Getting Fit At 40 | Full Body Workout Program

If you think being over 40 is being over the hill that just means it’s high time you put that hill to use with some inclined runs.

By now, being over 40, you’ll have seen the Rocky training montage, in which he runs up the steps leading to the Philadelphia Museum. Primarily, this is a hardcore calorie burner, with inclined runs working more muscle fibres than treadmill runs; Rocky is strengthening his quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, core and shoulders as he pumps his way to the top.

The steps are also a way for Rocky to measure his progress. You may not be preparing for a prize fight, but if you’re concerned about losing your touch, setting yourself goals to achieve is a great way of motivating yourself while checking your health and fitness is where you want it to be.

Why Is 40 Significant?

Well, you could be the man of steel but from the age of 40 muscle atrophy naturally kicks in. Bone density diminishes. Signals sent from your brain take longer for your muscles to receive. The heart also pumps blood around the body at a slower rate, meaning it takes you longer to recover. Because you are more tired you are less motivated and perhaps less active than you were ten years ago.

This is where Rocky and the steps come in.

The answer to solving the effects of ageing on your body is an exercise regimen that involves higher frequency lifting, all-over body workouts, and training that promotes bone density and muscle development.

Work As Many Muscle Groups As You Can

This means making the most of compound and standing lifts. Compound lifts – particularly when stood up – exercise multiple muscle groups and joints. This means that you are not only strengthening your body and countering the effects that aging has on muscle atrophy, you are also burning a higher amount of calories by putting more muscle fibres to work.

Why is standing up relevant? Impact exercises such as running and hiking are effective for strengthening bone density. The same applies to any weightlifting for which you’re standing with gravity coming into play. By standing you will also put to work stabilising muscles that you would not otherwise use to the same degree when sitting or lying down.

Whereas it’s good to pick a strength and improve it, you need to ensure that you are hitting all of your muscle groups. This will also effectively rival bad posture as you get older.

Day 1

  • Standing shoulder press: 3 x 10
  • Standing lateral raise (dumbbells): 3 x 10
  • Standing front raise (dumbbells): 3 x 10
  • Stomach crunches: 3 x 20
  • Squats: 3 x 10
  • 15 minutes low intensity running

Day 2

  • Seated row: 3 x 12
  • Lateral pulldown: 3 x 12
  • Standing barbell curl: 3 x 12
  • Straight leg raises: 3 x 10
  • Deadlifts: 3 x 12
  • 15 minutes low intensity running

Day 3

  • Bench press: 3 x 12
  • Standing cable fly: 3 x 12
  • Close grip standing shoulder press: 3 x 12
  • Overhead tricep extension: 3 x 12
  • Abs roller: 3 x 12
  • 15 minutes low intensity running

This workout isn’t necessarily about getting ripped, it’s about doing enough to counter the aforementioned effects of ageing muscle atrophy. Three days a week is the minimum requirement based on active rest days, which can include all manner of low impact and low-intensity cardio exercise.

It’s important to create markers for your progress. Keeping a workout planner or a simple notebook allows you to chart increases in the amount of weight you lift, the speed and inclination of runs and other variables that see you upping your energy input.


Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Daniel Speakman

Daniel Speakman

Writer and expert

Dan Speakman is our editor and level 3 qualified Personal Trainer. Having spent time in Australia, he has experience in planning and delivering exercise plans to beginners and advanced athletes — both in the UK and down under.

Dan has also run successful weight-loss camps across the UK, alongside regular training seminars, covering all areas of gym-based training. He also runs weekly fitness boot camps and spin classes.

When he’s not working, or in the gym, Dan enjoys travelling to sunnier destinations, eating out, and trying exciting new foods.

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