If you’re a man over 40 not only do you need something effective to build lean muscle and lose fat, but it needs to be time saving as well.
Men over 40 haven’t got time to be training every day in the gym doing lots of exercises, lots of sets and lots of reps, this simply isn’t needed to be effective.
If you’ve been following Lean Over 40 for Men and my work, you’ll know I emphasise compound movements as super effective for men over 40.
Compound movements train 2-3 larger muscle groups at the same time, are joint friendly and time saving.
You can literally train your entire body using only 5 compound exercises, if you split the body in half and did an upper body workout A and a lower body workout B, you could get a great time saving workout done in 40 minutes (including warmups).
The great thing about these time saving workouts is they’re more productive than longer workouts that incorporate lots of isolation exercises, lots of sets and lots of reps.
For men over 40, compound movements have the following major benefits:
Build lean muscle
Even if you were training 4-6 days per week and doing lots of different exercises you wouldn’t gain any added benefits from training more.
Most Effective Strategy for Men Over 40
The best strategy for men over 40 who are looking to build lean muscle, lose fat and look awesome is to concentrate on a small pool of compound movements that train the entire body.
That means every time you go into the gym, you’ll be getting the best bang for your buck on every workout you do and every exercise you perform.
For example, if you’re performing an upper body workout A, it could look something like this as a starting point:
Bench Press or Incline Press
Dumbbell shoulder press
Pull down or pull-up
As you get stronger, you could replace the pull-down with the pull-up, beginning with body weight pullups and then moving into weighted pull-ups.
If you get stronger on the pull-up and eventually put weight around your waist, you’ll get excellent back and biceps development with very little time invested.
If you’re not capable of doing a pull-up you could simply use the assisted pull-up machine until you’re strong enough to be able to do a body weight pull-up.
Some men prefer to stick exclusively to the pulldown machine which is perfectly fine.
If you did the upper workout on a Monday, you could do a lower body workout on Thursday, training each body part once per week.
Then as you progress from week to week you simply add small increments to all your compound movements, making them more challenging but not making them longer by adding in more exercises.
This means you’ll be getting stronger and leaner without cutting into your time.
Another way of going about this is to train the body over 3 workouts per week performed on non-consecutive days i.e. Mon-Wed-Fri.
As we get older, we need to pay more attention to our recovery ability and strength training tears down the muscle fibres that take time to heal.
I see men over 40 trying to get lean by doing excessive amounts of cardio, going to “classes” or using workout programs such as P90X or insanity that simply aren’t designed for older men.
While that might work over the short term, it will burn you out leading to frustration and eventually injury.
Men over 40 need to train within their ability to recover using exercises that train 2-3 larger muscle groups at once, boost testosterone and are joint friendly.
That’s why you’ll be very hard pressed to find any exercises that are more productive than compound movements.
What if I can’t do a compound exercise due to injury?
Some men are unable to perform some compound movements due to structural injuries. The barbell squat for example is an excellent exercise, but some men haven’t got the hip flexibility and suffer from a bad back.
If that’s you, then simply find a safe alternative. For example, the leg press is a good substitute for the squat as it takes the stress off the lower back and isn’t hard to master.
That said, if you can squat and don’t suffer from back problems you should take advantage of this powerful exercise.
The barbell squat not only trains the muscles of the legs but drives up testosterone and burns fat in the process.
It’s because the exercise is so demanding that you’ll get so much from it.
The key point is to master the compound exercises that you’re able to perform safely and progressively, if that means finding an alternative then so be it.
Can you really make progress training 2-3 days per week with short workouts?
Yes! Not only will you make progress, but it’s a better option than training more frequently and doing longer workouts.
As a man over 40, strength training 2-3 times per week is exactly what your body needs!
You will short circuit your results if you try and train more often, which is why I recommend training 3 times per week at the maximum.
If you try and train more often, naturally your appetite will start to climb, making it harder to maintain the calorie deficit needed to lean down.
Bottom line on time saving workouts
It’s important that men over 40 focus on compound movements that cover the entire body. This can be achieved with 2-3 workouts each week taking no more than 40-60 minutes to complete.
Add in the correct nutrition strategy to lean down quickly and perform moderate cardio such as walking and not only will you save a lot of time, but you’ll be surprised at the results you get.