Strength training is important for men and women over 40 because it can help to counteract the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density that occurs as we age. As we get older, our bodies lose muscle and bone mass at a faster rate, which can lead to a decrease in strength, balance, and mobility. Strength training can help to slow down and even reverse these changes, leading to a host of health benefits such as improved muscle and bone health, better balance and stability, reduced risk of falls, and increased metabolism. Additionally, strength training can help to improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve overall quality of life.
Looking for an workout plan to push your limits and defy your age? Check out the HFP Over 40-Workout Plan.
What Studies Say About Our Rate of Decline Over 40
The exact rate of muscle loss varies depending on the study and population being studied, but a commonly cited estimate is that we lose about 1-2% of our muscle mass per year after the age of 30. This decline in muscle mass, known as sarcopenia, can have significant negative impacts on health, including a decrease in strength, balance, and mobility, an increased risk of falls and injuries, and a decline in overall quality of life.
However, it’s important to note that the decline in muscle mass as we age is not an inevitability, but rather a result of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity. Regular exercise, especially strength training, has been shown to slow down or even reverse muscle loss in older adults.
- A 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis of 20+ studies found that strength training improved muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical function in older adults.
This Is How Much to Strength Train When Over 40
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) both recommend that adults engage in at least two days per week of moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity, such as resistance or weights training, which can include the use of resistance bands, weight machines or free weights.
Additionally, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends that older adults engage in progressive strength training two or three times per week. And when you do, increase the resistance and number of repetitions you do gradually as you become stronger.
These Are the Simplest, Most Effective Exercises for Men and Women Over 40
There are many exercises that are beneficial for people over the age of 40, but these are the simplest and most effective:
- Squats: Squats are a great exercise for building lower body strength and improving balance.
- Deadlifts: Deadlifts work multiple muscle groups including glutes, hamstrings, and back, and also help to improve posture.
- Lunges: Lunges are a great exercise for working the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Push-ups: Push-ups are a great exercise for working the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Pull-ups: Pull-ups are a great exercise for working the back, biceps, and forearms.
- Planks: Planks are a great exercise for working the core muscles and improving balance.
- Shoulder press: Shoulder press are a great exercise for working the shoulders, triceps, and upper back.
These exercises can be done with your own bodyweight, barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands.
The Most Important Thing to Remember When Strength Training Over 40
At it’s core, it’s very much no different than any other age.
Start at a level that is appropriate for your current fitness level and gradually progress in intensity and volume over time. This is known as progressive overload, which is a principle that states that in order to see improvements in muscle strength and size, the muscles need to be challenged with increasing resistance over time.
Additionally, it’s important to use proper form and technique when performing exercises to reduce the risk of injury. This includes warming up properly, using good posture, and focusing on full range of motion.
Another important factor to consider is the need to train all muscle groups and not just the ones that you like or feel comfortable with. A well-rounded strength training program should include exercises for the upper body, lower body, and core muscles.
A Super-Basic Strength Training Plan for Beginners Over 40
A good basic strength training workout for people over 40 would consist of exercises that target all the major muscle groups of the body, including the legs, back, chest, shoulders, and arms. The workout should also include exercises that target the core muscles, such as the abs and lower back.
Here is an example of a basic strength training workout for people over 40:
- Warm-up: 5-10 minutes of light cardio, such as walking or jogging in place, to get the blood flowing and prepare the muscles for the workout.
- Squats: 3 sets of 8-12 reps using bodyweight, dumbbells, or a barbell.
- Deadlifts: 3 sets of 8-12 reps using dumbbells or a barbell.
- Push-ups: 3 sets of 8-12 reps using bodyweight or resistance bands.
- Planks: 3 sets of 30-60 seconds, holding the plank position.
- Dumbbell rows: 3 sets of 8-12 reps using dumbbells or a resistance band.
- Shoulder press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps using dumbbells or a barbell.
- Cool down: 5-10 minutes of stretching to help improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
Over 40, but want to push yourself to new levels? Check out our HFP Over-40 Workout Plan.