If you’re trying to get into shape and jumpstart weight loss in your 40s, the first step is getting into three good-for-you habits: eating a healthy diet, performing regular cardio, and strength training. Although cardio and aerobic exercise is great for your heart health and working on your general fitness, prioritizing strength training is key to losing weight—especially as you hit 40 and above. This is because as you age, your metabolism drops, and you lose lean mass each year if you don’t do anything to maintain it.
Lifting weights helps build muscle, elevates your metabolism, and burns more calories post-workout when compared to aerobic exercise. This is because of the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. Your body will require more energy to get back to baseline after a strength session compared to cardio. So if you want to lose fat and age gracefully into your 40s and beyond, make strength exercises your focus.
When it comes to strength training, a majority of your exercises should include compound movements. They’re the biggest bang-for-your-buck, engage more muscle groups, and burn more calories. If you’re just starting off and not sure what to do, I have you covered. Here are a few strength training exercises you can do to help jumpstart weight loss goals. And next, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Begin this movement by holding one dumbbell in a vertical fashion in front of your chest. Keeping your core tight, push your hips back, and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive through your heels and hips to stand back up, flexing your quads and glutes to finish. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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Grab the wide grip attachment on a seated row machine, and place your feet firmly on the footpad. Pull the handle out, then straighten your legs fully. Keep your chest tall, and drive your elbows back towards your hips, squeezing your back and lats hard to finish. Straighten your arms all the way, and get a good stretch in your shoulder blades before performing another rep. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Sit back into your chest press machine with your arms on the handles. Keep your core tight, and press the weight forward until your arms are fully extended. Flex your chest and triceps to finish, then lower the weight back under control to starting position before performing another rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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For this exercise, you’ll hold a pair of dumbbells, and take a long stride backward with one leg. Firmly plant your heel down, then lower yourself until your back knee touches the ground. Push through with your front leg to come back up, then repeat with the other side. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.
Tim Liu, CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more