Workout Routine for Men over 40 – Get Fit Again

Author: Lee Bell

February 12th 2018

Strength training when you’re over 40 is the gateway to better health, vitality and physical performance. 

If you’re over 40 and here to get fit, drop body fat and feel better about the way you look and feel, this is the workout routine for you.

The modern man at 40 is strong, fit, lean and athletic. He doesn’t lay down and use age as an excuse to let his physique deteriorate.

There are plenty of men who are wearing their youthful bodies like badges of honor -in all their muscular glory. And you can do the same with this muscle building over 40 workout routine.

Just just add years to your life. Add ageless aesthetics too.

What does this program cover?

Goal:Increase strength and build muscle
Aimed at:Guys over 40
Program duration:10-12 weeks
Workout duration:45-60 minutes
Equipment needed:Barbell, dumbbell, resistance machines

Building Muscle When You’re over 40

Visit any of the thousands of gyms in America and you’ll see the same thing. Guys over 40 mixing it up with the young imitators.

In fact, not even mixing it up; ruling the gym floor.

They use their knowledge, experience and maturity to shake off the fluff and train with intelligence and efficiency, all underlined by hunger and ferocity.

It’s easy to use cliché phrases like “age is just a number” or “40 is the new 30”.

But it’s true.

Just because you reach a certain age doesn’t mean you have to ease your foot off the gas, or completely re-map the way you hit the gym.

Okay, there are a few things you might need to consider when planning your workouts. Maybe those niggles and aches are starting get the better of you, or your fitness isn’t quite what it used to be.

But you’ve got plenty of fight in you yet.

With the right gym workout routine you can break through the barriers and discover a new you – no matter how old you are.

This isn’t a walk in the park workout routine

Don’t expect this workout guide to give you an easy approach to fitness. If you’re after a gentle bubble-wrap program you’re in the wrong place.

That’s not how great physiques are made.

In this workout you’ll be training harder than ever. It’s a routine for warriors.

Over 40 fitness – what concerns you the most?

You might be here because you just can’t shift your belly fat or weight on the scales. Or you want to build broader shoulders and thicker arms. You want to get fit again and love the bod you’r in.

This gym workout routine is a catch-all workout plan, specially designed by our top coaches, trainers and conditioning experts for any man over 40 wanting to improve their life.

Here’s what you’ll achieve with this muscle building, strength increasing fitness program:

  • Improve lean mass and ramp up maximal strength
  • Training clever to decrease bod fat and elevate fitness levels
  • Gain confidence in your abilities and reclaim your youth and vigor

Over 40 Weight Training Routine

We’ll say it again. Just because you’re over 40 doesn’t means you have to take your foot off the gas.

In fact, as a lifter you’ve probably not even hit your genetic potential yet.

You’ve still got lots to give.

And lots to achieve too.

The truth is though that some of your friends are now in physical decline – more so the ones that don’t go running, visit the gym or play sports.

This is your opportunity to break that trend though.

You’re going to use some unique exercise programming to reclaim your fitness, make positive changes to your physique and build confidence to match.

Here’s how…

Train clever and make great progress

It’s important right from the get-go to manage your expectations. With this workout you’ll rediscover your passion for the gym and turn a few heads as people double take at your progress.

Will this gym routine prepare you to go onstage at the Olympia sporting 23 inch arms and a six pack to boot?

Probably not.

But will it slash your body fat, generate respectable muscle mass and build cardio fitness to be proud of?

Hell yes.

You’re here because you want to make a difference. And we’re here because we’ve got the tools to get you there.

You might be feeling great right now. Or maybe years of wear and tear might be taking their toll.  But clever training that maximizes results while minimizing excess physical stress is what we’re after here.

Common gym mistakes made by guys over 40 include reckless exercise choices that just aren’t suited to current fitness levels. Or just as bad, choosing less than challenging workouts that waste your time and effort. You just can’t get fit and lean unless you break free from your comfort zone.

Many men choose to stick to what they know, spending week after week with the same few workout routines, rep ranges and loads.

They have a fear of trying something new and the thought of escaping the norm is daunting.

But in order to really push the boundaries of what you’re capable of you’ll have to break from your comfort zone.

We don’t expect you to try ultra-difficult, overly-complex exercises just for the sake of it. But at the same time we want you to embrace the challenge of a new program with an open mind.

Choosing the right exercises to get fit again

As a busy guy with minimal time available to spend at the gym, it’s important that you choose an express workout that achieves as much as possible in the time you have available.

Fancy exercises that target just one muscle at a time is inefficient and less-than-optimal for complete and targeted muscle growth.

For that reason, the bulk of your workouts here revolve around efficient and effective lifts:

  • Compound exercises – these work multiple muscle groups at a time, are high-efficiency lifts and also increase maximal strength.
  • Isolation exercises – these exercises are great for targeting specific muscle groups and work well with guys over 40. But they can be time-consuming.

Focusing your attention just on compound exercises is great for strength and power development.

They provide a good stimulus for fat loss and because they work multiple muscles, are good for mass building too. The problem is though that too much compound work can lead to fatigue and overuse injuries.

Isolation exercises are fantastic for building a better mind-to-muscle connection, building lagging muscle groups (maybe your chest is a focal point you want to tone up for example), and they’re much less likely to cause injury too.

What’s the solution?

A good balanced program covers both compound and isolation exercises in each workout. It allows you to feel comfortable under the load of heavy weights, but also let’s you chisel out some great muscle with exercise that aren’t as taxing on your body.

Optimize hormones and turn back the clock

During your late teens and throughout your twenties you felt like an alpha male. You were muscular, assertive, confident and strong.

And hell, your libido was through the roof too.



As a driver of masculinity, testosterone is responsible for both health and physical performance. When levels are optimized you feel and look good. You’re healthy and lean, manly and strong.

But as you hit thirty you noticed that as time passed, these characteristics began to fade.

That’s because testosterone levels began to drop.

By the age of 45, nearly 40% of men have clinically low testosterone levels – a condition called hypogonadism.

This can lead to:

  • Loss of muscle, strength, endurance and stamina
  • Decreased libido, sex drive and performance
  • Belly fat and obesity
  • Increased risk of metabolic and vascular disease

But the right program can reverse these side effects of age-related testosterone loss.

You can trick your hormones into thinking you’re a man still in his twenties by using the following training principles:

  • Lift heavy weights
  • Focus on multi-joint, multi-muscle movements
  • Keep workouts short
  • Don’t train too frequently
  • Keep rest times shorter and more productive

The key to good health and a strong body is training hard to being your T levels back to where they should be. And this is what your fitness program will give you.

Older man performing press-ups on a wooden floor

The Best Workout for a 40 Year Old Man

For this 12-week program we’ve factored in all of your major goals, and devised a simple, easy-to-perform workout routine that is results driven and guarantees progress.

It appreciates that you’re a busy guy with a career and a family, and steers clear of 6-day a week programs that just don’t work in the real world of fitness.

This workout routine has a challenging, but realistic training load that will push your progress without causing injury.

It focus on getting fit again. Period.

Balance your training load for quicker progress

You can measure your training load by in a number of different ways, but in simple terms it refers to how difficult each workout was.

You can use number of different variables to do this:

  • How long or intense your training sessions are
  • The number of sets and reps you perform per muscle, per session

If you use the correct training loads, your physique will improve quickly. Too low and you’ll not be providing enough of a stimulus for progress.

Your body has a great capacity to adapt and improve, but the unfortunate reality of seeing your age creep over 40 is that you’re more likely to nudge the training load dial just that little bit too far.

You’re more likely to suffer from sore joints and aches and niggles here and there. And without proper recovery you’re more likely to get injured.

In this program we pinpoint the perfect training load for you by matching up all factors appropriately.

We take into consideration the rest you need in between workouts, but we also train you hard enough to make proper progress.

Like we promised earlier – this isn’t a training plan that covers you up bubble wrap, shields you from the world and treats you like you’re over the hill.

Bottom line – you can still make crazy gains without crazy intensity and training load.

Train clever, not recklessly. That’s what we’re after.

Quick strength training tips for guy over 40

  • Always warm up properly – unfortunately those days where you could just jump under a 220 lb bar and break out a set of 10 reps cold have gone. Let’s leave that to the younger, dumber guys. But taking the time to loosen and nourish your joints with mobility work, and gradually warm your body with cardio is important.
  • Technique always comes before load – now’s not the time to hit the heavyweights with ropey form. Take your time, learn each movement, and then go as heavy as you can.
  • Use a holistic approach – making great progress isn’t just about the gym. Monitoring your diet, maintaining a nutritious eating plan and leading a healthy lifestyle are just as important.
  • Don’t train through pain – regardless of your age, training until it hurts (and then pushing continuing to through) will lave you battered, bruised and injured

The Program

Phase 1: Weeks 1-5

In this first phase of training you’ll be hitting the gym 3 times per week and completing full-body workouts covering all of your major muscle groups.

Each of the three sessions follows a similar strategy – push, pull, legs, push, pull, legs.

But the individual exercises we’ve chosen are different in every workout. Not only does this provide a novel stimulus for muscle growth, it helps to keep things interesting too.

NumberSession 1Session 2Session 3Training Load
1DB Shoulder pressLateral raiseBB Military press3 x 10-12 reps. 2 minutes rest
2Leg pressBB SquatLeg extension3 x 10-12 reps. 2 minutes rest
3Lat pulldownReverse grip pulldownDB Single arm row3 x 10-12 reps. 2 minutes rest
4Chest pressDB Narrow press DB Incline press3 x 10-12 reps. 2 minutes rest
5DB DeadliftLying leg curlDB Split squat3 x 10-12 reps. 2 minutes rest
6Seated rowReverse flyesBB Bent over row3 x 10-12 reps. 2 minutes rest

Phase 2: Weeks 6-12

In phase 2 we’re stepping things up by adding in some superset training.

This fat-shredding, muscle-building protocol is perfect for those short on time. It provides a great testosterone-boosting stimulus that will have you looking and feeling great in no time.

To complete your supersets, focus on performing the two exercises noted under the same letter (for example A1 and A2) back to back with minimal rest.

Note: You might need to set up your equipment in advance to make the transition as fast as you can.

Rest 3 minutes between after superset pairing to maintain productivity.

Supersets are tougher than standard weight training, but gives you the most bang-for-your-buck as a guy over 40 who wants to optimize his physique.

NumberSession 1Session 2Session 3Training Load
A1DB Shoulder pressLateral raiseBB Military press3 x 10-12 reps. 3 minutes rest
A2Lat pulldownReverse grip pulldownDB Single arm row3 x 10-12 reps. 3 minutes rest
B1Leg pressBB SquatLeg extension3 x 10-12 reps. 23minutes rest
B2DB DeadliftLying leg curlDB Split squat3 x 10-12 reps. 3 minutes rest
C1Chest pressDB Narrow press DB Incline press3 x 10-12 reps. 3 minutes rest
C2Seated rowDB Reverse flyesBB Bent over row3 x 10-12 reps. 3 minutes rest

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