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The Ultimate Men Over 40 Workout

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

men over 40 workout

Did Father Time creep up on you? Need to get in shape? Looking for the ultimate men over 40 workout? We've got you covered!

Remember being a kid and thinking that 40 sounded old?

Well, now that you’ve reached this age you know that these are the prime years of your life.

40 really is the new 20!

These are some of the best years to build strength, maintain your cardiovascular fitness, and improve your balance and flexibility.

A consistent exercise program promotes healthy living, improved endurance, and decreased risk of injury when performing everyday activities.

And strength training will build lean muscle mass and increase your calorie-burning potential, which in turn will help you shed pounds.

But as you get (a little bit) older, there are some physiologic changes that happen to your body that you will need to be aware of.

This will allow you to adapt your fitness program to get you the best results.

Ready to get in the best shape of your life and relive your 20s? Read on for our ultimate men over 40 workout!

Before you get started, did you know our blog is packed with great workouts? Check out some of the best ones here.

best exercise for men 40+

What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

best exercise for men 40+
The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

Maintain Muscle Mass As You Age

As men age, testosterone levels fall and lean body mass decreases, something known as sarcopenia.

But getting older doesn’t have to mean losing muscle or gaining fat.

In fact, studies have shown that men that engage in resistance exercises are actually able to maintain muscle mass.

Resistance training has been found to be important in supporting muscle growth later in life by slowing the loss of muscle mass.

In addition, there has been some evidence that high-intensity interval training can increase free testosterone levels in older males.

This all adds up to improved muscle mass and strength gains.

Therefore, combining both aspects of resistance training and high-intensity intervals is a great way to maintain muscle mass and increase strength gains later in life.

Check out the resistance, cardio, and flexibility workouts below and add them to your weekly fitness routine!

Not convinced? This video will show you how and why you should learn how to build muscle over 40!

Resistance Training Men Over 40 Workout

This full-body strength training men over 40 workout will build muscle and also increase balance and coordination with some compound moves that are incorporated into the routine.

Using dumbbells for compound exercises will make the workouts effective, efficient, and will help decrease the risk of injury.

Warm-Up

It’s essential to start out every workout with some light cardio and stretching to decrease the risk of injury and enhance your performance potential for your workout.

A warm-up should also include some dynamic stretching.

Dynamic stretching during a warm-up has been shown to increase power output when compared to static stretching and will make your workouts more effective.

Dynamic Stretches

Inchworm

  • Start on your hands and feet with your hips in the air in an inverted V position.
  • Then walk your feet as far forward as possible while keeping your legs straight.
  • Then, walk your hands out, extending your body into a plank position.
  • Then raise your hips up again into an inverted V and repeat 5 times.

Leg Swings

  • Hold on to a wall or chair.
  • Swing one leg back and forth as if you’re kicking a soccer ball.
  • Do about 10 swings with each leg.

Back and Chest Rotations

  • Start down on all fours with your knees below your hips and wrists below your shoulders.
  • Place your left fingertips behind your left ear.
  • Rotate your upper body to the left, so that your left elbow points up to the ceiling.
  • Then twist your torso back to the starting position.
  • Continue for 8 reps on the left, then switch sides and repeat on the right.

In this video, we explain how to warm up before a workout, and share with you the 3 core principles of stretching.

Main Set

Bench Press

The bench press is one of the best upper body exercises to build strength.

You will work the muscles not only in the chest, but in the triceps and shoulders as well.

  • Lie on a bench and grab a barbell with a medium width grip.
  • Lower the bar to your mid-chest.
  • Pause briefly, then press back up until your arms are straight.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
  • You can also do this exercise with dumbbells instead of a barbell.

Deadlifts

This is the ultimate compound exercise that will target your back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

  • Stand with your mid-foot under a barbell.
  • Hinge forward at your hips and grab the bar at shoulder width.
  • Bend your knees slightly until your shins touch the bar.
  • Engage your traps to take the slack out of the bar.
  • Lift the bar by using your legs and driving your hips forward.
  • Then lower back down.
  • Try to complete 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Keep your chest up and head in a neutral position throughout the movement.

You should always start with a low weight to reduce the risk of injury.

Trying to lift too much weight with this exercise will increase your risk of injury.

Bicep Curls

To build the muscles in the arms, bicep curls are an essential exercise to round out the upper body and increase functional strength.

  • Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms hanging by your sides.
  • Curl the weights up to shoulder level while contracting your biceps.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Learn how to do dumbbell bicep curls and get bigger arms fast!

Bent Over Rows to Tricep Kickbacks

  • Stand upright, hinge forward, and bend your knees slightly while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lift the dumbbells straight up to chest level, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top.
  • Then kick back your arms behind you by squeezing your triceps.
  • Next, bend your elbows to return the weights to your chest.
  • Lower the weights by extending your arms to return to the starting position.
  • Complete for a total of 10 reps for 3 sets.

Dumbbell Squats to Overhead Press

Squats are an excellent functional exercise that builds leg and core strength.

The squat movement is used in many daily activities as well, making it an essential exercise to include in any workout program.

By adding an overhead shoulder press, this compound movement

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  • Your palms should be facing each other and the elbows pointed forward.
  • Squat down, pause briefly, then stand back up.
  • Then press the weights overhead.
  • Bring the weights back down to shoulder height and repeat.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Ab Wheel Roll Out

The ab wheel rollout is great to work your rectus abdominus muscles along with the deeper transverse abdominus muscles.

Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

This ab roller tutorial will teach you how to do an ab rollout correctly, maximizing your reps and keeping your back healthy.

Cool Down

Cool down with some static stretches that focus on both the upper and lower body.

Glutes Stretch

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Bend your left leg while keeping your right foot flat on the floor.
  • Cross your left leg over your right thigh.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides.
  • You can pull your legs in for a deeper stretch.

Quadriceps Stretch

  • Stand upright and hold onto a door or chair for support.
  • Grab your left foot with your left hand and pull your heel up towards your butt.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides.

Arm/Shoulder Stretch

  • Stretch your right arm across your body while pulling into your body with your left arm.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

Triceps Stretch

  • Raise your arms overhead and bend your left elbow.
  • Use your right hand to pull your left elbow behind your head.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

Core Stretch

  • Lie on your stomach and press up while keeping your legs on the floor.
  • You should feel this stretch in your abs and hip flexors as you lean back.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Want to take your strength training even further? Check out Old School Muscle (OSM), the proven lean muscle-building program for men over 40 that blends cutting-edge muscle-building science with time-tested “old school” strength training principles.

High-Intensity Cardio Men Over 40 Workout

You should try to devote at least one day a week to cardio, and more if you have the opportunity.

High-intensity interval workouts are great, especially if you are crunched for time.

You can burn serious calories and build strength with these sessions.

Make sure that you really push the intensity to get the most out of this cardio men over 40 workout.

Start with a short 3-5 minute warm-up with dynamic stretches as above to get your body ready for the workout, and then jump into the main set.

Perform each movement for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds.

After finishing the circuit, rest for one full minute, then repeat.

If you have time, add a third circuit after finishing the second set.

  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jump Rope
  • Jump Squats
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Jumping Jacks
  • High Knees
  • Burpees with Push Up

Cool Down/Stretch

After combined cardio and resistance workouts like the one above, be sure to cool down and stretch.

This will help to limit some of the post-workout soreness and tightness that can often follow a tough routine.

After finishing the workout, do a light jog or walk.

You can do this on the treadmill, or just walk for 3-5 minutes around the gym.

This will aid in reducing lactic acid build-up and will bring your heart rate back down to its resting rate.

Then you can add in some of the static stretches that were included in the strength training routine.

This video will teach you ways that you can do LISS and HIIT cardio workouts at home.

Balance/Flexibility Routine For Men Over 40

The ultimate workout plan for men over 40 requires more than just strength and cardio training.

Stretching and balance exercises are just as important to maintain healthy muscles and connective tissue and reduce your risk for injuries.

Forward Fold

  • Hinge forward at your hips as you bend forward and bring your head towards the ground.
  • Hold for 5 breaths, then hinge at the hips to come back to the standing position.

Cow-Cat Stretch

  • Begin on your hands and knees.
  • Inhale and lift your hips upward.
  • Press your chest forward and allow your belly to sink.
  • Lift your head and relax your shoulders away from your ears.
  • This is known as the cow pose.
  • Then, to come into cat pose, round your spine and tuck in your tailbone while bringing your head toward the floor.
  • Continue to alternate cow and cat pose 5 times for each.

Warrior Pose

  • Stand upright and step your right foot forward about four feet.
  • With your foot parallel and toes pointing forward, bend your right knee into a lunge.
  • Keep your left leg straight behind you and turn your left heel in at approximately 45 degrees.
  • Raise your arms straight above your head.
  • Lift your chin up to look at your hands overhead.
  • Hold this pose for 5 deep breaths, and then repeat on the left side.

Tree Pose

  • Stand upright and shift your weight into your right foot while lifting your left foot off the floor.
  • Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your inner right thigh.
  • Take 5 to 10 breaths, then lower your left foot to the floor and repeat on the other side.

The 5 Tibetan Rites yoga routine was created by Tibetan monks to increase youth and vitality. Learn how to do it in this video!

Cobra Stretch

  • Lie face down, with your hands by your shoulders as if you were doing a pushup.
  • Push your torso up as far as possible or until your hips begin to come off the floor.
  • Hold for 5 deep breaths then lower back down.
  • Repeat 1-2 more times.

Chair Pose

  • Begin with your feet about hip-distance apart.
  • Bring your arms overhead with your palms facing one another and bend your knees, as if you are sitting on a chair.
  • Bring your thighs as close to parallel with the floor.
  • Hold the pose for five deep breaths.
  • To come out of the pose, straighten your legs and bring your arms to your sides.

Downward Dog

  • Start in a plank position.
  • Bring your hips up into the air so that your body is in an inverted V position.
  • Try to keep your heels as close to the ground as possible.
  • Hold for 5 full breaths.
  • Come back into a plank position.
  • Then repeat 1-2 times.

Child’s Pose

  • Come onto your hands and knees.
  • Bring your body to the ground with your stomach between your thighs and your forehead to the floor.
  • Stretch your arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor.
  • Stay as long as you like, but for at least 5 full breaths.

Some guys may feel that these types of workouts aren’t necessary or won’t help with strength gains.

However, balance exercises and stretching are essential to increase flexibility, improve coordination, and increase your range of motion.

A study done in male division II athletes found that a 10-week yoga program increased the flexibility and balance as well as whole-body measures of these male college athletes.

So if it’s good enough for college athletes, it’s definitely something worth trying!

Still need more? Learn how to set up a home workout schedule that works for YOU!

Staying Fit After 40

These workouts are an excellent way to target all the major muscle groups while also adding in some cardio and flexibility training.

With the strength moves, you will target the core, back, shoulders, arms, and legs.

By adding a cardio day, you will be sure to improve your conditioning and cardiovascular fitness.

The warm-up and cool-down stretches will decrease your risk of injury and increase your flexibility.

Plus, a proper cool down will help attenuate delayed onset muscle soreness and will have you better prepared for your next workout.

Try this FREE Fit Father workout to get started today!

By combining exercise routines, nutrition, and community support, the Fit Father Project will have you well on the way to being in the best shape of your life.

Aging is inevitable, but poor physical fitness definitely is not.

If anything, maintaining your health is even more important in men over 40.

This is the time to take control of your fitness and set a great example for your kids and family.

It is never too late and you are never too old to become the healthiest and fittest version of yourself!

Holly Smith

Holly Smith M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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*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 the ultimate men over 40 workout.

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