The best hypertrophy split over 50 (Bodybuilding after 50)


The best hypertrophy split over 50

What is the best hypertrophy split for the over 50?

The best bodybuilding split for hypertrophy when you are over 50 includes frequent training sessions, progressive overload and compound movements. 

Using heavy, compound exercises will help to boost our natural testosterone levels and promote natural growth. 

A lot of lifters get to 50 and feel an urge to side-swerve the weight room and head for a treadmill. All of a sudden, muscle mass starts to take a back seat to functional fitness and cardiovascular health. 

Whilst these are still important, there are still years of gains that can be achieved from weight training. Not to mention the physical and mental health benefits that go hand in hand with the bodybuilding lifestyle. 

Be under no illusion. The older we get, the harder it is to gain and maintain muscle mass but it is still possible by simply adjusting your approach. 

Bro splits and dirty bulking aren't going to cut it anymore. We need to focus on training intensity, training frequency and optimal recovery. 

This program will provide you with the best, scientifically backed, hypertrophy training plan, a testosterone increasing diet strategy and guidance on supplementation to get the best from bodybuilding in your 50s.

New to bodybuilding at 50?

If you are new to weight training, start with a beginner program that will give you a good base and instil strict form. 

Once completes, progress on to this training program and follow the training split, nutritional advice and supplement guidance. 

You do not need to be an advanced lifter to follow this hypertrophy training plan. As long as you know your way around the gym and know how to perform the lifts with good form, you are good to go. 

Just be aware, that things are going to get harder now as your body will find protein synthesis much harder. This is due to decreasing testosterone and the reduction in IGF-1 growth hormone. 

We have to supplement this by training with lighter weights but more frequently in addition to increasing our protein intake. 

Many bodybuilders train well into their 50s and beyond. If your health allows, there are still gains to be made by adapting your lifestyle and changing the way you think about hypertrophy. 

Why is hypertrophy harder when you reach 50?

As we age, testosterone levels in our body significantly drop making it much harder to gain muscle mass. On average, the age of 43 seems to be the turning point in which our body goes from a growing organism to a deteriorating organism. 

If you are over 50, there are ways that you can naturally increase testosterone making it easier to achieve muscle hypertrophy. 

If we do nothing, our cells gradually deteriorate and our muscle mass will gradually decline. We can counter this decline and even increase our muscle mass by following some simple steps.
  1. Regular weight training. Activating the muscles at least twice per week so that they continue t adapt. 
  2. Increasing our protein intake. The normal advice is 1g per lb of lean body weight. As we are getting older and finding protein synthesis harder, it is advisable to increase this to 1.3g-1.5g per lb of lean bodyweight. This can be done by supplementing our diet with protein shakes and protein isolate drinks as this is the easiest to digest and absorb. You can find your lean body weight by subtracting your body fat percentage from your overall weight. If your lean body weight is 150lbs, you will need to aim for 195-225g of protein per day.
  3. Eat a high quality, clean diet. Try to incorporate lean meats and plenty of oily fish. Healthy fats from avocado, olive oil and nuts are going to assist with recovery, joint care and brain function. 
  4. Supplement your diet with a good multivitamin, fish oils and a digestive enzyme.  These are essential for maintaining joint health, heart health, brain health and organ health.

Assisted hypertrophy when you are over 50.


Some people see demonise the use of steroids and consider it a form of cheating. If we are being honest, we know that all elite bodybuilders competing in non-tested competitions are cycling steroids. 

Their sponsors will not allow them to admit it whilst they are competing but they usually open up about it in retirement. It is considered acceptable in the industry and steroids can be safe when used correctly under medical supervision. 

There is still a small issue of side effects and the big financial cost that comes with them. 
Elite bodybuilders that are taking PEDs can usually get away with working out each body part once per week as their body stays in a relatively permanent anabolic state. 

These are the programs that they push in magazines and on bodybuilding websites but unless you are taking steroids, they are not as beneficial as higher frequency training splits. 

These programs are usually just a way to promote supplements on behalf of their sponsors. 

This hypertrophy program for the over 50s is aimed at the natural trainer that is not using any PED's. We will look at natural ways of forcing our body to produce more testosterone along with higher frequency training methods for muscle growth. 

How can we increase our testosterone levels? 

The easiest way is to have testosterone replacement therapy. Your doctor will usually only prescribe this if your testosterone levels are abnormally low and affecting your lifestyle. 

Some side effects and dangers come with TRT including heart failure and infertility. If this is a route that you wish to explore, make sure that you have done a lot of research, are using a reputable clinic and are aware of the risks involved. 

If you have any pre-existing heart o respiratory conditions, it is unlikely that you will be eligible. 

We can force our body to produce more testosterone which will, in time, increase our testosterone levels. 
  • Perform regular compound lifts with heavy weights
  • Eat a clean diet rich in greens and healthy fats - 
  • Lead an active lifestyle
  • Keep our body fat levels at between 12-16%
Over the counter, testosterone tablets are usually a waste of money. You just have to read the reviews on any of the products listed on Amazon and they will you all that you need to know. 
Testosterone in the over 40

Why do our testosterone levels differ?
  • Nutrition - Regularly eating refined sugars and trans fats will cause a decline in testosterone
  • Genetics - Some people are just born with naturally higher testosterone levels.
  • Lifestyle - Keeping active and regular, heavy lifting encourages testosterone production
  • Weight - Testosterone decline is commonly linked to obesity
  • Age - Testosterone decline is natural and happens to everybody as they get older

the best bodybuilding split for the over 40

What can I do to increase my testosterone levels naturally?

A good diet, watching your body fat percentage and leading a healthy lifestyle will help with testosterone levels as you get older. Training regularly with heavy compound movements such as deadlifts and squats will promote natural testosterone production.

We can encourage the body to produce more testosterone by lifting heavy weights regularly. 

Scientists have proven that heavy compound lifts like deadlifts put a strain on the central nervous system. this forces the body to produce more testosterone. 

This is a temporary boost in testosterone that lasts for less than an hour but, over time, it will lead to overall higher levels of testosterone in your body. 

These higher levels of testosterone will assist with hypertrophy and muscle repair after working out. 

For this reason, we will be starting the majority of our workouts with at least one big compound lift. This will be a heavy lift with low reps that must be performed to absolute failure. 

This is going to be the biggest and heaviest lift of your workout and may leave you feeling fatigued for the rest of your exercises. Take a good intra-workout supplement with you and have a short break before starting on your accessory lifts. 

As mentioned previously, diet is going to be key in enhancing our testosterone levels and boosting hypertrophy.

If you want a proven, scientifically-backed diet plan that will help you to achieve higher testosterone naturally, click this link. The book is called The Man Diet and is full of great information and recipe ideas. It will change the way that you think about food and is only $19 when purchased through us. 

Hypertrophy for the over 50's - Eating plan

The eating plan for this workout split is relatively simple. Eating clean is going to be key. Plenty of lean meats, oily fish, vegetables, fruit and whole grains. 

Avoid processed foods with refined sugar and takeaways high in trans fats. Allow yourself one cheat meal a week to shock your metabolism and give you a psychological boost. 

Keep an eye on the calories when you reach 50.

Once you know your calorie maintenance levels and goals you can estimate the number of calories required. 

Use a fitness tracking app to find out your estimated maintenance level and to keep track of the foods that you eat. A good tracking app will monitor your calories, protein intake, carb intake, fat intake and even your water intake. 

MyFitnessPal is the most popular option for tracking food. It has a large database of foods from around the world with calories and macros already programmed in. 

If you enter your age, height, weight, body fat % and activity levels, it will let you know your recommended calories for maintenance. 

What you do with this number s going to depend on whether you are skinny and looking to gain lean mass or if you are obese and trying to transform. 

 Over 50 and looking to gain muscle mass?

If you are over 50, skinny and looking to add some lean muscle mass, you will need to make sure that you are in a calorie surplus each day. 

Try to shoot for 30% over your maintenance calorie levels. If you gain body fat, drop the surplus down, if you are not making good gains and are fatigued all of the time, increase the calories. 

Make sure that these calories come from clean food sources and avoid using bulking protein powders where possible. As you will be eating a lot of protein, take a daily digestive enzyme to take some of the pressure off of your digestive system. 

Over 50 and looking to lose body fat?

It is too easy to have excess body fat as we get older. We feel less like moving around and our body wants to start storing excess calories instead of discharging them. 

By simply eating clean, being active and regularly lifting, the calories will take care of themselves but monitoring them can be beneficial. 

Initially, drop your calories by 30% from your maintenance numbers. After a couple of weeks, if you are not noticing a difference, you can drop them a little more. 

Make sure that you are eating enough to maintain your training and recovery. If you are feeling tired and fatigued all of the time, add in a few more calories. 

Avoid using the scales as a measure as you are adding lean body mass to your overall weight. Use callipers, a body-fat measurement machine or just the mirror. 

Finally, do not listen to the myth 'you can not gain muscle whilst in calorie deficit' This is true if you already have a low body fat percentage and many people just repeat this as if it applies to everybody. 

If you have body fat of more than 18%, it is totally possible to build muscle at the same time as losing body fat. Your body will naturally draw on your food intake to repair your muscles and draw on fat stores for day-to-day energy. 

Bodybuilding supplements for the bodybuilder over 50. 

Supplements are fairly essential for bodybuilding especially as we get older and need assistance with recovery and energy levels. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet with lots of protein, fruit, vegetables and fruit, you do not need to take various pills throughout the day. 

Some supplements will help you though:

Protein - We like to think that we can get all of our protein from food but over time, this becomes harder and harder. Eating plain chicken or fish can quickly become boring regardless of how dedicated you are. 

Having protein powder or a protein isolate drink is a quick, refreshing way to get some fast-acting protein into your body. This is especially beneficial after lifting weights. 

Whey protein is absorbed quickly into your bloodstream and starts muscle repair extremely quickly.

Buying whey protein is a bit of a minefield. There are countless suppliers and most of them will use gimmicky names or advertising to get you to pay over the odds.  MyProtein produces a simple, clean and effective whey protein at a very competitive price. there are tens of flavours to choose from. 

Click on the image below to view the full range and prices. 

Myprotein whey

You might struggle to digest whey protein if you are lactose intolerant. If that is the case, take a look at whey isolate. The clear whey isolate drink from AMFIT is our top-rated clear whey protein as it mixes well, is low in calories and tastes great. Click on the image below for the latest prices.

Amfit clear whey
Multivitamins. Multivitamins have several benefits including increased energy, heart health, joint health and brain function. several cheap multivitamins on the market are made up of fillers and generally, go from your stomach and straight out into your urine. 

Pay a little bit extra for good quality, slow-release vitamin. Check reviews and make sure you are getting the best value for money. We recommend Alphamen as it is reasonably priced and very effective. 

Alpha men
Fish Oils. If you are eating plenty of oily fish at least every other day and regularly eat olive oils and nuts, you do not need to worry too much about this one. If your diet does not contain a lot of oily fish, take a fish oil supplement once a day. 

This will help with joint mobility, brain function, heart health and energy levels. 

The best hypertrophy workout split over 50.

This is a five day per week training split with two active rest days. Use these rest days for walking, swimming, cycling or any other active pastimes. Avoid heavy lifting or resistance training if possible. 

This workout plan focuses on high frequency for fast-twitch muscle groups, lower frequency for slow-twitch muscles and heavy compound movements for testosterone release. 

These disciplines along with the nutritional and supplement guidance above will give us the best hypertrophy training program for bodybuilders over the age of 50. 

For more information on the exercise frequency of muscles with different fibre dominance, have a read of our HyperGrowth workout plan where we look at this in detail. It is a scientifically backed and proven method for obtaining maximum hypertrophy. 

Exercises in this workout plan can be substituted to suit your equipment availability or mobility requirements. Make an effort to keep the compound lifts or a similar variation in place to trigger testosterone release. 

Your muscles are going to be getting activated frequently with this training split so the number of sets per muscle group each day will be lower than a traditional split. 

You will not get the chest or leg pump that you get with a regular PPL or upper/lower split but the hypertrophy results will be much better. 

There is the added bonus of no dedicated leg day. This means that your leg exercises are split over the week and you do not have to hobble about for a few days after a heavy leg session. 

The best hypertrophy split over 50

Day 1 

Hack Squat                               5x5reps
Standing calf raises                 4x15 on each leg
Dips                                          3x12
Dumbbell lateral raises (sset)   3x10
Close grip rope curls                2x drop set 10,10,10

Day 2 - Pull

Deadlift                                    5x5 reps
Lat machine pulldown             3x8 reps
Rope face pulls                        4x12 reps
Cable shrugs                            3x12 reps (Squeeze traps at the top of each rep)
EZ Bar bicep curls                   3x12 reps
Crunches                                  5x18 reps

Day 3 - Push

Front squat                               4x8reps
Chest press                    4x8-10 reps
Pec dec flyes                            3x8 reps (8-second negatives)
Seated shoulder press              4x8 reps
Tricep overhead extensions     3x10 reps
Seated calf press                      3x12 reps
Hanging leg raises                   4x10 reps

Day 4 - Pull

Stiff legged deadlift                4x8 reps
Pull-ups (narrow grip)            4x8 reps
Upright rows                          3x9 reps
Dumbbell shrugs                    4x12 reps
Hammer curls                         3x12 reps
Crunches                                 4x15 reps

Day 5 - Hypertrophy

Leg extension                         4x8 reps
Leg curl                                  3x12 reps
Hip abductions                       3x12 reps
Chest dips                               3x12 reps
Standing calf press                 4x15 reps on each leg
Leg raises                               4x10 reps
Preacher curl                          3x10 (slow negative reps)
Tricep rope extension (FST7) 7x10-12 (20-second max rest between sets for stretching muscle)

Complete 10-12 cycles of this program before taking a week off to de-load and recover. 

We hope that you enjoy this program and the results that come with it. Please comment below to let us know how you are getting on with the best hypertrophy split over 50 along with progress pictures. 

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