7 Super Effective Strength Exercises All Men Should Do in Their 40s
Maintaining strength into your 40s is vital for every man, which is why you should have a list of the go-to regular strength exercises for men at your fingertips. As the effects of aging begin to compound, including lower testosterone, energy levels, libido, and athleticism, doing everything you can to keep up your physical vitality is a must. Strength training with resistance exercises is among the most effective and beneficial ways to offset the effects of aging on the male body. While many forms of exercise are healthy, few can match lifting heavy weights with compound movements when it comes to maintaining muscular strength, physical appearance, bone density, and hormone levels.
I always have my otherwise healthy male clients in their 40s perform strength training. When coupled with the right nutrition program and healthy lifestyle, the benefits of lifting weights cannot be overstated. The following are my top seven regular strength exercises for men in their 40s. Complete three to four sets of four to eight repetitions at least twice a week for all exercises. You can split them up into anywhere from two to four total weekly workouts. Be sure to take rest days in between any back-to-back workout days.
Keep reading to learn more, and when you're done, don't miss out on the 5 Free Weight Exercises Men Should Do Every Day To Stay Fit.
Barbell Back Squats
The barbell back squat is a foundational lower-body exercise. It activates your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and core, while also recruiting your calves and lower back to a lesser extent. This exercise not only builds leg strength but also promotes stability and functional mobility.
To perform a barbell back squat, begin by positioning a barbell at shoulder level on a squat rack. If available, set the safety pins just above waist level. Step under the bar, placing it on the muscles of your upper back, just below your neck. Grasp the bar firmly with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Unrack the barbell, and take a couple of steps backward. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Begin the movement by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Aggressively push your feet into the floor to drive back up to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Pull-ups target the upper-body muscles, specifically your latissimus dorsi, biceps, and rhomboids. This exercise can improve upper-body strength, stability, and mobility. Regular pull-ups can improve your posture and functional strength and prepare your body for more intense workouts.
To perform a pull-up, start by gripping the pull-up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Palms should be facing away from your body. Hang onto the bar at arm's length, also known as a dead hang, with your arms fully extended. Begin the movement by retracting your shoulder blades and visualize crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit as you pull your body up toward the bar. Once your chin clears the bar, hold the position for a second, and then lower your body back to the dead hang position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The dumbbell row is an excellent exercise for your back, shoulders, and arms. It strengthens the lats, rhomboids, and traps, while also engaging the biceps.
To perform a dumbbell row, stand next to a bench and place one knee on it. Bend at your waist while keeping your back straight. Hold a dumbbell in your hand on the side of the bench you are not kneeling on. Start the movement by pulling the dumbbell upward toward your rib cage. Visualize squeezing a piece of fruit in your armpit at the end of the movement. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Hold the position for about a second, then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Overhead Dumbbell Presses
This exercise targets your shoulders, specifically the deltoids, but also activates your triceps and upper chest. It's crucial for improving overhead strength and stability.
To perform an overhead dumbbell press, sit on a bench with back support, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Start with your arms bent, dumbbells at shoulder height, and palms facing forward. Push the dumbbells upward until your arms are fully extended above your head. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Hold the position for a second, then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The forward lunge targets the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This is a perfect exercise for developing lower-body strength and stability, improving balance, and enhancing functional movements.
To perform a forward lunge, stand tall with your hands on your hips, feet hip-width apart. Take a step forward with your right foot, keeping your torso upright. Bend your right knee to lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Your left knee should be bent at about 90 degrees, hovering just above the floor. Rotate your left foot inward slightly as you lower your left knee for optimal biomechanics. Push through the full foot of your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions, then switch legs.
The deadlift is a powerful compound exercise that works a large number of muscles simultaneously, including the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, and traps. It's a practical and functional exercise that improves strength in everyday tasks involving lifting and carrying objects.
To perform a deadlift, stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, in front of a barbell. Bend your hips and knees, push your buttocks back, and grasp the barbell with a firm grip, hands just outside your knees. Before you lift, brace your core. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, push through your full foot to stand up, lifting the bar. Once standing fully upright, lower the bar by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, maintaining a straight back throughout. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Dumbbell Bicep Curls
This list of the best strength exercises for men in their 40s wraps up with the dumbbell bicep curl. The bicep curl is an isolation exercise primarily targeting the bicep muscles, with secondary work on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles. It helps in improving arm strength and enhancing the muscles' visual appeal.
To perform a dumbbell bicep curl, stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand, arms fully extended, and palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows close to your body, curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Keep your upper arms stationary, only moving your forearms. Curl the weights until the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Squeeze your biceps at the top for about one second. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.