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How To Reverse Muscle Loss With Aging - 50 & Older (Sarcopenia)

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in March of 2023. For the original video go to


Brad: Oh wow! If you're over 50, I'm personally 60 and I'm realizing that my muscle mass is actually decreasing. It's a process called sarcopenia. It happens to everyone.

Mike: After age 65, research has shown that you can lose up to 3% of your muscle mass per year.

Brad: We are going to show you five exercises that are going to help prevent this and actually reverse it. And this is proven by research.

Mike: Studies have consistently shown that resistance training into your seventies and eighties can help retain your muscle mass.

Brad: So, resistance training includes using bands, weights, and anything that provides resistance, volume, and intensity of these exercises is absolutely key to growing your muscle size.

Mike: So, in other words, it's how many repetitions you do and how much weight or resistance you are using with each exercise.

Brad: We're going to show you some excellent exercises for this. And not only that, the formula, so you know how many reps to do and how much per week, et cetera. Okay. It's very critical that you know, like I mentioned how many repetitions and the volume, et cetera. So, on the screen, we're putting the magic formula. This is per research, so it is accurate.

Mike: So, for beginners, you're going to start with doing eight to 12 repetitions per set. You can start with eight and progress up to 12, as it becomes easier. You're going to do all the exercises, there are five of them, for a total of one set each. And you're going to do this two times per week.

Brad: Right. As you get on with this, you're going to have some sore muscles probably if you've been sedentary, that's okay. That's why we only do it two times per week. You'll get used to this and you're going to want a little bit more to build those muscles. So, you're going to progress up again, eight to 12 repetitions and then you're going to rest between sets for a minute or so. Then you're going to do three sets. So, if you're going to do curls and we'll show you this as we get into the video three sets of each, and the rest time is really important. And then you progress to two to three times per week. So, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Have a day in between so your muscles can rebuild, and your body can relax. All right, we're going to show you five exercises. Mike is going to demonstrate, and we'll talk about them so it's clear how to do them properly. And then we're going to show you five more exercises that are an advanced set. So, after you feel comfortable with the first set of exercises and you want more advanced, then we'll go through the more advanced exercises. It'll be an option.

Mike: So, the first exercise is a simple sit-to-stand. It mimics a squat, but in a safe way, especially if you are weak. So, slide your butt to the edge of the chair and you're just going to stand up and then try to control your sit on the way back down. You can certainly use your hands to start if you need the help. If you feel it's too easy, and you want to get more leg strengthening you can cross your arms over your chest and do the same thing. Go up and control it on the way down. And for even more advancement, if your shoulders are okay, you can put your hands behind your head and do the same exact thing.

Brad: Now, if you do have balance problems and you don't feel steady and you have a walker, put the walker in front of you so you have something to hold onto. If you have a walking stick or a cane, simply use that for balance. Be very safe. You should feel very comfortable, particularly with this exercise. No falls. Okay, let's go to number two. The next exercise is the old traditional curls. To start you may not need any weight at all. You may just do this open-handed for 10 to 12 reps. If you need some weight, simply grab some dumbbells. You do not have to go purchase dumbbells. You can simply use a can of soup. Mike here has a can of stress balls, like tennis balls and that works well. Good posture. Breathe while you do these. Again, you can do one arm at a time, like Mike. If you have two cans of soup, do two at a time. If you happen to have some resistance bands, it's an excellent option. Go underneath your feet like Mike is doing.

Mike: Don't lift your feet up or it'll shoot you in the legs.

Brad: Yep. So be careful. Shoes on is always the best when you're doing that type of band. Let's go to the next one, Mike.

Mike: And the third exercise is shoulder horizontal abduction. So, you're going to grab a band of sorts. I'm doing it the easy way. Brad is going to do it the harder way by folding up the band. And you're going to pull apart and bring the band to your chest and then bring it back. You do nice, slow, and controlled. We don't want to play the accordion here.

Brad: Again, this is also a good posture exercise. Think about bringing the shoulders back, and chest out. If you don't happen to have bands, you can do this without a weight, it'll be helpful. You won't get the muscle mass building that the bands have, but it's going to be helpful. We'll go to the next one which will also help your hands and wrists. The next one is hand and wrist strength as well as getting those wrists bigger. And you're going to use squish balls. Now Mike has two of them here. The red one is from a dollar store, just squishy in it. The blue one is one of our Stress Balls, like a soft tennis ball. You can simply take a rolled-up towel like this squeeze and twist it like you're ringing it out. Now you may wonder why we are working the hands because you don't care about the muscles in your hands. But it's very critical as you age, as your hands get weaker, your function actually drops, and you'll become less mobile, functional, and safe with everything you grab. So, this is probably one of the most important exercises of the five. Squeeze!

Mike: I've already done a hundred reps.

Brad: You've done a hundred? Sorry, I really felt I had to talk about that one.

Mike: And the last exercise we're going to do is plantar flex and dorsiflex. So just rocking back and forth on your toes. What do you have to add to this?

Brad: On this one in particular, if your balance is off, you need to use support. I'm using the mop. I'm going to hold it here for balance and I'm fine. If that's not solid enough, Mike is going to talk about two better positions.

Mike: You can use a solid chair. If your chair is rocking, you can certainly do the exercise at a countertop or hold onto the kitchen sink and you're going to strengthen your calves and the front of your ankle muscles.

Brad: This is very critical for your balance and walking. And you're going to get that muscle mass built up. Now if you found that all of these are too easy for you, our next set of five is challenging and the advanced mode. For the advanced mode, you will need some resistance bands. We also have some wall anchors that come in very handy. You'll see why. Again, this is advanced and you're assuming you're going to want to do this. Mike is going to also the Booyah Stik there. Again, a boomer mop handle works really well for some support. Okay, let's get on with the first squats. Go ahead, Mike.

Mike: So, the first one is squats. So just hold onto something for support. If you feel unbalanced and you're just going to simply squat down, go to where you feel safe, and then come back up. If you only feel safe doing partial range, that's fine. You can certainly have a chair behind you as well.

Brad: Now if you want a little more resistance, simply use the bands. You can hold on to the bands and squat. The higher you go, the more resistance there is. Again, eight to 10 repetitions. If you do have some wall anchors those come in handy. We can simply hook the band on the low anchor then you don't have to stand on it. Then squat down. It actually supports you. You don't fall forward because it's pulling you back. It helps your balance as well.

Mike: So, the next progression for the bicep curls is simply to use a heavier-duty band. So, I have a black band here, it's rated at 50 pounds of force, and you can just do the curls standing or seated if you need to. If you don't feel balanced. To make this even more difficult, I could spread my legs out wider, putting more resistance and tension on it. Or you can even add more bands. But Brad has a different option over there.

Brad: Right. So, I'm going to use the wall anchor. And this is a big benefit. You attach the band to the anchor there very simply, and I'm going to do my curls here. Now, if I want to make it more difficult, I simply take a step farther away and you could vary your resistance much easier this way as opposed to standing on it. So that's a nice option. And if you really feel you really want to get those biceps you can double it up and just do one at a time. This is Bob's favorite, strong like bull!

Mike: I will add, make sure the band is loose when you step off it. I broke a ceiling tile at a gym once because I didn't do that.

Brad: Oh wow. All right, the next group of exercises is very easy to do. And by the way, if you don't have any wall anchors, at the end of the video I'm going to show you something else that you can use at home as an alternative. So, you can do this seated, I'll be standing, and Mike is seated. And you'll put it in the middle anchor. And we're simply going to pull elbows back and shoulders back. This is a nice one for those shoulders. The shoulder blades as well as the arms. With this, change the resistance band or simply move back farther to add resistance. That is a big advantage of using bands when you have them attached to the wall with the anchor or whatever.

Brad: All right, now the next one you can do one of these or all three of them or two of them, but the next one is bringing your arm out to the side. We call them reverse flies. You'll probably find that you need to move in a little bit closer because your arms are not as strong when you do the reverse flies.

Mike: I feel like we're synchronized exercising here.

Brad: Yeah, there you go. And what's the third one, Mike?

Mike: The last one is going to be the chest press. So, in a chair, you’ll want to be facing away from the wall and you might want to lower anchor but I'm just going to deal with this one for now.

Brad: It'll work and with standing you simply turn around and it's very easy.

Mike: And you're just going to press forward. Kind of like you're doing a pushup, but it's a chest press. It's a little easy for me considering this is a yellow band. But press forward.

Brad: We believe you're strong like bull.

Mike: You might want to switch bands because the reverse fly, the last one we did is a lot harder than this one.

Brad: All right, and we've got one more position to work.

Mike: The last exercise is another combination of two exercises into one. So first we're going to do some seated triceps extensions. So, keep your elbow at your side as you press down. Do not bring your full arm up. That's a totally different exercise. Keep your elbows nice and stationary and just press down. Then we're going to get into a lat pull-down. For this, you're going to go out to the side and then pull down towards the side of your hips and you're going to work the lat muscle as Brad is showing. And he once again gave me the baby band.

Brad: Now if you do have some anchors, one of the beauties of them is, I just leave mine hang up there and then I have another one at the middle section. So, you don't have to keep changing them. It's very efficient and works very well. When you do purchase resistance bands, they come in a set of four or five, you get either three or four anchors. So, once it's all setup, it becomes very efficient. It becomes part of your household. People will wonder, what are you doing with these in your house? And we'll say,” Haha that's our Bob and Brad wall anchor set.” Okay, let's show you how you can do it if you don't have anchors. If you don't have wall anchors, it's very simple. You can use a doorknob, open the door, and put the band around the doorknob. You can use an arm rail if you have a stairway, simply go around the post and that will work. Not as well, but it works adequately. The other thing is, Bob used to use his bedpost. He's got one of those big California king beds anchored down, which works very well. You can use whatever works one way or another, the bands can be very beneficial.

Mike: Our sets typically come with a door lock. So, you just put this in the door and then shut the door and it'll stay put. You can put it up high, down low, or in between.

Brad: Just make sure nobody walks through the door from the other side when you're doing the exercises.

Mike: You might want to lock it.

Brad: That's a good idea. All right. Once again, the three or four Bs:

Mike: Be helpful.

Brad: Be careful.

Mike: Be happy.

Brad: And be helpful. There you go. Take care and enjoy your exercise.

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