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Exercises to Build Strength after 40

Exercises to Build Strength after 40

by Tanner Neuberger, PT, DPT, TDN Level 14 Comments

It’s 2023, and you’re another year older, and multiple sources have emphasized over your lifetime that your muscle strength and size will decline with age and take a noticeable sharp decline after 30, right? Well, that trend is largely context dependent. Age-related changes will indeed occur, but the magnitude will be largely based on an individual’s activity status and resistance-training status. Individuals who are sedentary are the most at risk for this aging phenomenon. If you implement resistance training and keep your nutrition in check, you can effectively slow or hold off age-related changes in muscle mass and strength.

The following exercises listed will be movement patterns that target large amounts of muscle mass, which have been shown to stimulate muscle growth and strength gains consistently and effectively. The consensus on the repetition range for strength gains is 3-6 with a hard effort, and the repetition range for effectively stimulating hypertrophy can range from 5-30 with a hard effort. The number of sets to perform is typically 2-4 sets, and you should be able to progress your repetitions performed or weight used over time for effective programming. Many nuances within that last sentence will have researchers and trainers debating on the optimal amount of work to be done, but as long as you can see measurable progress, you are on the right track. Depending on a person’s skill level, you can use a machine, cable, dumbbell, or barbell to complete these movements. With that disclaimer out of the way, here are the movement patterns to be used to build strength after 40:

1. Squat

Ex. can be done with a leg press, goblet squat, or barbell squat.

Exercises to Build Strength after 40 Exercises to Build Strength after 40

2. Hinge

Ex. 45-degree back extension, dumbbell RDL, deadlift.

Exercises to Build Strength after 40 Exercises to Build Strength after 40

3. Press

Ex. machine press, dumbbell bench, barbell bench.

Exercises to Build Strength after 40 Exercises to Build Strength after 40

4. Pull

Ex. machine row, pulldown, barbell row.

Exercises to Build Strength after 40 Exercises to Build Strength after 40

5. Carry

Ex. single-arm or double-arm dumbbell carry/farmer’s walk.

Exercises to Build Strength after 40 Exercises to Build Strength after 40 Exercises to Build Strength after 40

The patterns are easy to learn and adaptable to your skill level. They are also easy to implement into a progressive resistance-training program that will help you build strength after 40 and stave off those age-related changes. If you need help deciding what exercises will best suit you, schedule your Free Assessment with Athletico today to meet with a therapist to discuss your options.

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*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Distefano G, Goodpaster BH. Effects of Exercise and Aging on Skeletal Muscle. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2018;8(3):a029785. Published 2018 Mar 1. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a029785
2. Koster A, Ding J, Stenholm S, et al. Does the amount of fat mass predict age-related loss of lean mass, muscle strength, and muscle quality in older adults?. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011;66(8):888-895. doi:10.1093/gerona/glr070

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  1. Carol Spitcaufsky

    Thank you for providing this information. I’m a 2 times patient and have been extremely pleased with my PT progress. The Gladstone, MO location has exceptional staff. They have successfully got me through a hip replacement and shoulder injury. Thank you Eric Rondeau and staff!!!

  2. Eileen Bushell

    I nearly fell off my chair when I saw those bar bells! Not the kind of exercises I was expecting! Way too difficult! I thought this would be simple exercises! If you can do those exercises you are not in need of strength building! Obviously you need to describe this page better.

  3. Debbie Burch

    I am very pleased with my PT, Matthew, as well as all other employees at Athletico in Flower Mound. This is a first time rehab therapy for me due to a complete hip replacement. I am extremely pleased with my progress and would say that I am 95% back to normal now. I am due for the other hip to be replaced in the Spring and I will definitely be back for that therapy. I highly recommend Athletic at Flower Mound.

  4. Patricia Lydon

    This is my fourth time coming to Athletico. I’ve always been pleased with my therapists and treatments.

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