Untrained 50 year old looking to build strength with the intention preserving muscle while aging, joining a gym soon. Will not get a PT, is looking for 'gentle' exercises. Not willing to suffer much pain. Will something build strength while being (relatively) comfortable? For example, a lower weight than usual.

Is it possible to build and maintain strength for a beginner with little discomfort?

  • While there are some good answers coming your way.. I would caution you to reconsider avoiding discomfort before you approach training. Injury prevention is not the same as discomfort of muscle soreness. In order for your body to change, you need to induce the right amount​ and type of challenges, packaged with proper rest and nutrition. Luckily, you're not the first and the knowledge on these topics is pretty good. On methods, you can even use body weight for this. I do most of the time and it has worked for me well. So, read on & fear not the small discomfort. It's part of growing pain. Jan 22, 2017 at 5:08

2 Answers 2


The answer to this question varies from person to person, but to simplify it.. The more you exercise, the more comfortable you will become.

Muscle Soreness:

  • There will be some muscle soreness if you want to build strength. Soreness is generally a good thing, because it means your muscles are rebuilding and increasing.
  • Over time, soreness will diminish. Your muscles might stop getting sore altogether (in a few weeks or months). If you don't get sore in your first week, increase the weight of your exercises until they feel challenging.
  • It may be possible to not get sore and maintain muscle if the weight is at least an occasional challenge.

Joint Pain:

  • Fewer dumbbells will reduce joint pain. Dumbbells put more stress on your joints. Machine weights and some barbell exercises will be best for you if you have joint problems.

  • For muscle growth, it is beneficial to throw in a dumbbell or barbell exercise into your routine occasionally. Muscle grows best with a variety of challenges.

Some tips:

  • Use proper form! This will greatly help you avoid injury.
  • Rest your muscle! Give the muscles you train 2-3 days to recover before you exercise with them again.
  • Have some protein within 30 minutes of a workout! This dramatically increases your muscle building potential and decreases soreness. If you live far from the gym check these out: protein powder and bottle.
  • Seafood in general can help combat muscle soreness and joint pain with omega-3 fat and selenium while providing protein to your muscle. Tuna is fine.

I hope this was insightful. Enjoy your weights!

  • 1
    Some things that you are saying are good but I really wonder why you suggest and put links of protein powders, saying random things like "tuna is fine". Also, you can't say increase the weight if you don't get sore in your first week. All these are so wrong for a beginner if he starts thinking like that on his workout.
    – wdika
    Jan 20, 2017 at 8:24
  • @wdika I would appreciate some suggestions for improvement instead of dry criticism. "..you can't say increase the weight if you don't get sore in your first week." - that is 100% opinion. "All these are so wrong for a beginner" - that is 100% opinion as well. Please don't waste my time. Give me something concrete and constructive.
    – Craig
    Jan 21, 2017 at 0:03
  • "Tuna is fine" - this is an opinion. For those reasons - Tuna Consumption "Increase the weight if you don't get sore" - this is a wrong opinion. For this light or heavy lifting and for this soreness and you can google it for more. Even if they can be true there are totally not for a beginner. I hope those are enough concrete.
    – wdika
    Jan 21, 2017 at 8:37
  • 1
    If you want to argue, do it in chat. I agree you can increase muscle without being sore, doms is not necessary for growth.
    – JohnP
    Jan 22, 2017 at 14:11
  • I am sorry but really i didn't want to argue or make long comments,i just tried to prevent @Craig from giving wrong advices, especially to a person who is learning the basics.
    – wdika
    Jan 22, 2017 at 14:25

A beginner like you, the age doesn't matter if you are starting now you are a beginner and it's not bad at all, shouldn't consider about strength if starts just now (beginner can be a person that is working out 0-2 years).

First you have to get known with the place (the gym), the machines, the dumbbells, the barbells, etc. You have to learn how to execute the exercises in the proper way and understand how a training program (split) works. Only in this way you will understand how your body responds and reacts on your workout.

Besides your training the really first thing you must schedule and define clearly is your nutrition. Only with an appropriate nutrition you will be able to build muscles and strength properly. Combined with the necessary rest.

To sum up:

  1. Make a nutrition plan based on your needs and your goals
  2. Rest
  3. Start with a beginner's workout plan (You can get adviced by the gym stuff for all of those things)

After 6-7 months and if you have hit a plateau you can move on strength training. Till then i strongly recommend you to learn the fundamentals and build a good base.

  • 2
    I have one problem with this answer. It does not answer the question. Try to incorporate an answer to his question in your post. "Is it possible to build and maintain strength for a beginner with little discomfort?" was his question and I can't find a clear answer to it. Maybe clarify that he shouldn't worry about pain?
    – Craig
    Jan 21, 2017 at 0:05
  • The answer points out the really first and basic things a beginner should consider. The fundamentals as i am saying. I am answering 100% on what he must do to build and mantain strength as a beginner. Please prove me wrong if it's not clear to you.
    – wdika
    Jan 21, 2017 at 8:41
  • For the downvote please explain me why.
    – wdika
    Jan 28, 2017 at 8:07

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