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7 Strength-Building Exercises Every Man Over 40 Should Be Doing

A trainer shares the strength exercises he assigns to all clients after 40.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Fighting off the effects of aging becomes especially important as men reach their 40s. These are the years when your testosterone begins to noticeably decline annually. This leads to corresponding losses of muscle mass, strength, energy, and virility. The fact is that an age-related decline in testosterone is entirely normal and simply a reality of getting older. That being said, there are a few specific things you can do to combat the effects of aging as a male. In particular, strength training using weights is among the most effective ways to combat the creeping effect of time. In fact, you can actually gain strength depending on your baseline, effectively reversing, to some degree, these age-related changes. Today, I'm here to share seven of the best strength-building exercises for men over 40, so get ready to take notes.

It's important to combine your strength training with a healthy diet, quality sleep, hydration, and low alcohol consumption to obtain the best results. With all of that in mind, the following are my top seven strength-building exercises I assign to all of my clients over the age of 40. I personally recommend splitting the exercises into two weekly workouts performing three to four exercises per workout. For maximal strength gains, perform four sets of three to five repetitions on each exercise for a weight that causes failure around six repetitions, resting for three minutes between sets. To maximize muscle growth, perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions with a weight that causes failure around repetition 12, resting for 90 seconds between sets.

Keep reading to learn about the seven best strength-building exercises for men over 40. And when you're finished, be sure to read the 5 Strength Exercises Men Should Do Every Day To Stay Fit.

1

Deadlifts

illustration of barbell deadlift
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The deadlift is a superb full-body exercise that significantly improves strength and muscle growth. This compound movement mainly targets the glutes, hamstrings, and core.

To perform a deadlift, stand with your feet hip-width apart; the barbell should be over the middle of your feet. Bend at the hips and knees to grab the bar with an overhand or mixed grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, push through your full foot on both legs to lift the bar. When the bar passes your knees, pull your shoulder blades back, and drive your hips forward. Lower the bar back to the ground, maintaining control throughout the movement. Repeat for the target repetitions.

2

Lunges

reverse lunges exercise
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Lunges are great for working the entire lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles. Additionally, they improve your balance and coordination.

To perform a lunge, stand tall with your feet hip-width distance apart. Take a big step forward with your right foot, and as you do so, rotate your left foot inward slightly. Lower your body until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle and your left knee is hovering just above the ground. Push through your full foot to rise back to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat the movement. Repeat for the target repetitions.

RELATED: 7 Bodyweight Exercises Men Should Do Every Day in Their 40s

3

Barbell Back Squats

middle-aged man doing barbell back squats
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The barbell back squat is an all-encompassing lower-body strength-building exercise, engaging your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles.

To perform a barbell back squat, position a barbell at shoulder level on a squat rack, with the safety pins just above waist level. Stand facing the barbell, step under it, and rest it on your upper back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Bend your hips and knees to lower your body as if you're sitting back in a chair, pushing through your full foot. Rise back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.

4

Pull-ups

middle-aged man doing pull-ups
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Pull-ups are a fundamental exercise for upper-body strength, working the lats, biceps, and muscles in your back and shoulders. Visualize crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit as you retract your shoulder blades and squeeze at the end range of motion.

To perform a pull-up, start by grasping a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Engage your core, and lift your body until your chin is above the bar, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top. Lower your body slowly until your arms are fully extended. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Repeat for the target repetitions.

RELATED: 7 Exercises Men Should Do Every Day To Stay Muscular

5

Overhead Presses

barbell overhead press
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Next up in these strength-building exercises for men over 40 is overhead presses. The overhead press is an excellent strength-building exercise that targets the shoulders and triceps, and it also activates your core.

To perform an overhead press, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell at shoulder level with an overhand grip. While keeping your core engaged, press the barbell straight up until your arms are fully extended overhead. Lower the barbell slowly back to shoulder level, avoiding shrugging throughout the range of motion. Repeat for the target repetitions.

6

Bent-Over Rows

illustration of barbell row exercise
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Bent-over rows target the upper back, lats, and biceps, while also working the core. As you pull, visualize crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit, ensuring your shoulder blades are retracted and you're squeezing at the end range of motion.

To perform a bent-over row, stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or set of dumbbells in front of you with an overhand grip. Bend your knees slightly, and hinge at the waist, keeping your back straight. Pull the weights up to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Lower the weights slowly, avoiding shrugging throughout the range of motion. Repeat for the target repetitions.

7

Glute Bridges

illustration of wrong and right ways to do a glute bridge
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This list of the most effective strength-building exercises for men over 40 wraps up with glute bridges. The glute bridge targets your glutes, hamstrings, and core, promoting hip mobility and lower-body strength. As you lift, visualize drawing your lower rib toward your pelvis and engage your abs. For extra activation, place a resistance band around your legs above the knee.

To perform a glute bridge, lie on your back on the floor with both knees bent and your feet flat on the ground hip-width apart. Keeping your abs engaged, push through your full foot to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Hold at the top for about one second, squeezing your glutes. Lower your hips back to the ground in a controlled manner. Repeat for the target repetitions.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler