Building muscles after 40

by Editorial Team
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When I first turned 40, I thought my body wouldn’t be able to withstand the muscle-building exercises which I used to do in my 20s or even 30s– but I was wrong, totally wrong.

Muscle building is not impossible for men at 40. Many give excuses that they have a lot of responsibilities to carry out. They are always busy to pay attention and build their muscle mass.

These excuses aren’t convincing enough.

There are a lot of benefits to building muscles after 40. As we age, our bodies undergo a lot of biochemical changes ranging from metabolism to bone brittleness (A.L. Boskey and R. Coleman, 2010).

To balance these changes you must be doing regular exercises. This is because the human muscles, tissues, and tendons tend to lose elasticity with age. 

If you’re wondering how to go about muscle building after the age of 40, you need to continue reading this article. I’ll be putting you through some practical guidelines I tested myself that yielded positive results.


Today, I’ll share three practical tips that will help you achieve your muscle-building goal when you are above 40 years. They’re:

  1. Weightlifting
  2. Stretching and
  3. Proper nutrition

1. Weightlifting

Even at 40 years of age, it’s never too late to build muscles via weightlifting. Although many people are discouraged because they feel it is no more effective at such age. However, this is wrong.

Some practical weightlifting training to incorporate into your daily schedule are:

  • The Barbell pullover method: Position about 7kg barbell on the ground and lay on your back. Pull the barbell over your head, down to your thighs, and back to your head position. This training mainly targets lats, upper pectorals, and triceps muscles.
  • The upright row: This mainly targets shoulder muscles. The weight is a bit lighter than that of the barbell pullover method. You raise the bar to somewhere around your nipple level and allow it to hit your shoulders. You feel much stronger when you carry objects on your upper arms. You will carry two dumbbells, each of about 4kg. Slowly bend your elbows and bring the weights up to your chest region. If the weight touches your shoulders, just stop right there. Hold on for a couple of seconds before you lower the weight to its original position. Try this 10-12 times daily.
  • The Bent Over BB Row: This mainly targets muscles located at the lower back, biceps, mid-traps, and lats. Here, you grip the weight from the floor and take it halfway your body, take it down and repeat the procedure until you are satisfied.

You could also try some body weight training:

  • Push-ups and squats: This helps to strengthen the muscles in the arms, lower body, and chest region.
  • Against-the-wall planks: This helps to improve the core parts of the body, and more than 20 muscles in total are strengthened. Hold the planks for about 15 seconds and work up 50 seconds per set.

2. Stretching

If you’re desperate to improve your muscles’ flexibility, stretching is one of the few exercises to include in your daily routine. It aids mobility around joints and also enhances good exercise posture. Ideally, stretching exercises such as tai chi, yoga, and pilates are highly recommended for people over the age of 40.

3. Nutrition

Nutrition must be gradually changed when you hit 40. Certain foods are not healthy for the body when you are 40 and above. You may need to cut out carbs and extra calories at this age. Since the goal is to maximize muscle gain, you must ultimately reduce fat and fatty foods.

In the next few lines, I’ll be talking about specific foods to include in your diet.


The choices of food you’re committing yourself to can influence your muscle building success. Firstly, you need to know that your muscle needs calories to grow. If you consume the right amount of calories daily, you’ll be able to maintain your existing lean muscle mass and even get stronger. Although you may not be able to generate new muscle fiber any longer.

You should consume as much as 1,200 calories per day to meet the muscle-building requirement.

In addition to that, protein also plays a vital role in building healthy muscles. However, extra care must be taken so that you don’t take more than the recommended 0.7g of protein per pound of your bodyweight.

Some essential foods that can aid muscle building include Cottage cheese, Eggs, Skinless chicken, and Whey protein.


There are several health benefits attached to building your muscles. I’ll be limiting this guide to just four of them:

  1. Improved bone health
  2. Heart rate boost
  3. Weight control
  4. Hormonal balance

1. Improved bone health

Muscles are the strings that pull on the surface of your bones. So, the stronger the muscles, the stronger the bones underneath. Muscle building invariably helps to keep the bone healthier and stronger.

If your bones are fragile, you’re thus prone to having fractures. And when you have a fracture, moving around will become much harder. You may not even enjoy the next few years of your life.

2. Heart rate boost

There’s an inverse proportionality between the percentage of lean muscle in the human body and the likelihood of heart disease (Preethi Srikanthan et al., 2016). This implies that the higher the quantity of lean muscle on your bones, the higher your risk of developing heart-related problems.

It’s noteworthy that heart diseases have become one of the leading causes of death in the world today (Kevin Mc Namara et al., 2019).

3. Weight control

As you’re subjecting your body to various body-building exercises, it becomes almost impossible for unwanted materials such as fats to accumulate in your body. You barely have issues with body fats under regular physical and body-building exercises.

4. Hormonal balance

Muscle-building workouts trigger the level of HGH (Human growth hormones) in the body. Although, your rate of metabolism, natural body composition and nutrition play a huge role in making this become a reality for you (C. J. Pritzlaff et al., 1985)


You don’t need to commit to cardiovascular workout if you don’t know how often it should be done. This is a delicate decision, so you need to be fully aware of the implication of your action before going into it. Too much of this exercise may lead to injury, while deficiency may result in low output.

Every week, I’ll advise you stick to 25 minutes averagely per day for two to three days per week. For you to maximize muscle growth, you must ensure that you devote yourself to training for a minimum of two to a maximum of three days every week (Brad J. Schoenfeld et al., 2016).


  • Before you embark on any in-gym or street jogging exercise, do some dynamic stretches to increase the flexibility of your muscles.
  • Begin every workout session gradually; don’t be in a rush.
  • Warm your body up before the exercise session. It will help your body get ready and put your heartbeat rate at a normal level.
  • Wear the right workout gear. If you’re strolling down the street, for instance, wear a long pair of socks that can somewhat protect your knees in case of an accident.
  • Ensure that your exercise posture is perfect every time. Remember, your body isn’t what it used to be some twenty years ago, so a bad sitting or standing posture may cause injury.
  • Instead of using one set of muscles, vary your workout and distribute pressure evenly.
  • Pay attention to your body reaction. Know when to stop.
  • Before your weightlifting session in the morning, always spend the first 15 minutes on cardio equipment. This will help improve your blood circulation. It will also increase your core temperature before the weight lifting begins.
  • For upper body exercises, keep the weight lifting repetition between 9-12 times on the average. For lower body exercises, 12-20 times is advised. Any range out of this may wear your ligaments and break your joints.
  • Remember that recovery is as important as taking some rest. Always ensure you spend enough time to recover after a major injury. If you don’t allow your injury to heal, you’re subjecting your muscle to more pressure, which can cause your tendons to break anytime.

To Conclude

Muscle building has a lot of health benefits ranging from bone maintenance, hormonal balance, and general well-being. For over ten years, the tips I’ve provided up there have helped me to achieve my muscle building goal and the fact that they’re practical. I believe they will equally work for you. 

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