four Health Ideas for Will Smith and Males Over 50 to Get in Form


Will Smith is ready to step up action movies, and we’re here to help. The 52-year-old actor has just announced a new YouTube show that will document his post-pandemic transformation from dad to disrupted.

The older you get, the harder it can be to approach that shredded six-pack ideal. To help Smith (and anyone else over 50), Ebenezer Samuel CSCS, Fitness Director for Men’s Health, has four tips to help guide you on your fitness journey. For more training tips for older men, see the Men’s Health Guide to Exercising Over 50.

Start with mobility

Samuel says when you get back in shape after decades, your body (and your fascia, the fibrous connective tissue that is in and around your bones and muscles) will be firm and stiff. “If Smith starts doing heavy barbell squats or bench presses right away, he can move the weight, but his tissues may not allow those movements to move properly,” says Samuel.

To avoid injury, Samuel recommends loosening and lengthening the connective tissue through body weight movements and dynamic stretches. To start, try the Spiderman stretch to chest rotation: take the push-up position and step your right foot directly in front of your right hand. Raise your right hand and reach for the sky. The eyes follow him all the way. Do 3 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions on each side. Want more? Also try kitties and downward facing dogs.

Slap your back

“If Smith’s been out of the gym a lot, there’s a good chance he’s lacking back strength – and that’s the first thing he needs to build, not his I Am Legend muscles,” says Samuel. We spend a lot of time sitting these days, which leads to tight pecs, weak rhomboids, and back muscles. Strengthening this latter group of muscles will bring your shoulder blades back into a proper and safe position so that you will be successful in every exercise from the bench press to pushups to bicep curls.

Adds Samuel, “Training your back is also the shortcut to fitness success: it will instantly clean up Smith’s posture and help him get taller.” Start with rows of dumbbells: the goal is to do 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions per side two to three times a week.

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Strength over cardio

If Smith is looking to lose some body fat, he’ll be tempted to hang out on the treadmill, but that’s not his best option. “The truth is, the last thing you need to get back in shape is an endlessly repetitive cardio-style movement, whether it’s rowing, biking, or running,” advises Samuel. “Remember, after years without training, your body doesn’t move with the right mechanics, and repeating those bad mechanics over and over can lead to knee pain, back pain, and other problems.”

Smith should first rebuild his strength and perform key movements such as pushups, rows of dumbbells, deadlifts in Romania, and bodyweight squats. “This is also important because after the age of 40 sarcopenia, the age-related muscle loss in men, often sets in,” says Samuel. “You can’t make up for this muscle loss by piling up treadmill miles. You can make up for it by working hard to build and maintain muscle.”

Make friends with the Med Ball

Men over 50 like Smith also face another challenge: their bodies are no longer as explosive as they used to be, and it is important to work hard as you get older to maintain this explosive power. “To train explosive strength, you have to work with light weights and then move at high speeds,” says Samuel.

He recommends that the easiest drill Smith can do is the simple med-ball-grandma throw with a light ball. Just hold the med ball to your chest and do whatever you can to toss it as high as you can. Drop it on the floor and repeat. Do 3 sets of 3 repetitions daily to maintain and develop explosive power. Yes, it’s easy and fun – and it’s very effective too.

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