it is a very sensible way for a serious lifter of any age to go about training with barbells. I still have not found a more concise explanation of what you need to do to succeed with barbells. If I had to recommend a specific program, it would be 5/3/1 with the Triumvirate template from the 2nd edition book.

  4. Don’t rule out bodybuilding without barbells. I’ve always trained with them, but others have had a lot of success without ever loading their spine up with a lot of weight. There are many paths to success.

  5. Don’t kid yourself about the level of caloric intake required to lay down new muscle tissue. Plenty of vegans have had success with lifting, but this choice places you at an undeniable handicap. Make sure your expectations are tempered appropriately. Most importantly, make sure you are eating for success. I’d highly recommend reading up on successful vegan lifters and make note of their methods.

That’s whats kicking around my head this a.m. Good luck to you!


The best training program is the one you enjoy the most, because you’re more likely to stick with it. For some people, this means training like a powerlifter; for others, more like a BBer. In this regard, take a look at the following articles:

(There are many, many other programs on this site.)

No matter what program you pick/like, you will make significant improvements in both body composition and strength if you stick with it for an extended period of time.

My advice is to run 5/3/1 for several months, then run the CT program for roughly the same period of time. After giving them both a fair shake, you will have a much better sense of what sort of program suits you. Best of luck reaching your goals.