If you’ve been physically active or involved with sports for most of your life, when you hit middle age, you may realize your body has changed and you’ll need to adapt your workouts accordingly. That’s why we want to share our tips for workouts for men over 40. If your goals are to be in great shape, maintain weight, and build strength with smart, safe, efficient and effective training, then read on!

What’s changed

Testosterone decreases about 1% a year beginning around age 40 and is responsible for muscle mass and bone density.

Muscle mass — Without an active lifestyle, you can lose 3-5% of your muscle mass per decade. Less muscle means weakness and less mobility that can increase your risk for injuries, falls and fractures. Resistance training will enhance muscle mass.

Bone density decreases, and that can lead to fractures. Like muscle, bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Resistance training is best for your bones.

V02max is regarded as the best indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness, and in your 30s it starts to decline by about 10% per decade. Reduced aerobic capacity can lead to fatigue or breathlessness for modest daily activities. The good news is you can reverse the trend and improve your V02max with consistent aerobic exercise.

Flexibility enables us to access all ranges of motion without pain or compensation. Many injuries can accompany poor mobility, including low back pain (affecting 80% of Americans in their lifetime).

Training tips and workouts for men over 40

  • Cardio training
    • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – As busy guys in our 40s, we need an efficient and quick way to improve V02max and increase our metabolism. Learn more about the science-backed benefits of intervals on this post. Here is an example of HIIT on any cardio equipment (treadmill, bike, elliptical etc.):
      • 3 minutes of low intensity warm-up
      • 30 seconds of high intensity 90-100% exertion
      • 30 seconds of low intensity 40% exertion
      • Repeat 20 times
      • 3 minutes of low intensity cool down
    • Low impact cardio – Running is great, but it can be hard on your joints and lower back. As we age, it’s beneficial to switch some running workouts to low-impact cardio workouts such as swimming, cycling, elliptical and rowing.
    • Be consistent – Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, in per week. Learn more about the different benefits from different cardio options here. A mix is important.
  • Full-body strength training – Exercising the whole body with all muscle groups (upper, lower, core) is effective and efficient, especially over 40. Benefits include:
    • More bang for your buck: Compound exercises usually increase the heart rate and improve cardiovascular health.
    • Fat loss/calorie burn: Working multiple muscle groups at a time burns more calories.
    • Testosterone boost: Full-body movements release the greatest amount of testosterone.
    • Checking the box for all muscle groups: No muscles are left behind!
    • Lower time commitment: A full-body workout program is a much shorter time commitment.
    • Recommended full-body exercises: Deadlift, kettlebell swings, dumbbell thrusters and burpees
  • Flexibility and mobility training – Aches, pains and stiff backs are all complaints in our 40s, and we can combat those with warming up, cooling down and stretching.
    • Warm-up recommendation:
      • 3-5 minutes of light cardio
      • Exercises like BW squat, glute bridge, runner’s stretch and lateral lunge
      • Foam rolling (SMR) and active stretching
    • Cool-down recommendation:
      • 5 minutes of treadmill or similar
      • Exercises like knee hug, bird dog and child’s pose
      • Static stretching
    • Find more inspiration and ideas in our exercise guides!

Workouts for men over 40 mean being realistic about our bodies and training smarter. It also means incorporating healthy diet, recovery time and sleep quality!

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