If you are over 50 and your workouts only consist of strength training and stretches, read this.
As you get older, it’s vital that you train to build muscle mass, strength, flexibility, and mobility.
That’s because age-related muscle loss is real and it’s a natural course of aging. According to Harvard Health, we begin to lose muscle mass after the age of 30, and we can lose as much as 3-5% every 10 years (1).
Naturally, as you lose more muscle mass, you also lose mobility, balance, and flexibility, upping your risk of falls and injuries.
But just because it’s a natural part of aging, we are not hopeless to reverse the course. In fact, there is a lot we can do to stop muscle loss, live a vital life, and even add years to your life.
In order to fight off the muscle loss and other age-related declines that come with it, you have to train your muscles and maintain power.
Strength training is one of the best ways to build muscle mass and strength. Even better, movements like squats, lunges, rows and presses also train for everyday movements to keep your mobility in check.
However, there are other superior training methods besides weight training to add dynamic power and speed. That is plyometric training. According to a 2020 12-week study, age-adjusted plyometric training improves dynamic strength and functional capacity. (2)
Plyometric Training for Those Over 50
Plyometrics is a form of power training that involve exercises like passing, shuffling, and jumping. They are designed to train for explosiveness, quickness, and dynamic strength.
Put simply, they improve your ability to apply more force, quicker.
As you get older, plyometrics also help prevent injuries by conditioning your muscles at the weakest point.
It teaches your body to contract your muscles from the weak full-stretched position.
Plyometrics are underutilized in training for those over 50 but can be truly beneficial to their fitness.
Plyometric training can be strenuous to your joints and weak muscles when proper care is not in place. The best practice is to start off with balance and strength training to build initial stability and fitness. Incorporate upper-body plyometrics or lower-intensity plyometrics before moving to more explosive moves.
Before you start any new exercise routine, be sure to consult with physicians in your local area to see if they are right for you.
Here are 3 plyometric exercises to add to your workouts after 50.
Forward Step-Up Jump
- Set up a sturdy bench or box in front of you. Have the right foot on the box to start.
- Engage your core and drive from the right front leg to push off to jump into the air as high as possible.
- Switch legs while you are still in the air and land on the left foot on the box.
- Repeat 5-7 times per side and aim for maximum height when jumping. Complete 2-3 sets.
Ins and Outs
- Start in the squat position with your thighs almost parallel to the ground. Avoid letting your knees pass the toes.
- Engage your core and keep your back flat and neutral. Abduct the legs just outside the hips with a slight jump and jump right back to the starting position.
- Continue for 20 seconds for 2-3 sets.
Bench Plyometric Push-Up
- Set a sturdy bench in front of you.
- Stand a few steps away from the bench and place both hands on the edge of the bench. Slowly walk back with your feet until your body is in a straight line and your legs are fully extended to the back. Make sure to maintain a neutral back and spine.
- With control, bend your elbows to start lowering your chest down toward the bench as in a push-up motion.
- Once you are at the bottom position, explosively, drive from your hands to push your body away from the bench without losing form.
- Your hands will leave the bench slightly and let them land softly on the bench and come into the starting position.
- Repeat 8-10 times for 2-3 sets.