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4 Tips to Start Strength Training Over 55

Did you know that as many as 80% of people over 55 do not have enough muscle mass and have too much body fat, which can lead to heart disease, falls, osteoporosis, strokes, arthritis, high blood pressure and more?

The good news is that it’s never too late to build muscle, strength, and balance, no matter your age. Strength training can help to improve your muscle tone so you can feel stronger and more confident, build bone density to protect you from osteoporosis and falls, improve your resting metabolic rate, helping you to get rid of stubborn pounds, and improve your body’s dashboard numbers naturally.

But how do you get started? As a personal trainer who helps women over 55 build strong bones and muscles, let me share a few tips to get started safely. 

Start Slowly: Use Light Resistance and Focus on Form First

Try not to go to the extremes, start slowly with a reasonable resistance that you can lift with proper technique. Once you get the movement down and understand the right technique then progress your weights.

It’s important to progress beyond light weights.

Old information told us that light weights were for toning, but we now know that to be untrue. It’s important to lift a weight that gives your body a challenge by the last few repetitions, otherwise your body isn’t seeing the benefit from your activity. 

Always Warm Up and Cool Down

Your body’s muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints need to lubricate and loosen up to keep you safe with exercises. Also, your heart and lungs need to warm up to exercise safely. Use dynamic movements like marches, step outs, arm circles, shoulder circles, and head turns to warm up for your exercise.

Save your stationary stretches for the end of your workout in your cool down. Check out my dynamic warm up video here for your next workout:

Be Consistent

It’s so much harder for your body to recover and build up to a workout when you don’t perform the movements very often. Commit to strength training 2-3 times a week with a resistance that is challenging for your body by the end of your reps in each set.

You should perform 2-3 sets of 8-15 reps to build muscle. Exercising this way won’t make you bulky but it will keep you strong for life’s activities. Check out this quick body friendly 10-minute workout:

Avoid Spot Treating

Pick a routine with exercises that work your whole body. As a personal trainer for women over 50, all too often I hear from women who want to focus on one area of their body. They feel their arms are too weak or their core isn’t strong enough.

It can be tempting to only work one area of your body, but you will work your muscles better by working on your whole body. Take a full body approach and add exercises for your whole body like planks, squats, and modified push-ups. 

Strength training after 55 doesn’t have to be daunting! It can be fun, exciting and help you build not only your body, but your confidence!

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn exactly where to start, which exercises to perform, how to perform them correctly so that you don’t get injured and ensure that you DO make progress! 

I’m hosting my next FREE Live Workshop on October 26th: Perfect 10: Body Friendly Exercises to Build Confidence, Strong Bones, and Muscles for Women 55+. To save your spot, register here at


Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you felt intimidated by strength training? Why? Have you attempted this type of exercise? What did you discover is the right way to do strength training? Have you made progress?

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I will be 70 next year, am overweight and have autoimmune disorders that leave me with no energy. At the end of august I started strength training with two personal trainers at a local health and lifestyle centre 3 x a week. I have sciatica in my right leg and lower back pain. Although I haven’t lost any weight, I have gained muscle mass and feel stronger in myself. I even do exercises in bed first thing. I am trusting in the process. My trainers say that my shape is changing and I am energised. Moving about is getting easier and I look forward to going in to my sessions. Throw the scales away and focus on your core strength and movement. The changes will happen and your body will love you for it.

Linda Berrón

Thank you

The Author

Aubrey Reinmiller is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, and Functional Aging Specialist focused on helping those over 50 to reinvent aging! She offers online small group and private fitness solutions through Aubrey authored Reinvent Aging: The Over 50 Fitness Guide to Improve Energy, Strength and Balance.

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