Workout Routines for Men over 40

In this fitness guide for men over 40 we break down multiple workout routines to get you stronger, build strength and get super lean

As a man over 40 you’ve got maturity, experience and knowledge on your side.

You might not be as strong or as stupid as you were in your twenties. You understand exactly what your body is able to do.

And one thing’s for sure; you’re not ready to slow down just yet.

This is isn’t your typical over 40 workout where the author thinks you;re over the hill and past your prime.

You’re here to lift big, get jacked and throw away the stereotypes about guys over 40.

With programs on strength training, muscle mass and fat loss, this detailed guide gives you all the tools to carve out the physique you’re after.

We’ve included 3 explosive workout plans for you to blast through.

This is your time to shine.

What does this program cover?

Goal:Fat loss, muscle build, strength, increase fitness
Aimed at:Guys over 40
Program duration:4-12 weeks
Workout duration:45-60 minutes
Equipment needed:Barbell, dumbbell, resistance machines, body weight

Strength Training Over 40

If you’re like us you’d be annoyed at some of the over 40’s workout plans out there.

Not only are they off the shelf, generic weight lifting plans used just to fill web space; they’re easy as hell.

In fact they’re so easy they’re plain condescending. To the point where your 80 grandma could do them without getting a pump on.

You’ll be please to know that this is not one of those programs.

We’re not wrapping you up in swaddling clothes and we’re not adding fire to the self-fulfilling prophecy that guys over 40 can’t get jacked and tear it up in the gym.

The fact that you’re not in your 30’s anymore does not concern us one bit. Take a look around your gym and you’ll see guys over 40 shifting huge weights with their broad shoulders and thick arms.

Even the Olympia guys don’t excel until they reach their forties.

They just know how to train for their age.

A good over 40 workout routine accepts your starting point

We’re guessing you’re here for one of two reasons.

Either you’re already in great shape and you’re after some new or more challenging workout ideas. Or you’ve fallen into the trap of many guys your age and let yourself go just that bit too much.

You might be overweight, depressed about your body and you’re just feeling unhealthy.

But no matter what your starting point is, you can make a difference.

Even if your body reminds you of its age with the odd ache, pains and niggles, you can still improve your physique.

You’re here because you want to make some positive changes and improve the way you look and feel.

You can get crazy strong.

Build serious muscle.

And get down to single digit body fat.

It’s all about finding the right program for you.

And then running with it.


Over 40 Workout Plan: Training Clever for Better Results

In reality, you’re more than likely going to need a game plan.

While guys in their 20’s can get away with just lifting heavy and hoping for the best, you need to harness your experience to get better and faster results.

Here’s how to make sure that you get the very best from your workout plan.

Use a fast and frequent strategy

Dependent on your lifestyle, you might not have 2 hours to spend in the gym every night.

You might be a busy, career-minded guy who wants to approach the gym like a ninja approaches his victim – quiet and precise. You just want to get in and get the job done without anyone knowing you were there.

And even if you’ve got time to grind out longer workouts, keeping your routine short and sharp works best here.

45 minutes of challenging, hard exercise will get you stronger, fitter and leaner. Hours and hours of cardio and heavy sets in the free weight area will leave you feeling fatigued and fried.

Combine compound and isolation lifts to tick all the boxes

Only you know whether or not the big lifts still work for you.

But many guys over 40 automatically take them out of their plan for fear of injury or excessive strain on joints.

The key here is to keep the squats, deadlifts, presses and pulls in your program – but not to rely on them too much.

They’re definitely the most productive strength builders and fat burners.

So let’s keep them in there.

But if your goal is to build muscle you’ll be surprised at how effective isolation exercises can be too.

Here’s your rule book for using compound exercises:

  • Make sure your technique is strict and every rep is delivered with great form.
  • Still lift heavy, but train clever.
  • Avoid going to failure. It’s not important for building muscle or strength.
  • If it hurts, stop.
  • Combine the big lifts with other less strenuous exercises that isolate muscles.
  • Use higher volumes or shorter rest times with single-joint exercises.

Ditch muscle split training

Back in the day you might have followed a split training method. Well, to be fair, pretty much everyone back then was doing splits. It was chest training on Monday and back on Tuesday.

But taking a muscle to the point of complete annihilation once per week just isn’t optimal training anymore.

Using a high-frequency, full-body approach allows you to complete just as many sets for a muscle group over the course of a week – only it’s split over 3-4 workouts rather than one.

You’ll get just as much muscle mass and strength, but without the soreness and potential for overtraining.

Muscular, lean man over 40 lifting a yellow weight plate onto a bar in the gym


Over 40 Workout Routines

The following programs have been specially designed by our team of sport scientists and expert coaches. Between them they have enough knowledge and experience to craft programs that work.

This isn’t some generic plan with little consideration to your starting point.

These programs are well-structured, developed around your wants and needs… and of course take into account the fact that you’re a motivated guy looking to change your physique for the better.

Beginner over 40 strength and muscle fitness schedule

In this 3-days-per-week strength program for beginners, we’ve focused your attention on compound lifts, with just a touch of isolation.

Like sprinkles on a cupcake.

The overall muscle volume per session is low, but when added over the course of a week will provide a potent muscle building trigger.

Complete 2-3 sets of 8-15 reps for each exercise and choose a weight that challenges you to do so. Avoid going to failure and make sure you’ve still got a rep in the tank when you reach your rep count.

You can follow this program from 4 weeks right up to 8 if you wish. At that point though it’ll be time to upgrade to something more challenging.

NumberSession 1Session 2Session 3
1Overhead pressDB Bench pressBarbell front raise
2Leg pressDB Alternate lungesDB Squat
3Lat pulldown / PullupsUnderhand pulldownNeutral grip pulldown
4Leg curlDumbbell deadliftLeg curl
5Chest pressPec deck Incline DB press
6Leg extensionDB High step-upsLeg extension
7Push-upsLow rowSeated row

Strength workout to build muscle mass and power

In this more advanced strength and mass building workout plan you’ll still be aiming for 3 workouts per week, but the dial is turned up to 11 in terms of intensity.

You’re not quite following a full-body schedule, but a push-pull-legs plan. This isn’t as taxing as a muscle split, but gives your body an effective ‘shock’ after your beginner workout.

Use a rep range of 8-10 for compound lifts, with a long rest period of 3-5 minutes. For isolation exercises you can get a serious pump with 10-15 reps per set and a lower rest of 1-2 minutes.

Spoiler – it’s pretty horrible, but works.

These workouts are short and sharp, but definitely for the more conditioned guy over 40. And if you want to up the frequency you can – even 6 sessions per week for 3-4 weeks will ramp up your results.

Just take a week off after you finish the training block to recover and grow.

NumberDay 1Day 2Day 3
1DB Bench pressDB Bent over rowLeg press
2DB Pec flyes (pronated)Lat pulldownLeg extension
3BB Military pressWide grip cable low rowDB Deadlift
4DB lateral raiseDB Single arm row (to hip)Lying leg curl
5EZ bar skullscrusherDB Seated curlStanding Calf Raise
6Triceps extensionCable straight bar bicep curlHanging bent knee raises

Cutting program to maximize fat loss

In this circuit-based workout, the emphasis is on punchy reps and sets with minimal rest.

It’s cardio wrapped up in a resistance-training cover.

You can do this workout 4-5 times per week for a good 5-6 weeks in total. Because the sessions are short, you can include it in your week’s rotation more frequently, achieving a high weekly volume for fat loss and muscle growth.

Shoot for 12-15 reps per set for circuit 1, and complete as many exercises back-to-back as you can in a 10 minute period. Rest for 3 minutes and than move onto the second circuit, repeating the process.

That’s 20 minutes of all-out, fat-melting hybrid training.

Circuit 1:

NumberExercise Reps
A1DB bench press12-15
A2DB squat12-15
A3Pull-ups12-15
A4DB Romanian deadlift12-15
A5DB Military press12-15

Circuit 2:

NumberExercise Reps
A1Press-ups12-15
A2Kettlebell goblet squat12-15
A3Inverted row12-15
A4Walking lunges
(with DB or kettlebell)
12-15 (per side)
A5DB Military press12-15
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