Best Strength Goal for Upper Body Strength Over 50: Pullups

Pullups strong back

One of the best strength goals for upper body strength for over 50 is mastering the pullup. Because pullups use several muscles and cross several joints at once, they’re a very effective way of gaining upper body strength.

Mastering pullups take time to achieve. Even as a beginner and over 50, there are many reasons why you should consider pullups as a strength goal for your upper body. While age doesn’t stop us from getting strong, you do need to work toward achieving a pullup with adequate training.

Pullups are also a functional exercise. Starting from the dead hanging position that decompresses the spine and stretches out the shoulders, aging adults in particular, should be performing at least a minute of a ‘dead hang’ each day.

Why pullups should be a strength goal for over 50

Pullups engage muscles around the shoulder and back muscles making your shoulders and your back stronger. In fact, the ability to pull up your bodyweight in a pullup can improve your whole body strength. And we know that obtaining and maintaining body strength is vital to our health, prevent falls and keeps us agile as we mature.

Pullups create shoulder health with a stronger and more stabilized shoulder girdle. They strengthening muscles between your shoulder blades (rhomboids) weakened from slouching and bad posture and pullups go a long way in providing relief to sore shoulders.

Your arms get stronger, and your grip strength improves. Grip strength is used as an indicator of longevity.

Pullups are one of the most effective ways to strengthen and shape your back muscles, and great for the core, too! You may know that a strong core is directly related to relieving back aches and back problems. But you may not know, and you may be surprised how much core strength is involved in doing a pullup.

3 Steps to Start Training for Pullups

Pullups training

Hollow Body Hold

This is an intermediate to advance abdominal exercise. To modify, bring your legs up to the ceiling and your arms by your sides but off the floor. Practice each position for 15 second holds without lifting your back off the floor.

1) Start lying flat on your back, legs extended and arms by your sides

2) Drive your lower back to the floor. Make sure there’s no space between your low back and the floor

3) Keeping your legs together, squeeze your thighs and lift legs off the floor to a height that allows you to keep your low back on the floor.

4) Raise your head to a slight chin tuck

5) (If available) Lift your straight arms overhead, biceps by the ears

Pullups strength

Modified Push-Up

Modifying the push-up is a great way to build up strength for a full extension push-up.

1) Kneeling position with hands directly under your shoulders.

2) Walk knees back to get a planked position in your torso - straight line from shoulders to knees.

3) Engage abdominals (don’t sag in the middle)

4) With your gaze on the mat between your hands, bend your elbows to bring your chest as close to the floor as possible.

5) Press back up to start position

Arm Pulls

You can do this with a towel under your torso and hips on a smooth surface like a wood floor. Work on pulling yourself forward starting from under your armpits and working down your back using your latissimus dorsi.

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