Effective Methods of Building Muscle After 40

| August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Your lifestyle changes with age. While your wisdom and portal of knowledge increases, the strength and agility of your body decreases. Because of this, you will need to adjust your exercise routine to match what your body needs the most.

This is why men and women over 40 should create a workout routine for themselves that has an emphasis on careful, calculated movements. You want to work with your body and give yourself enough time to rest and recover between workouts. This doesn’t mean that you need to baby yourself; you just need to be more intentional in what you are doing. Here, we will talk about some safe ways that men over 40 can effectively gain muscle and stay in great shape.

Warming Up

If you already have a warmup routine down pat, stick with it. The point here is that you do warmup and don’t skip out on giving your body an opportunity to prepare itself for your workout. You want to increase your blood flow, warm up your body temperature, and increase your heart rate before getting started. You will then want to do a specific warmup for each exercise you are doing. This may be a few light reps of the movement to perfect your form or a full comprehensive mobility routine.


You will need some tools to complete a proper workout. A set of dumbbells, barbells, flat and incline benches, leg press, squat rack, cable tower and kettlebells, to name a few.

You will want to use your equipment to train three times each week. Remember, it is important to give yourself a full day of rest between your days of exercise. In this routine we will be using static weight, referred to as the “sets across” method for your weights, which means you will be using the same amount of weight for all of your sets. With this method, you won’t increase the amount of weight that you’re using until you do all of the reps on each set.

So for example, say you’re starting off with three sets of eight reps. After your warmup set, you choose a weight that you think you can lift 10 times. You complete your eight reps with ease, and could have kept going until you hit 10. For your next set, you also complete eight reps, however, you’re getting tired near the end. On the last set, you can only finish seven reps.

The next week, you use the same amount of weight for your sets, aiming to get eight good reps on each set and finishing out feeling like you could do a few more. If this is the case, it means you’re ready to increase your weight by 2.5 to five percent for the next week.

If you’re not using the “sets across” method, you can increase the amount of weight that you use on subsequent sets if the weights you use at first are too light and you completed your reps with ease. You will know that you’re ready to increase the weight when you are exceeding your range by two or three reps on every set. So if your exercise instructs you to complete two sets of 10 to 12 reps and you are finishing up doing 15 reps, you can use a heavier weight next time.


For resting guidelines, the first thing to remember is to not begin a new set when you’re still trying to catch your breath from the last set. You want to be at full strength every time you pick up your weights.

Alternatively, if you feel like you could do all of your sets in a row without taking a break, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. Perhaps your weights are not heavy enough, or you’re doing the exercise wrong and you’re not challenging your targeted muscles.

Some exercises that you can do after 40 to increase your muscle mass and strength include:

  • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
  • Seated Cable Row
  • Dumbbell Curl
  • Dumbbell Incline Triceps Extension
  • Goblet Squat
  • Lying Leg Curl
  • Plank
  • Trap Bar Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Split Squat
  • Dumbbell Bench Press with Neutral Grip
  • Dumbbell One-Arm Row
  • Lateral Raise
  • Dumbbell Rear-Delt Raise
  • Standing Calf Raise
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Cable Fly
  • Rope Hammer Curl
  • Rope Pressdown
  • Leg Press

Make sure that you are staying hydrated when you are working out so your muscles have the mobility to stretch as needed and are able to recover properly.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call 619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp.

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