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Secret Exercise Tricks for Reshaping Your Body After 40, Trainer Says

Follow these two specific tips to maximize your muscle-building and fat-shrinking results.

As you get older and enter your 40s and beyond, it becomes harder to not only get in shape but stay in shape. This is because your metabolism begins to slow down a bit and you naturally lose muscle mass. Of course, factor in the common sedentary lifestyle that so many of us lead, and what you're left with is a combination of factors that can result in slow and steady weight gain.

Thanks to these lifestyle and biological factors, you have to do everything you can to build and maintain as much lean muscle as possible. That's why, no matter who you are and what your fitness goals may be, strength training is non-negotiable.

Now, if you're age 40 and older and already exercising regularly, lifting weights, and doing cardio, then you're already well on your way to achieving your goals. But, I have a couple of exercise tricks you can sprinkle into your routine that are effective at getting the body you want.

These secret tricks will help increase tension in your exercises, which forces your body and muscles to work harder in order to adapt. They recruit more muscle fibers and increase growth, which will help shape your body after 40. Keep reading to learn my two tricks, and for more, don't miss my Weekly Workout Plan to Stay Lean Throughout the Holidays.

Trick #1: Add 1/4 reps to your exercises

Woman holding dumbbell bicep curls

One of my favorite methods to make an exercise tougher and to increase time under tension (TUT) is to add an extra ¼ rep. Once you're at the end of the eccentric portion (or lowering) of an exercise, come up a quarter way, then back down, then finish the movement. That's one rep… and it will burn so good!

What follows are two examples of exercises you can do with 1/4 reps.

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Dumbbell Goblet Squat (1 1/4 reps)

dumbbell goblet squat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start by holding a dumbbell close to your chest. Keeping your chest up and core tight, push your hips back and squat down until your quads are parallel to the ground. Come up 1/4 of the way, then back down, and finally drive through your heels and hips to stand back up, flexing your quads and glutes to finish. Do 8 reps.

Related: This 25-Minute Walking Workout That Will Get You Toned

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (1 1/4 reps)

incline dumbbell bench press
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Lie flat on an incline bench and grab a pair of dumbbells. Hold them straight up above you with your arms fully extended. Pull your shoulder blades back and down into the bench as you lower the weights down toward your chest. Get a good chest stretch, then press the weights back up 1/4 of the way. Come back down again for another stretch, then drive it up to the starting position, squeezing your pecs and triceps at the top. Do 6-8 reps.

Related: 60-Second Workouts That Can Also Add Years to Your Life

Trick #2: Add bands to your exercises

smiling woman holding resistance band at fitness studio

Bands are a fantastic piece of exercise equipment that offer you a different kind of resistance to work with. As you stretch the band out during a movement, you'll feel more tension as you try to complete the concentric (lifting) portion.

A fantastic way to add extra tension to your exercises is to do it along with bands. Here are two examples of taking a dumbbell exercise and adding bands with it…

Dumbbell + Band Biceps Curl

band dumbbell curl
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Step on a resistance band and grab both the handles and a pair of dumbbells. Keeping your chest tall and core tight, curl the weights toward you. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top, then resist all the way down until your arms are fully extended before performing another rep. Do 12-15 reps.

Related: 5 Major Secrets to Getting a Lean Body for Good, Experts Say

Dumbbell + Band Lateral Raise

2 band and dumbbell lateral raise
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start by stepping on the band holding both a pair of dumbbells and the handles. With your arms out to the side, soften your elbows and raise the weights up laterally to just about parallel to the ground, flexing the sides of your shoulders. Squeeze hard, then lower (under control), maintaining tension in your delts. Return to starting position before performing another rep. Do 12-15 reps.

And that's it! With these two secret exercise tricks, you'll build more muscle faster and reshape your body after 40.

For more, check out Secret Effects of Lifting Weights Just Once Per Week, Science Says.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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