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Help Getting a 50y/o Started


Hello everyone.

One of my workcollegues who knows that I am working out has asked if I could help him, he wants to get in shape.

He is 51 years old and hasn't been training or doing sports for many many years (at least 20 I guess). He isn't fat but not lean. So now to the question, I am 25 and I have trained several guys my age, but never anyone his age.

So how do I start, what goals are realistic, what can I use to test his overall GPP...etc.

Thanks for any replies, they are very much appreciated. (BTW - If there has been a thread like this before, could you please post the link in case I've overlooked it.)



I wouldn?t start with a so called goal. I would start by getting him into a habit of exercise. Keep it fun. After he starts getting into it then I would approach goals.


I would have to agree with pittbulll, "break-in" programs are key. Maybe perform some tests in this period, something like the Push-up Test or a Decline Sit-up Test. Maybe even base some goals off of that.

Also, some advice to give this 50yr old would be to get involved in something like a Martial Arts class. You know? Something reasonable that he's new to, where he can apply the strengths you're getting out of him. Heck, it could be something even like joining a tennis club or training for a charity race.


Thanks for the advice so far.

I might have to add, that due to his job/family (and you're right, sport isn't a habit at all) he hasn't got much more time then 1 h every other day.

When he was younger he used to be into karate (3rd dan if I remember right) so that might be a good idea in a month or so, but what would you think would be a good "break in" program to get him started?

Should I allready start with light versions of the compound lifts maybe a higher rep scheme like 3x12 to see how he responds...another questions would be, for older people (no offensen) what kind of stretching and do I have to plan longer warm up phases.

hope this wasn't to long - thanks for the help.

regards eisenbeisser


1 hour every other day eh?

Well, at least it's something.

Why not get him to do a full body a couple of days a week. Some cardio on other days. I would ease in some interval work later.

Start slow and build from there.

Perhaps he has some extra time to do some walking or running. He wouldn't have to be in the gym to do that, so he could it from his home.

It's always good motivation to see progress. So keep a log of the weights he uses, and his performance on cardio.
Or better yet, let him keep a log.


All right, this is me. A 50-year old who only a few years ago got into the habit (and only has an hour in the gym at the time).

  1. If his aerobic fitness is as shot as mine was, I would start him on an exercise bike, one with a programme. This does not hit the knees as a running thingy does. Let him do interval sets, with a modest load, 5-10 minutes as a start-up. He will see his numbers go up quite soon which is a great motivator. Keep him doing this a a warm-up. If he wants a challenge, alternate with a concept-style rower.

  2. Run him through a set of stretches. Butt, lower back, hamstrings are important.

  3. Start him on the machines that best mimic lifting. Yes, I know you will hear otherwise, but with a guy who probably is uncertain about his strength and movements, this approach gives comfort in the beginning.

  4. Tell him, in no uncertain terms, that 85% of the gym habitues haven't got a clue about what they're doing and to mimic them is usually a bad idea.

  5. Once he has some numbers in his head, start the three big ones with an empty bar. Only put weight on once he can do them with form. Keep a particular eye on the lower back and knee positions. Too much weight too early will screw them up.

  6. Tell him that his only comparison is himself. It doesn't matter how much others lift. It does matter that he racks his weights, always uses collars and sticks to good form.

  7. Also tell him that he can do it, and good luck!


Goblet squats


Hey, sorry that I haven't replied for a while, but I am definetly use some of the advice from you guys. THANK YOU.

...yes, I am trying to tell him that what most of the people do in the gym, isn't the best way to go...

he responds much better than I thought, and on the weekend we did some "strongman" stuff in his garden, and had a barbeque afterwards...He told me that I he's surprised that training can actually be fun...

Thanks again for the advice,...one more thing, as he is sitting most of the day, he is very stiff and I was wondering what kind of stretching methods are ok for him, would dynamic stretching be to much, should I stick with static streching?


Start with static stretching. Teach him how to do it right and tell him to do it at home. Don't let it cut into your "1 hour every other day".

Ask him how his stretching went, just to make sure he's doing them at all.


I'm with Reckless here/TQB