T Nation

The Over 55 Lifter


Even I am still on my early 30s, I was thinking that the decline of functions and the responses of those just over 35 are pretty different of those on the late 50s. The idea of this post came to me as I am dealing more and more with people over 55 yo that are training for the FIRST time in their lives or after decades of doing nothing;

so, the idea here is to gather ideas on how to get these guys started, and gather experiences from all those who started training at this age or from those who had trained over 55 yo begginers.


I just got a gift certificate to Golds and my girlfriend and I are going to start going soon. At 57 I will be watching this post.Ive had a short talk with a trainer there but have not set up a routine yet.

How is it that you are dealing with more and more people over 55?


Let me preclude this by saying I am not a professional trainer, medical practitioner or specialist of any kind.

However, I am in my 40's and was (20 years ago) qualified physical training instructor with the Canadian Military.

I am well read, and have trained in one aspect or another for the entirety of my life... most recently becoming more focused towards powerlifting.

For someone over the age of 55 who has been sedentary for the several decades... and has been medically cleared to begin a fitness/ training regime I would personally start them on some sort of aerobic/ anaerobic training regime- like circuit training of some sort.

This would get their blood flowing, lungs working and heart beating, also getting their sense of balance, flexibility and coordination in tune. It would also help them deal with muscle soreness and get some "good" endorphins pulsing through their system.

If possible, group them in pairs or even threes so that they share a common bond, can exchange their thoughts and feelings and in addition this will cause them to become more confident and comitted to the training as they will not want to let their workout partner(s) down.

This is just my opinion, and how I would tackle the situation...


There has always been mature guys who had exercised all their lives, but recently I see pretty often guys well over 50 (real begginers) who either are sent by their doctors to the gym or are trying to get in shape because of their new younger wife or lover, really, maybe it´s some kind of viagra side effect :slight_smile:

As you can imagine they approach to anyone who can offer some advice, so I thougth about starting this topic since there are things that only the people in those situations can understand, and it would be great that they would exchange experiences and ideas here.


The anaerobic/aerobic combo seems good to me, I also thought on an initial phase of anatomic adaptation to prepare them for a latter phase of hypertrophy and strength. For the aerobic workouts I would progress from low impact to moderate-high impact, and from steady state to moderate intervals. The issue here would be how much stress do their joints can tolerate, and I guess that it would be a good indicator to increase or decrease the workload.

I never thought about group them in pairs or trees so they can commit and share feelings and thoughts. That´s a wonderful idea.