22 Simple Exercises That Reveal How in Shape You Are in Your 40s
It's not uncommon to feel a little out of shape when you turn 40. There are many red flags that tell your body you're in need of more exercise. For instance, you feel out of breath when performing daily activities or chores that don't require a ton of effort, or maybe your back is sore when you're simply standing in place. In addition, your heart rate may seem higher than usual when you're resting, or you're super tired on a regular basis. If any of these sound familiar to you, it's important to determine how in shape you are in your 40s and be proactive.
Eat This, Not That! spoke with Anthony Leti, a certified strength, conditioning, and nutrition specialist (NASM CPT, PN-1, FMS-1, CFSC, ISSA Bodybuilding specialist), who shares the ultimate routine that will reveal how in shape you are. A good portion of this routine consists of strength exercises that will help you preserve bone density, muscle mass, and strength. When strength training, you should choose a weight that makes you feel challenged but also able to perform the number of reps you plan out while maintaining proper form.
"[Each day of exercise] will hit [your] full body so you are getting the full bang for your buck," Leti tells us. "If you can perform all of these with relative ease, you are in phenomenal shape for your age. Increase weights week to week if necessary and aim to hit each workout at least once, twice each if possible."
So let's get started and rectify that "out of shape" feeling. Leti breaks down the ultimate routine to reveal how in shape you are in your 40s. Grab your dumbbells, and keep reading to learn more. When you're done, don't miss How Out Of Shape Are You? A Trainer's Test Will Reveal Instantly.
1. Squats (Goblet or Barbell)
To get started with goblet squats, place your feet hip-width apart, and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands by your chest, like a goblet. Press your hips back and lower until your thighs become parallel to the floor. Press through your feet to rise back up to standing. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
2. Pushups (Elevated or Regular)
For pushups, place your hands on the ground below your shoulders, and extend your legs behind you so you're on the balls of your feet. Your body should be in a straight line. Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the floor. Then, press yourself back up. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.
3. Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows
Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your body with your arms extended. Press your hips back and hinge your body forward. Row the dumbbells up to your chest before lowering them back down. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
4. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
Start the shoulder press by assuming a tall stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand up by your shoulders, palms facing forward. Activate your core, and press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are extended. Slowly lower the weights back down to shoulder level, all while using control. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
5. Dumbbell Lunges
Start standing tall with a dumbbell in each hand, arms by your sides. Take a step forward with one leg, and lower into a lunge. Make sure your front knee doesn't travel beyond your toes. Press back up to standing. Repeat on the opposite side. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each leg.
6. Dumbbell Bicep Curls
For dumbbell bicep curls, place your feet hip-width apart, and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your sides. Your palms should face ahead of you. Engage your core as you curl the weights up toward your chest. Then, use control to lower them back to the start position. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
7. Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
Start in a slight split stance. Hold a dumbbell in both hands, and lift it overhead. Make sure your shoulders remain relaxed as you straighten your arms and bring the dumbbell to the back of your head. Once your arms are bent to 90 degrees, lift the weight back up overhead. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Start in a high plank on the floor by placing your hands below your shoulders and kicking your legs behind you. Lower to your forearms. Engage your core as you hold this position. Complete three sets of 45 to 90-second holds.
1. Trap Bar Deadlifts
Begin the trap bar deadlift by standing in the middle of the trap bar. Position your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointing straight ahead. Press your hips back, and bend your knees in order to take hold of the handles. Push through your heels and away from the ground as you hinge your hips forward to stand up with the bar. Use control to lower the bar back down. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
For pull-ups, stand under the pull-up bar as you use an overhand grip to grab it, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows in order to bring your chest up to the bar until your chin goes over it. Use control to lower yourself back down until your arms are extended. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps.
3. Dumbbell Chest Press
Begin the chest press by lying down flat on a workout bench. Place your feet on the ground, and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights up by your chest, and press them up until your arms are straight. Use control to lower the weights back to the start position. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
4. Dumbbell Clean to Shoulder Press
Assume a hip-width stance to begin. Bend over to grab a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand, holding them at the front of your thighs. Get into a half squat as you lift the weights to shoulder height. Then, straighten your legs, and press the weights overhead. Lower the weights back to your shoulders, then bend your knees to lower them toward the floor before you begin again. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
5. Dumbbell Split Squats
Begin in a split stance, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides. Descend into a split squat, making sure your front knee doesn't go beyond your toes. Press back up to the standing position. Repeat on the opposite side. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps for each leg.
6. Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Stand straight and tall while holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing your body. Curl both weights up to your chest, and squeeze your biceps. Lift until your forearm is in a vertical position. Then, use control to lower the dumbbells. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
7. Rope Tricep Extensions
Begin by setting up the rope cable attachment. While standing, grab onto the rope with your palms facing inward. Hinge forward as you bend your hips. Extend your elbows. Pull the rope down toward your thighs until your elbows are straight. Then, use control to bring the rope back to the position you started in. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
8. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers start with you assuming a high plank. Kick your legs out behind you, and your hands should be on the floor below your shoulders. Quickly bring your left knee up to your chest, then extend it back behind you. Bring your right knee up to your chest, and then back behind you. Continue to alternate. Complete three sets of 20 to 40 reps per leg.
Flexibility and Balance Exercises
Lastly, completing a stretching routine will keep your body limber. Leti recommends performing these exercises after each workout, in addition to 20 to 30 minutes of cardio. "Incorporate flexibility exercises to improve range of motion and balance exercises to reduce the risk of falls. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, and perform balance exercises for 30 to 60 seconds," Leti instructs.
1. Standing Quad Stretch
For extra balance, hold onto a chair or wall. Bend one of your knees as you bring that heel up toward your butt. Hold it there, then repeat on the opposite side.
2. Calf Stretch
Stand tall and face a wall. Plant one foot ahead of you, and place your hands on the wall. Your back leg should remain straight as you press your heel into the floor.
3. Chest Opener Stretch
While in a tall standing position, keep your hands together behind your back as you raise your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
4. Seated Hamstring Stretch
Take a seated position on the floor with one leg fully extended and the other leg bent. Reach forward to grab the foot of your straight leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Single-Leg Balance
While standing on one leg, activate your core for stability. Hold this position, then repeat on your other leg.
6. Heel-to-Toe Walk
As you walk forward in a direct line, position one foot directly in front of the other so that your heel and toes touch as you take steps.