HealthWorkout Plan For Forty Years Old - How To Build Muscles Over...

Workout Plan For Forty Years Old – How To Build Muscles Over 40

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Entering your forties is a phase in life characterized by the accumulation of valuable experiences and wisdom. However it also presents its set of hurdles particularly when it comes to building muscle. As the body naturally undergoes changes like a decrease in testosterone levels and an increased likelihood of pain and discomfort it becomes crucial for men, in their forties to adapt their fitness routines accordingly.

In this article, we present a personalised muscle-building exercise plan designed specifically for men in their forties. Instead of being a time of decline, your forties can be a time of progress. By understanding your body’s unique needs during this phase and incorporating specific training routines, dietary adjustments and recovery strategies, you can redefine what it means to be in optimal physical shape.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or someone beginning a quest for a healthier life this guide will provide you with the tools to shape and fortify your body. It’s never too late to embark on the path, toward attaining your physical form.

Forty Fitness: Embracing Change And Building Strength

Entering your forties means a rich reservoir of life experience and wisdom. But it also brings unique challenges, especially in the area of muscle development. Hormonal changes and aches and pains become more common, requiring adjustments to your fitness routine. This article offers a customised muscle-building plan for men in their forties.

Don't view it as a setback. Rather as a chance to move forward. Take into account what your body requires incorporate targeted workouts make adjustments to your eating habits and prioritize time for recovery. Whether you're passionate about fitness or just beginning your journey this guide will give you the tools to transform your condition. Remember, it's never too late to embark on the path, towards fitness.

What Is Generally Needed To Build Muscle Mass?

Building muscle mass generally requires a combination of consistent strength training, a balanced diet rich in protein and nutrients, and adequate rest and recovery. It’s like sculpting a work of art; you need the right tools (exercise), quality materials (nutrition) and time for your masterpiece to take shape (rest). Patience and dedication are your best allies in this creative process.

How Does The Male Metabolism Change In The 40s?

Once you reach your forties the male body experiences some shifts in metabolism. Generally your metabolism starts to slow down making it more likely to gain weight if you continue with the same eating habits and activity levels as when you were younger. Moreover there is a tendency for muscle mass to decrease during this phase, which can also lead to a decline, in metabolism since muscles burn calories compared to fat.

Hormonal changes, such as falling testosterone levels, can also play a role in these metabolic changes. To counteract these changes, it is important to prioritise a balanced diet and regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and overall wellbeing as you age.

Is It Possible To Build Muscles After 40?

Lets begin with the question that everyone wants to know; Can you actually build muscle when you’re in your 40s? Well the good news is yes you definitely can. In fact it’s not just possible but highly beneficial, for a mans overall well being. While our bodys hormonal balance may undergo changes as we age engaging in strength training and maintaining a healthy diet can still result in muscle growth. To support this claim there was a study conducted back in 2009 involving 24 men (aged 18 22) and 25 middle aged men (aged 35 50) who all followed an identical muscle building program for eight weeks.

At the end of the eight weeks, both groups showed comparable muscle growth and improved strength. The only difference between the two groups was that the middle-aged men experienced a greater reduction in body fat, in addition to equivalent gains in strength and muscle mass. Now, as a certified personal trainer, I do not want to set false expectations. The amount of exercise experience you have may have a greater impact on future gains than age.

If you’ve been consistently going to the gym for twenty years you might find it more challenging to build muscle in your 40s compared to someone who is just starting out in college. The closer you are, to reaching your potential the more difficult it becomes to make further gains. Nevertheless it’s crucial to prioritize maintaining your muscle mass as you age. Despite assumptions metabolism doesn’t necessarily decline naturally with time.

Research shows that metabolism remains stable from the age of 20 to 60. The only change in metabolism in adults between the ages of 20 and 60 is due to a decrease in lean body mass and energy expenditure. The decline in metabolism with age is not a result of age itself, but rather a result of loss of muscle mass and reduced physical activity.

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Common Muscle Building Challenges For Men In Their 40s

It is indeed possible to build muscle in your 40s although there may be some obstacles to overcome. Fortunately I have compiled a list of solutions, for each challenge to assist you in staying focused and achieving your goals:

Increased Recovery Time

Men in their 40s often experience increased recovery time after intense strength training due to changes in hormone levels and a potential decrease in overall body resilience. While this may sound like a big challenge, it simply requires more deliberate programming.

If you’re in your 40s, it’s important to prioritise adequate rest between workouts, incorporate effective recovery strategies such as proper nutrition, hydration and sleep, and consider adjusting the intensity and frequency of your workouts to meet your body’s changing needs.

Injuries/Joint Problems

As men get older they may face a risk of injuries and joint issues which can make it harder to build muscles. Joint stiffness and reduced flexibility are problems that can arise. To overcome these challenges it’s crucial for them to include stretching maintain a good range of motion and choose exercises strategically as part of their fitness routine. Moreover paying attention to exercise form can reduce the chances of getting hurt and promote long term joint well being.

Balance Work And Family Responsibilities

Balancing work and family can be a big challenge for men in their 40s who want to build muscle. When you have people depending on you, your life can’t revolve around a gym schedule. Effective time management and planning becomes critical to maintaining a consistent routine. Incorporating quick and efficient workouts, involving family members in physical activity and setting realistic goals can help balance family and fitness commitments.

Low Testosterone

The primary determinant of testosterone is age. As men grow older their testosterone levels naturally decrease, with a decline starting around the age of 30 and continuing at a rate of approximately 1% per year. If you are encountering symptoms, like fatigue reduced libido and decreased strength it would be advisable to have your testosterone levels assessed.

Seeking medical help to improve your testosterone levels can go a long way to helping you look and feel your best. A good place to start is by getting your testosterone checked with a personalised Fountain TRT assessment. Or check out the best online TRT clinics. You can correct your low T levels from the comfort of your own home.

Optimal Training Split For Men In Their Forties

A great training program for men in their forties is to follow a three day split routine. You can lift weights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Reserve Saturdays, for high intensity cardio workouts. This schedule is designed to ensure your body has time to recover between sessions. On Mondays and Fridays you can mainly focus on body exercises while Wednesdays can be dedicated to working out your legs.

  • Monday: Chest / Back / Core
  • Tuesday: Rest Day
  • Wednesday: Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Calves / Core
  • Thursday: Rest Day
  • Friday: Shoulders / Arms / Core
  • Saturday: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Cardio
  • Sunday: Rest Day

The Ideal Exercise Plan For Men In Their Forties

Exercise plan men over 40 image

Here is a detailed workout plan specifically tailored for men in their forties. If any of the exercises, in the program cause you any discomfort or pain feel free to substitute them with movements that focus on the same muscle groups.

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are designated rest days, but if you want some activity on these days, consider Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio, such as jogging, cycling or using the elliptical machine. For those looking for core exercise ideas, some excellent options include barbell roll-outs, dead bugs, bike crunches, planks, leg raises and reverse crunches.

Monday: Chest/Back/ABS

  • Cable Crossover 3 x 10-12
  • Cable Lat Extension 3 x 10-12
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 x 8-10
  • Dumbbell Row 3 x 8-10
  • Bodyweight Push-ups 3 x to failure
  • Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown 3 x 8-10
  • 1-2 Core Exercises of Choice 3-4 sets

Wednesday: Quadriceps/Hamstrings/Calves/Core

  • Leg Extension 3 x 10-12
  • Leg Curl 3 x 10-12
  • Back Squat or Leg Press 3 x 8-10
  • Romanian Deadlift 3 x 10-12
  • Dumbbell Reverse Lunges 3 x 8-10 each leg
  • Seated or Standing Calf Raise 3 x 10-12
  • 1-2 Core Exercises of Choice 3-4 sets

Friday: Shoulders/Arms/Core

  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 x 10-12
  • Standing Dumbbell One Arm Shoulder Press 3 x 6-8
  • Dumbbell Incline Curl 3 x 10-12
  • Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 3 x 10-12
  • Preacher Curl 3 x 8-10
  • EZ Bar Lying Triceps Extensions 3 x 8-10
  • 1-2 Core Exercises of Choice 3-4 sets

Saturday: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT Cardio)

  • Utilize a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical machine, prowler, sled, or hill sprints.
  • Warm-Up: 3-5 minutes at a slow to moderate pace
  • Sprint: 15-20 seconds of maximum effort
  • Recovery: 40-45 seconds of rest
  • Repeat: (Sprint/Recovery) 8-10 times
  • Cool Down: 3-5 minutes at a slow to moderate pace

Tips For Building Muscle In Your 40s

Regardless of age the fundamental principles of muscle building remain consistent. However as you enter your 40s there are strategies that become increasingly crucial to optimize the advantages of your training. Here I present seven suggestions for men, in their 40s who aspire to enhance their muscle mass:

Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is a fundamental concept in muscle development that involves gradually increasing the demands placed on your muscles to stimulate growth and strength. Achieving progressive overload can be as simple as lifting heavier weights as your strength improves.

You can also increase the number of repetitions or sets in your weightlifting routine, or decrease the rest periods between sets. Progressive overload is important for everyone, but it becomes even more important for people over the age of 40.

Prioritize Warm-Ups

If you’ve ever been someone who occasionally skipped warm ups in the past once you reach your 40s it’s important to break that habit. To ensure a workout without any pain as you get older it becomes crucial to have a warm up routine. It is recommended to begin with an aerobic exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill before each strength training session. This will help raise your body temperature and enhance blood flow, to your muscles. Additionally consider including stretching exercises to improve flexibility and decrease the risk of injuries.

Adjust Your Training Frequency

Recovery becomes increasingly important in your 40s. Limit your training to 3-4 days a week and try to avoid consecutive days whenever possible. You can do this by having a well-structured training split or by incorporating full-body workouts.

Modify Your Exercise Choices

As we age it becomes logical to include machines and cables, in our exercise routines because they offer extra stability and control. Unlike using weights, which demands a higher level of balance and can sometimes lead to joint strain or injury machines assist in directing your movements along a predetermined path.

Rest assured, research shows that training with either free weights or machines results in similar muscle and strength gains. I’m not suggesting that you give up barbells altogether. Instead, choose exercises that feel comfortable. If a barbell back squat feels uncomfortable, try a leg press or a belt squat. But if the barbell bench press feels good, stick with it.

Incorporate Mobility And Flexibility Exercises

As we get older our flexibility and mobility tend to decrease.. By putting in some dedicated work we can avoid these declines. When our flexibility improves it enables us to have a range of motion during strength training exercises leading to better muscle activation. Additionally enhanced mobility can help maintain joints and lower the chances of getting injured.

Consider Pre-Exhausting Your Muscles

Pre-exhaustion involves performing isolation exercises before compound lifts during your workout. The aim is to fatigue the specific muscle group with an isolation exercise, making it the weak spot during the subsequent compound exercises. This technique can be beneficial for people in their 40s as it allows them to maximise the effectiveness of lighter weights during compound movements.

Implement HIIT Cardio

HIIT or high intensity interval training comprises bursts of intense exercise alternated with recovery periods. If you’re a 40 year aiming to both gain muscle and burn fat HIIT has numerous benefits. It’s a way to incorporate exercise into a packed schedule and you can achieve an intense cardiovascular workout, in just 15 20 minutes.

What’s more, HIIT can be more engaging than steady-state cardio, increasing the likelihood that you’ll stick with it. While there is a place for leisurely walks on a treadmill, if you have access to hills, consider running outdoors. The key is to use HIIT sparingly, typically once or twice a week.

Nutrition Tips For Men In Their 40s

Building muscle in your 40s goes beyond what you do in the gym. Here are some nutritional recommendations to help you optimise your progress.

Prioritize Protein Intake

It’s important to make sure you’re getting an amount of protein in your diet if you want to promote muscle growth. A good rule of thumb is to consume 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. To give your muscles the support they need to recover and grow try incorporating protein foods, like poultry, fish, beef, eggs, dairy products, legumes and beans into your daily meals.

Include Healthy Fats

A balanced diet should include good sources of fat, such as avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. In your 40s, you may want to avoid extremely low-fat diets as they can potentially lower testosterone levels.

Focus On Fruits And Vegetables

You’ve likely come across this advice before. A balanced diet should consist of a diverse array of fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate one or two servings of them in every meal. Fruits and vegetables offer a wealth of nutrients and dietary fiber both crucial, for maintaining good health.

Stay Hydrated

Water is critical to almost every bodily process, including muscle function and recovery. Adequate hydration supports nutrient transport, temperature regulation and overall performance during exercise. It’s difficult to recommend a specific amount to drink as everyone’s needs are different, but always have fluids available throughout the day to avoid getting thirsty.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption

While occasional drinking is acceptable, excessive drinking can impair muscle recovery and have a negative impact on overall health. Need more convincing? A 2023 study showed that heavy drinking can reduce testosterone production.

If you’re a man in your 40s, that’s not something to play around with. What’s fascinating is that the same study found that light to moderate drinking can increase testosterone. Either way, a few drinks here and there is fine, but leave the partying to the young bucks.

Adjust Your Calorie Intake

To determine your calorie requirements based on your objectives it’s important to customize your calorie intake while ensuring you receive the nutrients. If your goal is to build muscle it’s beneficial to have a surplus of calories meaning you consume more calories than what your body needs to maintain its current weight. However a modest increase of 10 20% in calorie intake should suffice. Consuming calories beyond this range will only result in unnecessary fat accumulation that will require subsequent efforts, for its reduction.

Fountain TRT
Break free from Low Testosterone!
Product details:

  • Accurate testosterone measurement
  • Appointment with a doctor
  • Cream and injection options
  • Price: $35 – $199
  • Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fountain TRT helps men restore their testosterone to healthy, normal levels through testosterone therapy. Treatment is a breeze with an online doctor visit. Start your personalised assessment…

The Supplement Stack Men In Their 40s Need

A well-designed training programme and a solid diet are essential when it comes to building muscle. However, a few quality supplements can be the icing on the cake, especially for men in their 40s.

Protein Powder

Protein powder isn’t a supplement—it’s a handy way to boost your daily protein intake. After eating ten chicken breasts in a row savoring a chocolate protein shake can feel like treating yourself to a Dairy Queen experience. Simply use 1 2 scoops as required each day to meet your protein goals.


Creatine increases strength, promotes muscle hypertrophy and aids in faster recovery after exercise. In addition, creatine has cognitive benefits, including improving short-term memory and potentially mitigating age-related cognitive decline. It’s safe, relatively cheap and effective. Every 40-year-old man should take it. All you need is 5 grams a day, taken at any time.


There’s a reason so many people start their day with a big cup of coffee or a caffeinated energy drink. It works. From a sports supplement perspective, caffeine increases energy levels and concentration during exercise, improving performance.

It acts as a central nervous system stimulant, reducing perceived exertion and increasing endurance, ultimately allowing for a more intense and effective workout. In addition, caffeine may have a modest effect on fat loss, contributing to a leaner physique, which is often a goal when building muscle. Take 200-400mg 30-60 minutes before exercise.


A 40 year old man can benefit from taking a multivitamin as it helps to bridge any gaps in his diet. By providing a variety of vitamins and minerals the multivitamin supports overall health. It ensures that the body has all the micronutrients, for optimal muscle function, recovery and a robust immune system. This way the body is better prepared for exercises that build muscles.


Turmeric’s key ingredient is curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. As we age, nagging joint problems become more common. Research shows that curcumin can reduce inflammation enough to limit the use of NSAIDs. Look for a curcumin product that contains black pepper extract for better absorption.

Testosterone Boosters

Testosterone boosters are supplements that consist of vitamins, minerals and herbs with the purpose of enhancing testosterone levels. The way these boosters work varies depending on the ingredients they contain. The majority of testosterone boosters aim to address deficiencies, in vitamins and minerals because optimal testosterone production is hindered when certain vitamins and minerals are lacking. When searching for testosterone boosters it is advisable to consider those that include vitamin D, magnesium, zinc ashwagandha, forskolin and fenugreek.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects To Trying To Build Muscle At 40?

Trying to build muscle at 40 can have many benefits, including improved strength and overall health. However, there are also potential negative side effects to consider. As we age, the risk of injury increases, so it’s important to exercise with proper form and warm-up. Recovery can also take longer, so it is important to prioritise rest and listen to your body.

Excessive training can result in feelings of exhaustion and emotional fatigue. Furthermore certain individuals might encounter frequent occurrences of joint issues or muscle discomfort. It is crucial to seek advice, from a healthcare expert and customize your workout regimen according to your requirements and constraints in order to minimize any possible negative effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a man build muscle after 40?

Yes, you can build muscle after 40. Building lean muscle after 40 is possible and beneficial to men’s health and well-being.

Is it harder to build muscle after 40?

Although there might be challenges associated with age, such, as hormonal fluctuations it is still achievable to build muscle in your 40s by following the appropriate strength training regimen maintaining a balanced diet and making lifestyle choices that support your goals.

Is it too late to get in shape at 40?

Getting in shape is always possible. With a well-designed fitness plan, proper nutrition and consistency, individuals can significantly improve their physical fitness and overall health after the age of 40.

What exercises should I do to build muscle at 40?

As we age it becomes crucial to prioritize exercises that’re gentle on our joints. It’s essential to keep in mind that our muscles respond best to resistance. Incorporate a variety of resistance training techniques, such as barbells, dumbbells, machines, bodyweight exercises and resistance bands, into your workout routine.

How many times a week should a 40-year-old male train?

A 40-year-old man should combine resistance training with aerobic exercise at least three to four times a week, allowing for proper recovery between sessions. Three-day full-body, upper-body and lower-body workouts are great.


Starting a fitness journey to build muscle in your forties is definitely doable. Has its own rewards. It’s important to understand that getting older doesn’t necessarily mean giving up on your fitness goals. While the allure of late night parties and skipping warm ups might fade you’ll find that the benefits of an more satisfying lifestyle make up for it.

In your 40s, the road to better muscle growth is paved with wisdom and a well-thought-out fitness programme. By embarking on this journey, you can look forward to a brighter future. Follow the routines and advice outlined in this article, and you’ll find that building muscle in your 40s is a rewarding and achievable pursuit that can enhance your overall well-being.


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  2. Schwanbeck, S. R., Cornish, S. M., Barss, T., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2020). Effects of Training With Free Weights Versus Machines on Muscle Mass, Strength, Free Testosterone, and Free Cortisol Levels. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Read more
  3. Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. The International Society of Sports Nutrition positions the safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sports, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. Read more
  4. Avgerinos, K. I., Spyrou, N., Bougioukas, K. I., & Kapogiannis, D. (2018). Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Experimental Gerontology. Read more
  5. Guest, N.S., VanDusseldorp, T.A., Nelson, M.T. et al. The International Society of Sports Nutrition position stands for caffeine and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 18, 1 (2021). Read more
  6. Srivastava, S., Saksena, A. K., Khattri, S., Kumar, S., & Dagur, R. S. (2016). Curcuma longa extract reduces inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers in osteoarthritis of the knee: a four-month, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Inflammopharmacology. Read more
  7. Smith, S. J., Lopresti, A. L., Teo, S. Y. M., & Fairchild, T. J. (2021). Examining the Effects of Herbs on Testosterone Concentrations in Men: A Systematic Review. Advances in Nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). Read more
Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy at University of Columbia

Dr. Michael Bonner, a clinical psychologist in Salisbury, MD, received his MD and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1967. Dr. Bonner obtained his MD and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1967. Since retiring from medicine, he has been writing and editing on topics ranging from healthcare policy to basic science.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Dr. Bonner is a sought-after speaker at academic and industry conferences, where he shares insights from his extensive career in psychology and healthcare. His work bridges the gap between clinical practice and academic research, influencing a new generation of professionals and students.

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Brittany Hernandez specializes in assessing supplements, health technologies, and applications. She continually enhances her skills as a health copywriter. With a Bachelor's degree in Translation and Communication and a background in linguistics, Brittany is skilled at converting complex research into accessible, high-quality content. She is highly regarded in the health industry for her keen eye for detail and ability to identify high-quality health and wellness products.


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