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5 Muscle-Building Workouts for Men Over 40

Sure, you're not 25 anymore (or even 35) but you can still have visible abs, strong legs, and a huge chest. Here's how.

It’s no secret that building muscle gets harder as we get older. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams of big guns—at least not without a fight. “I’m a big advocate of doing as much of a workout via compound exercises as possible,” says Mark Mcilyar, a 53-year-old bodybuilder and the creator of Abs After 40. “These movements are proven to maximize a man's natural production of testosterone, which is critical for men over 40, because we have much lower testosterone levels than we did 10 or 20 years ago.”

These five targeted workouts will get the T up—and the job done.

Chest Day

Unless noted, do each exercise for 3 sets of 15 reps, resting for a minute between sets. Use heavy enough weight that you’re taxed by the last rep but not so much that your form breaks down.

- Stability ball dumbbell press
- Single-arm incline dumbbell press
- Chest-level cable flys
- Dips to failure
- Stability ball pushups

Back Day

Here you’ll hit each exercise for three sets of 12 reps, with a minute’s rest between sets. Again, your load should be heavy enough that those last couple reps are tough, but not in bad form.

- Barbell deadlift
- Hammer row machine
- Dumbbell shoulder shrugs
- T-Bar rows
- Hyper extensions
- Bent-over cable pulldowns

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Leg Day

To maximize strength building, you’ll do first 3 sets of 8 reps of each exercise, resting a minute between sets. Then you’ll do rest-pause sets of the same move, of 8, 4, and 4 reps each, taking just 10 to 15 seconds between the sets. The cardio finisher burns more calories and revs your metabolism. 

- Barbell squats
- Barbell squats (rest-pause set)
- Walking lunges with dumbbells
- Walking lunges with dumbbells (rest-pause set)
- Leg press
- Leg press (rest-pause set)
- Split squats, each side
- Split squats, each side (rest-pause set)
- 10- to 15-minute cardio finisher

Shoulder Day

Go heavy on the shoulders with 3 sets of 6 reps of each move with a minute rest between sets, then rest-pause sets of 6, 3, and 3 reps each with 10-15 seconds between sets.

- Seated military press
- Seated military press (rest-pause set)
- Dumbbell front raises
- Dumbbell front raises (rest-pause set)
- Bent-over rear delt flys
- Bent-over rear delt flys (rest-pause set)
- Dumbbell lateral raises
- Dumbbell lateral raises (rest-pause set)
- Arnold presses
- Arnold presses (rest-pause set)

Back, Bis, and Tris Day

Do these upper-body-focused supersets for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps each, resting a minute between sets but no time between exercises.

- Supported bent-over dumbbell rows, each side
- Supported bent-over triceps kickbacks, each side
- EZ bar curls
- EZ bar skullcrushers
- Straight-arm cable pushdown
- Triceps cable pushdown
- Seated dumbbell curls
- Seated overhead triceps extensions

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