How to Build Muscle After 40

Turning 40 is a big deal for many people and the reason is quite apparent. When you become 40, you are now entering a different stage in your life. It can be a very exciting time if you approach it the right way. The reason why so many people run into physical complications is because they want to live 20-year-old lives in 40-year-old bodies. Funny but true. You must begin to be more attentive to the changes that your body is undergoing and refine your lifestyle to match. In other words, align your body with your mind. That’s why planning accordingly is the basis of learning how to build muscle after 40.

“you must approach weight lifting differently”

After 40, the body requires more time to get warmed up; especially before partaking in any strenuous activity. Allotting the necessary amount of time for stretching and warm-up routines before exercising becomes more and more crucial being that the chances of your body falling subject to injury will only increase as you age. Because of this, you must approach weight lifting differently. In any gym, you will find a variety of different weight machines that make the muscle building process safer and more efficient compared to using free weights.

gym equipment

For every free weight workout, there is a weight machine designed to target the very same muscle group and deliver the same (if not better) results. Being that we are opting for the safer route, weight machines will be the primary focus of our workouts. Weight machines deliver two forms of exercises: isolated and compound. To put it simply, isolated exercises target a specific muscle while compound exercises target multiple muscles at once. The best way to begin is to choose the weight machine that you feel the most comfortable with and slowly work your way up.

“make a deliberate effort to stay active”

A common problem surrounding muscle building (especially for those 40+ years of age) is consistency. You can feel extremely energized one day and completely out of it the next. This is completely natural and can easily be dealt with by finding a good daily multivitamin that will help stabilize your energy level. You can also look into various supplements that help to maximize your workouts by boosting your energy and strength. It is also natural for life events to interfere with our plans. If you can’t make it to the gym on a particular day, do push-ups at home and take the stairs instead of the escalator.  If the weather is nice, go for a quick jog after work. You will never lose momentum if you make a deliberate effort to stay active on those days.

“you will be building trim and well-defined muscles”

Another thing to keep in mind is your muscle density. This is particularly important because your muscles slowly begin to lose density after the age of 40. To maintain the proper form and shape in which your muscles will grow, you must cycle between heavy weight and light weight exercises. Heavy weight exercises with few repetitions per set are meant to build your muscles. Light weight exercises with many repetitions per set are meant to tighten your muscles and add definition or “cuts” as many like to call them. By cycling the two, you will be building trim and well-defined muscles. Therefore, your workout routine should outline a day of low-frequency reps per set at a higher weight level followed by a day of high-frequency reps per set at a lower weight level followed by a rest day; then repeat the process. Following this routine, your weekly workout schedule will be comprised of: four days dedicated to weight training, two days dedicated to rest and recovery plus one day dedicated to cardio. It is critical that you incorporate cardio into your workout schedule.

“you can do it!”

I want you to know that even if you never lifted weights in your entire life, it is still possible for you to build muscle in your 40’s. Sure, you may have to work a little harder and make more of an effort but you can do it! There are people out there that are 50 and 60+ years of age that continue to exercise on a daily basis. These people are living proof that it is possible. Take your time and stay on track. After a while, you will notice an increase in strength and energy. You will look better and in turn, you will feel better. Your life will improve overall. So what are you waiting for? You owe this to yourself!

Maximum Muscle Building

4 thoughts on “How to Build Muscle After 40”

  1. Wow! What a great read. A lot of people assume that once we’ve reached past 40 years old, we should just give up on fitness because “we’ll be too old.” I’ve seen a lot of fit people aged 50-60 and they look so young!

    It’s invaluable to know that as we get older, warming up is even more important. I also like your tip on the necessity of consistency. Thanks for the awesome advice!

    1. Thank you for your comment Derek – I’m glad that you gained something from this post! I have also seen plenty of people upwards of 50 years who look amazing for their age. It always puts a smile on my face. The truth is, you’re only as old as you feel.

  2. Seeing as my parents are both over 40 now I think they would enjoy reading your post. They aren’t the healthiest or fittest so I think they could really use some of your information.

    I thinking starting off with lighter weights will help them improve their mobility, this way they can focus more on form, strength and stretch the finer muscles and loose a little body fat as well. Hopefully this will help them move around a little easier.

    1. Hi Lyle,

      Thank you for your comment! Starting off with lighter weights is a great idea! If your parents aren’t already active, make sure they don’t overdo it in the beginning to avoid muscle strain. Half an hour for each session is more than adequate. Then they can slowly increase this time as they progress.

      The best routine for them would be to alternate the light weight exercises with cardio (heart and blood) exercises. Running, biking and jumping jacks are all great cardio exercises. If they want to change it up – hiking and dancing are great as well. The main this is that they stay active.

      Let me know how it goes 🙂 

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