How Strong Should a 50-Year-Old Man Be?

When you hear the saying “50 is the new 40,” what is your first reaction? The fact is that many people feel much better than they thought they would when they start to get older. With good fitness and healthy habits, anyone can feel good for his age even if he’s a middle-aged man. So just how strong should a 50-year-old man be?

If you measure yourself according to your age and you’re a 50-year-old man, you should at least be able to hold a plank for two minutes, bench-press 150% of your body weight, and complete a standing barbell press at your exact body weight.

These are a few of the goals that you should set for yourself once you reach middle age and they are much easier to achieve than you might think.

If you’re starting with weight training, please expect to be able to achieve these numbers.

how strong should a 50-year-old man

Things You Should Be Able to Do Once You Reach the Age of 50

In addition to the things mentioned above, the average 50-year-old man should also be able to:

  • Do 50 pushups
  • Do 15 chin-ups
  • Deadlift 250% of your body weight
  • Barbell squat double your body weight
  • Do ten barbell lift thrusts with 150% of your body weight
  • Hang-clean 125% of your body weight

If you’re a man over the age of 50 and you aren’t able to accomplish these things, do not worry. It is never too late to get into great shape, and it all starts with setting reasonable goals for yourself and being consistent with your workouts.

Clean and Press

Is it Possible to Start Exercising After the Age of 50?

Even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life, the fact is that starting an exercise regimen after you turn 50 is much easier than you think. You have to start slowly, of course. It is entirely possible to get into great shape later in life.

The first thing you should do is determine how much time you have available to work out. You should also set realistic goals for yourself. Remember that everybody is different; therefore, you have to personalize your own fitness goals to meet your individual specific needs.

The human body was made to move, and if you’re not used to working out regularly, you’re already at risk for numerous chronic illnesses. This risk increases with age.

Exercise releases endorphins to make you feel better emotionally, and it chases away free radicals so that you get better-looking skin. The benefits of regular exercise are enormous, and you don’t have to be a marathon runner to get the results you’re looking for.

If you’re just getting started with your exercise plan, exercising for only 50 minutes per week can make a huge difference in how you look and how you feel. You should eventually increase that time, and when you’re 50 plus, you should concentrate on four main areas:

  • Doing aerobics (cardio)
  • Increasing flexibility
  • Improving your balance
  • Strength training

Does this mean that you have to excel in all four areas right away? Of course not, but you should aim for these four areas so that you can enjoy better overall health and fitness. Which can significantly reduce the risk of certain ailments and diseases.

One word of caution: don’t set your goals too high at first. Remember that you can always change your fitness goals as you improve your fitness level. If you aim too high in the beginning, you’re more likely to get discouraged and quit, which of course won’t do you any good.

Why Is it Important to Have Fitness Goals After 50?

As we age, it is natural for us to slow down, but in reality, we should be increasing our exercise goals instead of decreasing them. Regular exercise can thwart serious diseases that sometimes occur as we age. Meaning that regular exercisers will decrease their odds of getting those diseases as they get older.

Whether your goal is to lose some weight, increase your muscle tone, or anything else, setting that goal in the first place is crucial. But to set a goal, you have to be specific. All of this may feel overwhelming if you’re terribly out of shape, but it can be easier than you think to get started.

If you can’t measure a goal, you can’t manage it so being specific is essential. In other words, just saying that “I want to get into shape” isn’t good enough. Instead, you should set goals such as “I want to lose 10 pounds in six weeks” or “I want to increase my upper-body strength by 25%.”

You can find out more in my article Why You Should be Setting Fitness Goals For Your Key to Success.

When Setting Goals, think SMART

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time-oriented

Men aged 50 and over also need some motivation to keep going. This requires that you have a passion for what you’re doing as well as believing you will achieve your goal. After all, an unrealistic goal will always lead to failure.

Think of it this way: even people who are in good physical shape and who already jog regularly need to train before they can run a marathon. Setting realistic goals that you can measure may take some time. No two people are alike, and you should never measure your success by what someone else your age is doing.

You should also keep in mind that even when things are going well, you can always have a bad day. Accept those days but don’t let them give you an excuse to stop what you’re doing. If you keep it up, you will eventually succeed.

There are many reasons why regular exercise is crucial once you’ve reached the age of 50. Of course, the best reason is the way it makes you feel and the fact that you likely won’t experience nearly the amount of ailments and diseases as you would if you weren’t exercising.

When Setting Goals, think SMART

Are There Other Fitness Goals That 50-Year-Olds Should Aspire?

Starting at age 30, muscle mass declines roughly 3% to 5% every ten years, so if you’ve never exercised, you have a lot of catching up to do. But don’t get discouraged because you can be reaching those exercise goals sooner than you imagine.

To find out more, you can read my article on muscle loss after 40.

As long as you’re participating in something that is weight-bearing, you can build up muscle tone. This includes jogging, jumping rope, playing tennis, and lifting weights. When you do these types of exercises, your muscles respond to the physical “stress” by becoming stronger, which is what you want.

Other exercises that you can include in your weekly routine include:

  • Bench presses
  • Pull-ups
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Rows
  • Military presses

As a general rule, you should aim for 20 to 30 minutes of cardio three times a week and lifting weights two to three times per week. This will give you an excellently balanced routine that targets both cardiovascular health and muscle tone. Best of all, you can likely do all of this in the comfort of your own home. Although you can certainly go to a gym if you want a little more motivation.

Can a 50-Year-Old Be in as Good a Shape as a 30-Year-Old?

We’ve all heard about 80-year-olds who have completed marathons and half-marathons, and the good news is that this doesn’t have to be a unique situation. Indeed, if you train correctly and give yourself enough time, you too can be running and weightlifting the same as the younger men do.

Of course, it is natural that people 30 years old will meet their fitness goals a little more easily and sooner than older individuals can. People at any age can achieve their goals as long as they give them enough time and never give up. A 50-year-old who has been exercising regularly for ten years; is always going to be in better shape than a 30-year-old who has never exercised.

So yes, it is possible for an older individual to be in better shape than someone younger and this is something essential to keep in mind if you’re 50 or older and trying to get into great shape.

Can a 50-Year-Old Be in as Good a Shape as a 30-Year-Old

In Case You’re Wondering

It is also essential to keep in mind the changes that occur once a man turns 50 years old. These include the following:

  • The muscles become more limited and less elastic.
  • The testosterone level drops.
  • Developing depression and memory loss is more likely.
  • The amount of water in your body drops.

In fact, under the age of 50, men’s bodies consist of roughly 60% water, but that number drops to 54% once they reach 50. So, what does all this mean for men who have reached the big 5-0? Simply put, it means that you should; use your muscle groups regularly, lower your fat levels through regular exercise, do crossword puzzles and other brain games, and drink more water.


Aging is unavoidable, but a bad attitude and being in bad shape are optional. If you’re 50 years old or older, you can still feel great and have a positive attitude. It all starts with having a reachable goal and being consistent so that in the end, you can accomplish your fitness goals and feel better both physically and psychologically.

References Used in This Article

  1. Physical performance in middle age and old age.
  2. The benefits of strength training for older adults.

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