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OVER 55 WORKOUT ROUTINES

HOW OLD IS TOO OLD?

Obviously, it depends upon what we aspire to do. It seems that great athletes usually retire before they reach their mid to latter 30s. But there are exceptions.

Here are a few who retired very early:

  • Belgian tennis player Justine Henin retired at age 25, when she was #1 in the world of women’s tennis
  • Pro football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders retired at age 31
  • Great Swedish tennis player Bjorn Borg retired at age 26
  • Running back Gale Sayers retired from pro football at age 29
  • Jim Brown, still considered the greatest running back in football history, retired at age 30
  • Sandy Koufax, great Dodger pitcher and 3 time Cy Young award winner, retired at age 30

Others continued their careers much longer, such as:

  • Great baseball player Hank Aaron played until age 40
  • Basketball point guard John Stockton retired at age 41
  • Great receiver Jerry Rice played until age 42
  • Great baseball player Ted Williams played (very effectively) until age 41
  • Pitcher Nolan Ryan kept pitching until age 46
  • Boxer George Foreman regained the heavyweight championship at age 45
  • Martina Navratilova was winning doubles championships at age 49
  • Gordie Howe was still playing hockey at age 52
  • Sam Snead won a golf tournament at age 52. At age 71, he shot a round of 60. He is shown above.
  • Tom Brady helped the New England Patriots win a Super Bowl at age 41 and he is still playing.

Many of the early retirees had plaguing injuries. Some wanted to switch careers. Others may have accumulated enough wealth for a very comfortable retirement.

FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE AMATEURS

We may have never achieved fame or fortune, but we loved sports and physical activity. As we have aged, we still enjoy doing what we can do athletically. We also like to keep in shape and may find that it has become increasingly difficult.

The point of this post is to suggest exercise and equipment for those who are over 55 years of age. I am well over the age of 55 and have not played competitive sports in a couple of decades, but I work out every day for about 30 minutes. This has made a huge difference in my health and spirit.

Long workouts do not interest me much, but shorter workouts can be quite intense and more productive than the long and laborious kind. My focus is on home workouts, as opposed to going to a gym. Any workout is generally productive, but home workouts can be finished quickly and do not entail driving to a gym.

Here is a bit of wisdom from playwright George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing”.

DO WE NEED EQUIPMENT?

Not necessarily, but it helps. It need not be expensive and I will recommend quality workout equipment that is reasonably priced.

But first, let’s look at exercise that requires no equipment at all. Here is an abdominal workout using bodyweight alone. There are six sets of 50 seconds duration each. It is intensive and highly productive:

https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a26960776/lower-ab-workout/

I usually do this routine every day, but I sometimes only do the third set, the Butterfly Crunch. It is my favorite and it produces good results for the lower abdominals. If I don’t do the entire 6 sets of the routine, I do 2 sets of the Butterfly Crunch for 40 reps each.

The standard push – up is great for upper body development, especially the chest and triceps. It also engages the back and shoulders. To increase the intensity of the push – up, I would recommend the Power Press. It shows precise hand positions for different muscles and the placement of the handles allows for deeper dipping, more like a parallel bar dip. Here is the link for the Power Press.

We can always take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. We can walk fast or jog for a better cardio experience. I like having a treadmill, as well. This gives me an option for inclement weather and it shows me my rate of speed, calorie expenditure and other information. My treadmill is shown below. Here is the link for that treadmill by Nordic Track, as updated since my purchase.

For muscle building (or toning), we need dumbbells or resistance cords. Let’s consider them separately:

DUMBBELLS – engage specific muscles and can isolate attention to our weak spots. See dumbbells used for triceps below.

And dumbbells used for biceps, shown below.

Dumbbells can also be used for any muscle or muscle group, such as:

  • Legs – by holding dumbbells at shoulder level and squatting (for the thighs) or raising and lowering our heels (for the calves)
  • Chest – by pressing dumbbells upward while on a bench or ottoman
  • Back – by rowing motion while slightly bent over
  • Shoulders – by raising dumbbell laterally while standing or sitting

Here are some dumbbell options:

Light dumbbells

Medium weight dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells

RESISTANCE CORDS – can also be used to work any muscle or muscle group. Here is a brief video showing resistance cords for back development

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-iba-syn&hsimp=yhs-syn&hspart=iba&p=resistance+cord+videos#id=10&vid=7b02c48386f3ddbb4631b9964deed2c4&action=click

Here is another video to show upper body work. The cords may be easily attached to a door for stability. There is a door attachment with the sets that I will recommend.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-iba-syn&hsimp=yhs-syn&hspart=iba&p=resistance+cord+videos#id=8&vid=5ff9d7b2a071e9029a93dcb5ec74ee17&action=view

Here is a resistance cord (or band) set that has everything you need

And another choice

BULLWORKER PRODUCTS – are quite unique in that they are small and portable. There are over 100 different exercise movements, all of which are described and illustrated in the manual that accompanies their products. I used both the Steel Bow and Bow Classic. Here is the Bullworker site, with pertinent information.

CONCLUDING

I enjoy putting routines together with the equipment shown. Here is my routine for now:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday:

  • 2 sets of the Butterfly crunch abdominal exercise, 40 reps each
  • 2 sets of a calf exercise, with dumbbells at shoulder height, raising and lowering heels while standing. 30 reps each set.
  • 25 minutes on my treadmill, raising the speed each minute

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

  • Same 2 sets of Butterfly crunches mentioned above
  • Same 2 calf sets
  • 2 sets of resistance cord chest exercise (shown in video), 20 reps each set
  • 1 set of resistance cord movement for upper back (shown in video)
  • 1 set of Bullworker lat press down with Bow Classic, for upper back (sitting on floor and pushing downward from top of Bow Classic, directly engaging the latissimus dorsi muscles)
  • 2 sets of dumbbell curls, 20 reps each set for each arm
  • 2 sets of triceps “kickbacks” with resistance cords (straightening arms at elbows against resistance). Shown below.

I generally change my workouts every month or two. There are so many choices of exercise movements that boredom or burnout are not issues. I work abdominals, chest, back, biceps, triceps and calves each week, along with the cardio via my treadmill.

This has become a part of my day, as routine as brushing my teeth. And only 30 minutes of my time is taken

Please leave any comments or questions in the “Comments” box below. Or email me, richard@myworkoutathome.com.

Be well!

Richard

8 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I also prefer shorter workouts over longer ones, because I think that longer ones are more exhausting. Shorter ones can indeed be more intense and more productive. Regarding the dumbbells for biceps, what would be the ideal weight if you are just starting out?

    When you’re doing a short workout, would a 2 minute warm up be sufficient?

    • Thanks, Christine. I would recommend beginning with 5-10 lb. dumbbells for curls and then establishing what is comfortable but challenging for 8-12 reps. When 12 reps can be easily done, it is time to increase the weight. 2 minute warm – ups should suffice for short workouts. Jumping rope, jumping jacks or walking with high knee raising are good warm – ups…..Richard

  2. Hello Richard;
    I find your article motivating, I will not be very far from the specified age range and I believe that physical exercise is not of age but depends on our will, only, I will have uncertainties for certain exercises precisely with the Dumbbells, the advancing age the bone mass decreases and the load less tolerated so I will focus more on the tonic walk thank you.

  3. Well I am over 55, so you are talking to me.  I like doing push ups, not much of a Gym guy. 

    I can barely do two sit ups.  lol.  any other suggestions that do not need weights or a treadmill?

    I like the idea of going on power walks, how long should I walk for?

    Is it possible to work out too much?  Six days a week seems a lot.

    • Phil, power walks are great. At least 20 minutes, but strive for longer. 6 days per week is not a problem for me, since it is only for 30 minutes per day. 2 hour workouts 6 days per week would burn me out quickly. Big difference! Richard

  4. When you think of players like Hank Aaron, Jerry Rice, Nolan Ryan and currently Tom Brady, who were good enough past 40 to play at a professional caliber, it becomes an inspirational story indeed. I think it’s great that people workout into their 50s and there are lots of success stories out there for sure. Good for you for working out 30 minute a day that is outstanding an equally inspirational. From your list the Steel Bow and Bow Classic interest me particularly as honestly I hadn’t heard about them until now. I know a few people who will find this information as I have for sure, and I will be sharing your post with them. Great effort and I’m looking forward to reading more!

    • Thanks for your input. Bullworker provides the Steel Bow and/or Bow Classic. See the link to their site in my post. Also, include the code Hat5 for a 5% discount on any Bullworker product….Richard

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