60 Year Old Bodybuilding: Building Muscle As a 60 Year Old

Written by Tihomir Stefanov, M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

Fact Checked

Are you a sixty-year-old looking to start building muscle? If your answer is yes, then we have some incredible news for you – all hope is not lost, and it turns out that 60 year old bodybuilding training is, in fact, a viable option.

While it might seem intimidating or even impossible at first glance – trust us when we say that with some extra effort and dedication, adding lean muscle mass to your frame at this stage in life is absolutely achievable. 

In this post, we’ll delve into the different ways an older adult can build muscle while having plenty of fun along the way and answer common questions, such as:

  1. Can a 60 year old be a bodybuilder?
  2. How often should a 60 year old lift weights?

So grab those weights and prepare yourself: it’s time to show what you’ve got!

Weight Training & Injuries

While the common perception is that weight training is strongly associated with risk of injury, there appears to be no scientific evidence directly linking (proper) weight training to an increased risk of injuries. 

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In fact, supervised weight training can be remarkably safe when practiced properly and can even help reduce the chances of sustaining acute or chronic musculoskeletal injuries. 

This begs the question: What accounts for this misconception? 

It may be due to a combination of fear-mongering media stories focusing on rare instances of dangerous behavior in gyms and a general lack of fitness education among adults. 

Either way, weight training may, in fact, be one of the most beneficial training activities for adults, especially people aged 50 and above.

This is why it’s worth exploring whether working with weights could actually benefit your health more than you might think!

Young VS Adult Training

Have you ever noticed that it seems like many young people can stay fit and healthy by just being a bit active, but when adults begin to let their health slip, it’s usually caused by a lack of physical activity? 

That’s because our bodies undergo certain changes as we age that require us to take extra steps to keep them strong. 

This is why we think that weight training is such an important part of any fitness routine for adults. 

The resistance from weights increases our overall muscle strength, slowing or preventing age-related declines like sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass,) arthritis, or osteoporosis. 

Young people’s muscles are still growing and developing, so weight training isn’t quite as essential for them, but that doesn’t mean they should opt-out completely. 

Incorporating some light strength training into their workout regimens can help establish healthy habits and give them a head start on keeping their bodies healthy as they get older.

So, yeah, as we like saying – weight training is optional for young people and mandatory for adults!

The Benefits For Adults

It’s no secret that the benefits of weight training for adults are vast and varied. 

While many of us are familiar with the physical transformation that often occurs as a result of weight training, there are many other potential upsides to consider – from better sleep cycles, greater joint, and bone health, heightened self-confidence, and even clearer thinking that can occur when challenging ourselves physically. 

Weight training is more than an aesthetically appealing ideal – it has the capacity to imbue us with feel-good sensations both physically and mentally. 

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Now let’s have a look at the four most prominent benefits of training for adults, shall we?

Reduced Injury Risk

It’s amazing to think that something as simple as weightlifting could have a direct effect on the risk of injury in adults. 

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But the fact of the matter is regular weight training can make your muscles stronger and ultimately reduce the likelihood of getting injured. 

It’s unclear exactly how much of a difference it makes, but any muscle strength gained by lifting weights is believed to be beneficial for avoiding injury. 

So, if you’re curious about what impact weightlifting can have on your body and its overall resilience, then this could be something worth exploring further.

Muscle Maintenance

As we age, our bodies go through a number of changes. One of the most concerning is the potential for muscle mass and strength to decrease as we get older. 

This can be concerning for those who want to stay active and fit, but luckily weightlifting offers an effective way to maintain muscle mass and strength even as we age. 

Not only does weightlifting promote healthy bones as well as muscles in terms of both physical appearance and functionality, but it also offers benefits to balance, circulation, cardiovascular health, and overall quality of life. 

Weightlifting can help maintain muscle mass so that aging individuals are still able to perform daily tasks with ease and remain independent longer. 

Who knew that lifting weights could have so many positives when it comes to the aging process?

Daily Functionality

Training can often seem like an extra burden for 60 year old bodybuilding, taking up more of our precious free time. 

However, the effects of training for adults go beyond physical fitness and strength. 

Perhaps the best part is that it can provide enhanced functionality in daily life. 

Training helps us become faster and stronger, improving even simple tasks such as carrying groceries or climbing stairs. 

It can also help sharpen focus, reduce stress levels and make everyday activities less demanding. 

These effects make training sessions worthwhile investments that can improve both your performance in everyday life and your overall quality of life.

Improved Hormonal Function

One of the lesser-known advantages that come with weight-training is its effects on the body’s hormonal function. 

When adults lift weights regularly, it is possible that their hormonal function will function better, providing them with immense energy both mentally and physically. 

In addition to improved performance, optimized hormone production can also help protect against muscle loss during aging, as you learned above. 

With regular weight training and proper nutrition, adults can look forward to higher levels of physical fitness along with greater health and well-being overall. 

It’s certainly an intriguing prospect for any adult looking for new ways to stay in shape!

How Is Adult Training Different?

Alright, all of the information thus far begs the question – how is training different for adults compared to that for young people?

Well, if you open Instagram, you might frequently stumble upon youngsters lifting as heavy as possible as often as possible.

This is sort of an all-out approach.

And well, needless to say, this is also an approach that isn’t suited for the gradually declining adult body.

Instead of repeatedly attempting to lift as heavy as possible as often as possible, adults should emphasize time under tension and mind-muscle connection. 

Although this approach may not bring about the results one desires as quickly as heavier lifting, it allows for more sustainability – one can make gains safely and consistently over time using these less-intense techniques.

Being mindful of these details can be a game changer for those looking to make improvements as adults with the help of weight lifting. 

Adult Bodybuilding Program

With all of these benefits, it is hard to deny starting a weight lifting program, whether you’re in your 40s, 50s or 60s.

But what is the right approach? Well, we’ve got you covered! 

Below, we’ve created a program that any generally healthy adult can take on and start off with, as a beginner.

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Times (between sets)
Bodyweight Squat21090 seconds
Weighted Squat (Barbell, dumbbell or machine)3102.5 minutes
Flat Barbell Bench Press3102.5 minutes
Lat Pulldown3102.5 minutes
Hamstring Curls3102.5 minutes
Romanian Deadlifts362.5 minutes

Rules Of Thumb

Now, this program relies mainly on compound movements – exercises that engage multiple muscle groups.

For adults with no specific injuries, this will be an effective training regimen, but it should be noted that with time, changes need to be made in order to ensure continued progress.

Here are the X rules of thumb to abide by if or when you decide to take on this program:

  1. Initially, hire a coach to ensure that you are executing the exercises correctly
  2. When you master exercise technique, take your sets within 3-4 repetitions of failure – make the sets challenging, but don’t go too far!
  3. As you progress, increase the weights used, as well as the reps and number of sets – do so at a normal rate without making huge jumps!
  4. IMPORTANT: Do this full-body workout up to 3 times a week, leaving about 48 hours of rest between each workout (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  5. IMPORTANT: Engage in recovery practices, such as stretching and deep-tissue massages in-between workouts
  6. IMPORTANT: If any exercise induces pain, even after you’ve mastered its technique, consult with your personal trainer for a replacement exercise
  7. Last but not least, stay consistent with your plan!

Final Thoughts on 60 Year Old Bodybuilding

Ah, yes, 60 year old bodybuilding… It begs the question – can a 60 year old be a bodybuilder?

Well, perhaps not a competitive one, but even in your late adult years, bodybuilding-style training is always a viable option, due to its numerous benefits for health, performance, and daily functionality.

And how often should a 60 year old lift weights? Well, for starters we recommend 2 to 3 times a week, with a moderate amount of training volume.

And as with any other training regimen, that volume can (and should) grow over time.

How has training in your adult years impacted you? Comment below!

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