A Guide to Gaining Muscle After 40

Sharing is caring!

People now say that 40 is the new 30. If that is the case then it is important that your 40-year old body starts looking gaining muscle after 40more like a 30-year old body, right? The problem is that for most of us, passing that age milestone was greeted with extra aches and pains to our body as well as a lagging metabolism.

Unlike the joyous springs from the 20’s to 30’s, the trip forward now is getting a bit more difficult. But that just means it is time to take advantage of something we didn’t have as much of in our youth – wisdom!

I wise man knows that there are smarter ways to do things. Gaining muscle after 40 falls into that category. So if you are ready to revamp your training schedule and kick your body into high gear with this age defying guide just keep reading!

Training Guide:


Your diet is absolutely the most critical aspect of this program. No longer can a young metabolism fight off poor eating habits. The focus needs to be on proper balances of protein, carbohydrates, and fats as well as supplements.

For calories consumed a solid ballpark figure is taking your weight and multiplying it by 15. So a 200lb. person would consume 3000 calories per day. Those calories should be divided with 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fats. The fats and carbs can overlap a little but the protein needs to be constant for muscle building. You should also take a good multi vitamin daily as well as regular Fish Oil supplementation. Protein shakes are a good choice for post workout fuel.

Foods consumed should be fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins. It is perfectly fine to occasionally go off the reservation, but if your goal is a great body then focus will be the key. The general recommendation is 4 to 5 meals per day with 1-2 snacks to ensure you are properly fueled for workouts and recovery. Also plenty of water is a must and avoid excess sugar from candy, soda, coffee, etc.


With the body’s metabolism naturally slowing down, cardio becomes critical as well. The goal is to keep your body lean and mean. Also you want to avoid injuries and cardio is a great way to warm up. You also want to keep your heart healthy.

The best thing to do is start each workout session with cardio; a simple 30 minute program of low to mid intensity cardio of walking on the treadmill or an elliptical are a good choice. The machines have natural programs for 30 minute stretches that include a light warm-up and cool down.


Finally the actual weight portion! Not quite. With injuries playing a larger factor as age advances, proper warm-ups are critical. If you have already done a 30 minute cardio session then you have great blood flow. Your body should be loose and ready for some light stretching.

For lifting you aren’t go to train like a 20-year old. First the repetition ranges are going to be higher; your goal is the 10 to 20 range. You should do no more than 4 sets of any exercise and make sure that you warm up fully and only perform maximum effort (for 10+ reps) on the last set. The goal is to not stress joints and ligaments at this age but still build muscle and strength.

For exercises you should target 3 different ones on major muscle groups (Chest, shoulders, back, quads) and 2 for minor muscle groups (biceps, triceps, abs, hamstrings, calves). You should try and do only 1 dumbbell or barbell exercise for each muscle group and use machines for the other 1 or 2 exercises. Unfortunately getting older means the muscle stabilizers are getting weaker but using machines allows for safer lifting.

Your exercise form should be as perfect as possible with slow and steady repetitions. This will provide maximum muscle stimulation and less chance of injury. After each body part (or post-workout) make sure to stretch those muscles to speed up recovery.

As the body is older you will need more recovery time. Do not be afraid to take an extra day or two off if your body is not recovered; work smarter.


For more information about specifics such as Cardio options, nutrition basics, or sample lifting routines you can check some of our other articles in the archives.

Sharing is caring!