“As iron sharpens iron, so too does one man sharpen another.” - Proverbs 27:17

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Workout Routines For Men: Real Exercises for Real Guys

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

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

workout routines for men

As a “man of a certain age,” you probably want to get in shape and extend your longevity. Which is great — except when you see that many workout routines for men are designed for bodybuilders or guys in their 20s.

Being a dad doesn’t mean that you should let your health and fitness become an afterthought.

In fact, these are some of the best years to build strength and maintain your cardiovascular fitness.

This is the perfect time to put together a workout routine that promotes healthy living and improved aerobic fitness.

And strength training will build lean muscle mass and increase your calorie-burning potential, which in turn will help you shed pounds and get into the best shape of your life.

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.

Ready for some workout routines for men that will actually work for you? Keep reading!

Taking care of your body is important, but so is your mind. Here's what you need to know about men's mental health.

Top Strength Training Exercises for Men

While there are tons of different workout programs out there, some exercises have stood the test of time.

If you are serious about your gym routine, you should be sure to include these tried and true workout routines for men.

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 also the triceps and shoulders.

  • 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 three 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.

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.

  • Keep your chest up and head in a neutral position throughout the movement.
  • 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 three sets of 6-8 reps.

Watch this tutorial on deadlifting for beginners.

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 three sets of 10-12 reps.

Squats

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.

  • Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your legs about hip width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Bend the knees and continue down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Then push your heels into the ground and stand back up.
  • Repeat for three sets of 8-10 reps.

This exercise can also be done with a barbell, but utilizing dumbbells will help decrease your risk of lower back injuries.

Also, when doing this exercise, make sure that your knees don’t track over your toes as this places stress on the knees and can lead to joint pain.

Learn how to do squats without weights with the proper bodyweight squat technique.

Pull-Ups

Pull-ups may seem intimidating for the beginner, but they are one of the best upper body exercises out there and should be in everyone’s arsenal.

You can start with assisted pull-ups as you build strength. And learning the movement early on in your training will allow you to build up to eventually performing unassisted pull-ups.

The move itself is simple, and that’s another reason why it is great for the beginner.

  • Hang from a bar with your palms facing away from you at about shoulder width.
  • Pull your body up while contracting your shoulder blades together until your chest is at the height of the bar, or chin is just over the bar.
  • Then, slowly lower yourself down.
  • Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps.

Doing pull-ups trains you to use your back, shoulder, and arm muscles synergistically to really build up these upper body muscles.

If you cannot do an unassisted pull up that’s OK! There are modifications that you can start out with as you gradually build up your strength and work up to performing pull-ups on your own.

Pull up modifications include:

Pull-Up Machine

Many gyms will have a machine with a platform to rest your legs on.

The heavier weight you choose to assist you, the easier the pull up will be.

Try using this machine at first, gradually decreasing the assistance until you are able to do a pull up without any assistance

Pull-Ups with a Spotter

Have a spotter hold your legs to assist you during the movement.

Negative Pull-Ups

  • Start by standing under a pull up bar.
  • Jump up, grabbing the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.
  • Using the momentum from your jump, pull yourself upwards until your chin is above the bar.
  • Slowly lower yourself.
  • Slowly extend your arms as you inch closer to the ground.
  • Aim for 3 to 5 seconds until your arms are fully extended.
  • Let go of the bar and return to the ground.
  • Repeat for the desired reps.

Strength training for older guys requires a different approach to exercise and muscle building.

Ultimate Strength + Cardio Workout Routine For Men

The strength training exercises above are awesome go-tos that should be a staple in every guys workout routine.

To keep up your total fitness, you should also include some exercises that mix in some cardio and get your heart rate up.

You can mix in some of these high-intensity interval exercises with your strength training routine, or make it part of a separate workout later in the week.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great cardio option to burn calories in a short amount of time.

But it’s not just a cardiovascular benefit you will be getting.

HIIT involves doing intervals of an exercise at the hardest effort you can sustain for a given period of time.

You can do pretty much any exercise you choose during these intervals.

This gives you the opportunity to train multiple muscle groups so that you will build lean muscle while you simultaneously burn fat.

Research has even shown that HIIT is effective at increasing muscle size over a three week period of time.

And while you don’t want to rely solely on interval workouts to build muscle, this shows that on days when you can’t get to the gym to lift weights, HIIT is still an excellent alternative.

Here's a great workout routine for men to get you started.

Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Then move immediately to the next exercise.

Burpees

This tried and true high-intensity exercise serves double duty by working the entire body and burning a ton of calories at the same time.

A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research even found that body-weight burpees elicit higher metabolic demands than traditional strength training exercises!

  • Start in a standing position and lower your body to place your palms on the floor about shoulder width apart.
  • Kick your legs back so that you are in a push up position.
  • Do one push-up, then jump your knees back into your chest.
  • Explode up into the air for one rep.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Alternating Lunge Jumps

Jump lunges combine an amazing lower body exercise with heart pumping cardio.

  • Start in a lunge position.
  • Lower your back knee toward the ground in a lunge while keeping your front shin as vertical as possible.
  • Do not let your knee track over your toe.
  • Push explosively off the ground, jumping and switching the position of your legs while in mid-air.
  • Land in the lunge position with the opposite leg forward.
  • Repeat, switching legs on each jump.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are an awesome aerobic exercise that will also work your whole body and crush your core.

  • Start in a push up position.
  • Engage your abs as you bring your right knee to your chest and then straighten it back to the starting position.
  • Then bring your left leg to your chest and back again.
  • Repeat this as quickly as possible for the 30 seconds.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Kettlebell Swings

Another exercise that has stood the test of time are kettlebell swings.

This is an amazing full-body HIIT exercise that utilizes weights.

Plus, this will burn some serious calories while strengthening the core.

  • Hinge forward at your hips while holding a kettlebell down in front of you.
  • Bring the kettlebell between your legs, thrust your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell to about shoulder height.
  • Control the movement back down and repeat.

Spiderman Push-Ups

  • Start in a standard pushup position.
  • As you lower your body toward the floor, bring your right leg out to the side and try to touch your knee to your elbow.
  • Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg.

This HIIT bodyweight workout for fat loss can be done at home with NO equipment!

Workout Routines For Men

It doesn’t matter if you are new to working out or have been at it for years.

Trying to filter through the massive amount of different exercises and workout routines for men out there can leave you wondering where to even start.

By sticking to some basic strength and metabolic resistance exercises you can be sure to get all the best benefits of muscle building and aerobic endurance.

The exercises above have stood the test of time and should be included in any great workout routine for men.

So what are you waiting for?

Holly Smith D.O. - 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 workout routines for men.

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