Age-Proof Your Muscles

2 minute read

Women have been told for decades to take care of their bones as they age, but men have new reason to follow suit. A study from the International Osteoporosis Foundation reveals that a third of all hip fractures occur in men–who are twice as likely as women to die afterward. Muscle mass, which helps strengthen and support bones, dwindles naturally as the body ages. The upside is that muscles can come back, says John P. Porcari, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Porcari, who has studied fitness extensively, recommends these six simple moves.


Fifty to 60 percent of men will get shoulder injuries in their lifetime, Porcari says. Prevent injuries by building strength. His group’s recent study found that the dumbbell shoulder press was the No. 1 move for working the front part of the shoulders.


Upper-body strength is often the first to go as we age, Porcari says. But a study he worked on this year, commissioned by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), found that concentration curls are best for building the biceps.


Left alone, pectoral muscles will sink with age, but you can chisel them back with the humble push-up. “You’ll get a better physique and better muscle mass,” Porcari says. Start with wall push-ups, then move to knees, then to fully extended push-ups.


A 2013 ACE-sponsored study found that kettlebell classes led to 70% more core strength than training without them. If you prefer to forgo equipment, an April study found that the traditional crunch activated more muscle than any ab device tested.


Build thigh and backside mass, which tends to sag as you age, with lunges (ideally done with a dumbbell in each hand). Lunges work the hamstrings and gluteus medius more than squats, a recent study found.



Men tend to be less flexible than women and carry more abdominal weight, which can strain the lower back. Support your spine with the 15-second superman.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Mandy Oaklander at