Hey man, looking for support on building muscle after 40? Perfect! You've found the right place. This web page is going to walk you through step-by-step everything you need to know as a man on how to build muscle when you are in your 40s or 50s. Watch this video below to get started.
There's a science to rebuilding lean mass and strength as your body ages. And on the rest of this page, we'll cover those principles on how to build muscle when you are over 40. I'll also give you resources to help you start seeing fast results. -Dr. Anthony Balduzzi, Founder, The Fit Father Project
As we go through the principles on this page, I also recommend you check out our “Free 5 Essential Muscle Building Exercises For Guys 40+” video that covers the 5 must-do muscle builders that you need in your routine – plus how to do them safely for aging shoulders, knees, and low-backs.
First, here are some key “muscle facts” you need to know as a man 40+:
Fact #1: Sarcopenia (age related muscle loss) starts happening around 40.
You'll notice both decreased muscle size around your arms, chest (*cough man boobs), and legs. This decreased muscle size corresponds to LESS strength AND a decreased metabolic rate. Put more plainly, lower muscle mass = lower metabolism = more fat. This is a BAD scenario. This degenerative process will tear down your muscles – unless you are training and supplementing properly.
Here's your solution: 3x/week full body resistance training. NOT split workouts like “chest/shoulders” or “back/bis.” I'm talking about FULL BODY strength training involving the biggest “bang for your buck” exercises that simultaneously involve all your major muscle groups. Doing too many sets per body part can damage your muscles, impair your recovery, and make muscle loss worse. And as a guy over 40, your metabolic capacity to recover from workouts is decreased.
That's why it's optimal for you to follow “Old School” training principles – 3x/week full body workouts – which incorporate the PROPER number of sets and frequency of training sessions to maximize muscle building and recovery. In fact, new research just showed that 3x/week full body training helped guys build MORE MUSCLE than split “chest/shoulder/tris” “back/bis” routines (the research).
Starting a 3x/week Full Body Training routine is Step #1 of how to build muscle when you are over 40.
During your full-body workouts, you need to make sure you are doing the most-effective “bang for your buck” muscle building exercises that are also SAFE for aging shoulders, knees, and low-backs.
Fact #2: There is an optimal number of sets per body part PER WEEK for guys over 40.
Remember: lifting weights does not directly build muscle. Weightlifting simply creates a STIMULUS for growth inside of your muscles through micro-trauma. Your body then recovers and builds muscle outside of the gym.
So we want to create the OPTIMAL GROWTH STIMULUS by using the proper number of sets per body part – without impairing your recovery. See the graph on the left…
And once we've hit the proper growth stimulus for each body part with the proper number of sets, it is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to continue doing more sets.
Think of muscle building like hitting the button for an elevator Once the stimulus (button) is pressed, pushing the elevator button repeatedly is NOT helping it get there any faster.
Large muscle groups can handle more sets for optimal stimulus. They also take longer to recovery. Smaller muscle groups require fewer sets; they recover faster.
As a general rule of thumb, here are the optimal number of sets PER BODY PART per week for you as a guy over 40:
- Chest: 9-11 sets
- Back: 12-14
- Legs: 12-14
- Shoulders: 6-9
- Arms: 6-9
NO MORE marathon 15-20 set chest/shoulders/tris sessions. That's simply counter-productive. Remember: adding more sets past the optimal point of muscle stimulus is simply impairing your ability to recover.
Remember! Stimulus = potential for growth. So each workout, we want to create the optimal stimulus IN ALL BODY PARTS. And then let the body recover in between sessions.
Get to the gym. Execute the most “bang for your buck” exercises for the proper number of sets. Then, rest between sessions. That's Step #2 of how to build muscle when you are over 40.
Also, workout Frequency = the number of times you stimulate each body part to grow each week. We want to create these growth stimuli frequently throughout the week. So, to synthesize all of that information…
Here's your solution: hitting each body part 2-3x/week (with the optimal number of sets) is usually most productive. Again, full body workouts are the best way to accomplish this based on both 1) optimal sets per body part 2) optimal frequency 3) maximizing time-efficiency 4) optimal recovery
See the graph on the right for an optimal schedule.
Fact #3: Nutrition is AS IMPORTANT for muscle growth as exercise.
If your nutrition plan is garbage, you will never see the muscle building results you want. You need to be eating the RIGHT AMOUNT OF FOOD – enough high-quality calories to stimulate muscle recovery and growth – without getting fat.
Also, there are 4 KEY SUPPLEMENTS that all guys over 40 need to be taking to maximize muscle growth (creatine, whey/casein blend, Vitamin D3, and a quality age-specific multi-vitamin).
If you'd like to discover exactly what to eat to build muscle (without putting on fat) and get a fully done-for-you muscle building supplement plan, then I recommend you download and watch our “Free 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises Video.”
In that video, we also cover both the exact muscle building meal plan and the best (safe) muscle building supplements in the Fit Father Project's Old School Muscle 8-Week Muscle Building Program. You don't need to go overboard with supplements.
Quite frankly, most of those “test-boosters” and intra-workout powders are a big waste of money. HOWEVER… NOT SUPPLEMENTING with the “Core 4 Research Proven Muscle Building Supplements” will hold you back from the muscle gains you crave. Proper nutrition and supplementation is the final aspect of how to build muscle when you are over 40.
Now, if you're ready to start seeing the fastest muscle building results of your life…
And if you're interested in testing out this new research and these proven muscle building principles yourself in the form of a comprehensive step-by-step workout and eating program, I want to invite you to test drive our Fit Father “Old School Muscle” 8-week workout program for a full 60 days, 100% risk-free.
The Old School Muscle Program includes a full meal plan, 8-weeks of scientifically proven muscle building workouts for you as a guy over 40, and over $200 in bonus resources (fat burning workouts, healing pain guides, & much more).
You can test out this workout 100% risk-free. It's super simple, click the link below. Fill out the secure order form, and you'll get instant access to the entire program. Within 30 minutes of reading, you'll know exactly what to do to start maximizing your workouts for fast muscle building this week.
And if you're not in love with the program FOR ANY REASON, send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we'll get you a prompt and full refund. No questions asked.
I hope this helps!
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on building muscle after 40.