Simple Strength Training


The older you get, the more muscle you lose. It’s a fact. But with strength (resistance) training you can improve your preparedness for life by lessening the effects of muscle loss from aging.

The key to success is to exercise frequently.
The best way to do that is to keep it simple.

Here’s how…



Aim for 10-15 repetitions of each exercise within the following areas:

Push something away from your body, like pushups or the chest press – which focus on your triceps, chest and shoulders.

Pull something by doing chin-ups or biceps curls or a rowing machine – which target the upper back, the back of the shoulders, and the biceps.

Target the legs by exercises such as knee extensions, squats, climbing stairs or jumping up and down.

Build the core with exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, or twisting motions – which focus on core muscles of the abdomen and back.



Choose a middle ground of 10-15 repetitions per exercise while limiting your strength-training sessions to 20 minutes.

Although fewer repetitions (e.g. 10 or less) with heavier weights will more greatly increase muscle mass and bone density than more reps with lighter weight, your risk of injury will be higher. Therefore a middle ground of 10-15 is a good compromise.

Also, apparently when strength-training beyond 20 minutes, the relative effectiveness starts to drop off, especially for those who are older.



To determine how much to lift – if you can breathe comfortably while lifting it for 15 repetitions, it’s probably okay. If you can do more than 15 repetitions easily, then increase the weight. If you are only breathing comfortably for the first 10, then stop there and lessen the weight. If you have to hold your breath to lift it, it’s too heavy.



Generally it’s best to strength train no more than every other day, but if you’re still sore, give yourself more time to recuperate. This is because the exercise is tearing muscle which then heals and rebuilds even more. Problems can arise if you don’t give it time to heal before continuing. Try to strength train 2-3 days a week.

Talk to your doctor before you start any strength training program.


  1. As I am now in my golden years, if you can call the 60’s golden, I thought that I would pass along a few things that I learned along the way.

    As we age some things don’t respond like they did like when we were 20. Connective tissue and joints being among them. So start slow. A few rep’s with light weights and a gradual build up works well. It avoids that hurry up and get fit soreness.

    Something to avoid at all costs is injuring the back and knees. Forget the squats and do leg presses unless you have a desire for a blown disk or knee.

    Military presses? Do those presses sitting on a bench with dumbbells.

    Like to bench press with an Olympic bar? I do. So let’s do it safely. Use the short range style. That’s where the elbows do not bend more than 90 degrees. That helps to avoid injury to the rotator cups and the surgery to fix the mess. If you put something under your feet to raise your knees, it will help to protect the back. Yoga blocks from Wal-Mart work.

    If you want ab’s it’s crunches. Sit ups pull from the knees and aren’t very effective.

    Put a few cobras in for the back muscles and strengthen that weak point.

    One thing to do is plan a time that you can consistently work out. I work out in the mornings because when I come home from work, a work out is easy to blow off.

    The first rep is the HARDEST rep.

    I’ve been working out for many years and I hope this helps you all out.

  2. I still do squats-always loved them! But I do bench squats,as taught by Jim Murray,as he shows in his books.Been doing them that way for 40 years now with no back or knee troubles.And my legs are still very strong.

  3. I did those Murray bench squats and had to have a knee replaced.
    Squats ain’t worth the risk.

  4. Tree Dude, have you ever tried prisoner squats?

    Also to the author of the article: What do you think about maximal and/or sub-maximal isometrics?

  5. Knees blown out long ago but at 55 I looked in the mirror and committed to myself to get in shape. All my arm,shoulder,chest workouts start with 5 and 10 lbs. dumb bells for 20 reps and work up from there, increasing 5 lbs at a time. Legs get attention first. seated quad extensions, can be hard on the knees so I frequently go for lighter weights and more reps. Still using the progressive method,increasing weight with sets and at the end heavier weights with less reps. Core exercises using the medicine ball have worked wonders for my waistline, and would encourage everyone to explore different exercises using the medicine ball.

  6. “Generally it’s best to strength train no more than every other day”. Very true but you should still exercise if nothing else by stretching. I lift 3-4 days a week and in-between I do cardio, stretches and yoga. I’m not a bamboo ooohhhmmmm nappy haired hippie kinda yoga guy but the exercise and breathing techniques are very good for you.
    At 54 it takes a lot more recovery time on heavy days like deadlifts. I’ve had to learn patience, not my strong suit, as I’m used to just pushing my way through things and rubbing dirt on it.

    For those into preparedness I recommend circuit training and HITT type stuff. It will make you strong and more durable for the bursts of energy when you fight, work, dealing with medical emergencies, loading the bugout vehicle etc.
    One of my favorite is inclined sit up board, squat rack, sledgehammer a tire and a overhead press for 30 second intervals and no more time to move between stations than needed.
    My second go to is a rope tied to a tire and my trailer hitch on my pickup that I flip out to the end, grab a sledge and do 20 with both left and right leading, run to the squats and do 5 then run back to the rope and pull the tire to you without stopping anywhere. 5-6 of these and you should be gassed.
    My home workout is a 40yd tire flip grab a homemade sled loaded with concrete blocks and run back grab a log and run back then grab ground fighting bag and squat it 5 times then run back. Then repeat till I can’t which varies depending on heat and the day.

    Listen to your body, talk to your Dr, push but don’t break and give what you have no matter how much or how little it is because consistency rules.

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