Guidelines for Developing a Resistance Training Program: 65+ Men

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Machine Exercise

Resistance training provides many health benefits, especially for older adults. In addition to the general guidelines for selecting or designing resistance training programs for men, the following guidelines and precautions are recommended for older men who are beginning resistance training for the first time or beginning resistance training after a long layoff.


Resistance Training Program Guidelines: 65+ Men

  1. During the first 8 weeks of training, use light resistance for all exercises.
  2. Adhere strictly to proper technique. Whereas, stronger, fitter, younger men have more margin for error, older men have less margin for error when it comes to an injury (View EMG’s Exercise Videos Library).
  3. Use exercise machines as opposed to free weights. Exercise machines stabilize your body position and control the range of joint motion.
  4. Try to limit exercise sessions to approximately 20 to 30 min. Never exceed 60 minutes.
  5. Perform approximately 10 to 15 repetitions for each exercise. Don’t use a weight in which you cannot do more than 10 repetitions.
  6. Allow for at least 48 hours of rest between exercise workouts.
  7. Avoid lifting weights when you are actively experiencing joint pain of inflammation.
  8. If returning to resistance training following a layoff of more than 3 weeks, start with a resistance/weight that is 50% of the weight you were previously lifting.


Here are the Resistance Exercise Recommendations Given by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Heart Association (AHA) for 65+ Men

Population Group Frequency Intensity/No. Exercises
Men >65 yrs old 2 nonconsecutive days 10 – 15 reps per set; 5 – 10 exercises for major muscle groups

The following links provide more information.

EMG Exercise Homepage: Exercise for Men