Best Workouts For Men Over 40: Our Top 15 To Get You Fit, Strong, And Healthy!

November 16, 2023
An Older Man Exercising

Are you looking for a meaningful, versatile fitness routine to keep you healthy and fit?  Are you a male over age 40?  If you answered yes to these two questions, then you’ve come to the right place!  In this guide, we’ll highlight 15 of the best exercises for men over 40.

These exercises were specifically chosen to provide the kind of workout males need after 40, as the body changes with age.  There’s nothing saying that younger men can’t also use this advice, of course, but it’s really meant for men over 40 who want to stay in shape and remain healthy as they age to 50, 60, and beyond.

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As with all of our guides, it’s important to note that older men, or those who have existing health conditions or restrictions, should consult a doctor or healthcare professional before beginning an exercise or fitness routine.

This guide features exercises that can be dangerous for individuals with bone or tissue problems, heart problems, and other chronic or acute health conditions. If, however, you are in good health, and looking to stay that way, then this is definitely an exercise guide for you!

Goals Of An Exercise Routine For Men Over 40 

The goals for most exercises and fitness routines aimed at men over 40 are largely similar to those aimed at younger demographics.  Specifically, most of these exercises seek to do one (or more) of the following:

  • 1 build or retain muscle mass
  • 2 burn calories to help maintain or lose weight
  • 3 maintain or improve strength
  • 4 improve energy, cardiac output, and stamina.  

All of these goals are important for fitness at any age.  

Best Workouts For Men Over 40: Our Top 15 To Get You Fit, Strong, And Healthy!

However, as men get older, it becomes even more important to get sufficient workouts in all of these key areas, since hormone levels in the body start to decrease, and metabolism starts to slow.  Without a sufficient workout routine for men over 40, you’ll find it far easier to lose muscle, gain weight, and become exhausted more quickly.

It may require a bit more work to achieve the same kinds of results as younger men, but with the right exercises, it’s entirely possible to remain fit, strong, and healthy long after 40!

Top 15 Workouts For Men Over 40

Below, we highlight the top 15 exercises for men over 40.  Just a note of caution before we begin; however – be sure to read up, watch video tutorials, or get help from a professional trainer before using any equipment or completing any exercises that you are unfamiliar with.  Also, remember to always warm up and stretch before any workout so that you avoid straining or injuring yourself!

#1 – Running Or Jogging

Running or jogging may seem simplistic, but it’s enormously beneficial.  In fact, simplicity can be a major advantage, too – it doesn’t require anything but a place to run or jog, and a good pair of shoes.  No fancy or expensive equipment is required!  

Running or jogging works out several muscle groups, primarily those in the legs and thighs, and also is a great way to increase heart rate, breathing, and blood flow, serving as an excellent cardio and endurance/stamina workout as well.

#2 – Swimming

While swimming does require equipment (a pool to swim in), many gyms, fitness centers, and publicly-available facilities exist today and are well worth seeking out.  Like running or jogging, swimming provides a great mix of cardio/endurance, muscle building and toning, and calorie burning.  

Depending on your swimming strokes or swimming styles, you can work out your abs, arms, shoulders, legs, thighs, hips, and more.  Swimming can be enormously calorie intensive, too, with the added resistance of the water acting as a force multiplier and helping super-charge your weight loss or weight maintenance efforts.

Swimming is a great choice for a full body exercise. It’s also a great workout for men over 40 if you struggle with weight or have limited mobility issues. Working out in the water can help increase your mobility, allowing you to get a better exercise in.

#3 – Cycling

Cycling is another exercise where you have a lot of control over the intensity of the workout.  Whether you cycle outside on a bike, or indoors on a recumbent bike or similar machine is entirely up to you.  Leisurely bike riding won’t provide as dramatic and impactful a workout as uphill/inclined riding or riding at high speed, but that’s all at your discretion and capabilities. You can build an entire workout plan for men over 40 built around cycling. 

Again, working out the legs, thighs, and abdominals are the core muscle groups targeted by cycling.  More important, however, is that moderate to intensive cycling is great for cardio, strength, endurance, and burning calories.

Best Workouts For Men Over 40: Our Top 15 To Get You Fit, Strong, And Healthy!

#4 – Seated Cable Row

The seated cable row (or comparable exercises depending on your equipment availability) aims to work out the upper body, both in terms of strength and muscle toning.  

It may not be as high-impact as some of the other workouts on this list, but it’s important – among many workouts that focus on heart rate, endurance, and the lower body – to maintain a strong upper body as well.  That’s one of the main functions of this exercise, and therefore worthy of inclusion on our list.

#5 – Dumbbell Curls

Similar to the logic used above with #4, arm strength and muscle tone are very important and can often be neglected in workout routines that solely focus on cardio, and even some general fitness routines.  

Dumbbell curls provide a good workout to the muscles of your arms, as well as ancillary areas such as the shoulders, to maintain range of motion, strength, and muscle tone. 

Take a dumbbell in each hand and start with your back rested against a chair or bench. Sit upright with one of your arms on your knee and use only your arms to curl the dumbbell. Do not use your back or any other part of your body.

#6 – Leg Extensions

Another workout that requires some equipment, leg extensions provide a thorough test of flexibility and strength for your legs.  They also work out the core of the body, toning and tightening abs and working the glutes, too.  

Leg extensions are not typically high-impact, and a considerable number of reps can be undertaken, even by beginners.  Compared to leg presses, leg extensions are much safer for older adults and less likely to cause strain or muscle injuries, so they’re a good choice for an over 40 fitness routine.

#7 – Dumbbell Bench Press Or Incline Press

Depending on your comfort level, you can complete either dumbbell bench presses, dumbbell incline presses, or both.  Both work out the upper body and are great for strength and muscle tone.  Be sure to stick with dumbbells of an appropriate weight for your skill level, and don’t overdo it at first.  

An important thing to remember with workouts for men over 40 is to always be smart and have a spotter.  The incline version of this workout also works your core and may be a more comfortable and less intense position for older individuals compared to the bench press version of this exercise. 

#8 – Lat Pulldowns

Lat pulldowns have long been a staple of many home exercise equipment brands, as well as gyms and training facilities.  They provide a workout to the lats (naturally) and help build muscle, tone, and improve or maintain range of motion throughout much of the upper body – arms, shoulders, and more.  Be sure not to use too much weight or resistance for your skill level.

Best Workouts For Men Over 40: Our Top 15 To Get You Fit, Strong, And Healthy!

#9 – Pushups

A standard of physical education classes and training programs everywhere, it’s hard to improve on the simplicity or workout that you can obtain from doing a series of pushups.  It requires no equipment, which is a nice bonus.  

While pushups may be too intense for older adults in their 60s or beyond, men in the 40-60 range should absolutely include some pushups in their regular workout routine.  They work the arms and upper body, legs, and abdominals/core, and can be very useful for weight loss or maintenance, cardio, and endurance.

#10 – Step Ups

Step-ups, to whatever level or degree you feel comfortable with, should be included in any 40+ fitness routine.  They help the knees, hips, and lower back maintain a full range of motion and flexibility while providing a good muscle workout to the lower body as well.  More intense step-ups can really get the heart going and blood flowing, serving as a good cardio option, too.

#11 – Weighted Or Unweighted Squats

Squats, done with dumbbells, kettlebells, or without weights of any kind, should be incorporated into a workout routine when possible.  

Weighted squats may be too high-impact for some older individuals.  Choose a degree of difficulty and amount of weight (or no weight at all) based on your fitness, health, and skill level.  Squats work the thighs and glutes extremely well and can get your heart rate up fairly quickly as well. 

Best Workouts For Men Over 40: Our Top 15 To Get You Fit, Strong, And Healthy!

#12 – Basic Aerobics

A basic aerobic routine is also something you should consider working into your regimen from time to time.  No equipment is required, and this can even be done in the comfort of your home.  Jumping jacks, windmills, toe touches, and a lot of stretching/range of motion exercises will really help maintain flexibility and coordination as you age, while serving to raise the heart rate and burn some calories, too.

#13 – Incline Workout

For stamina and endurance, nothing beats an incline workout.  This can include an incline or climbing machine, or a high-inclination treadmill session.  

The incline creates a much more dynamic and difficult workload for the body, which works the muscles while boosting heart rate, breathing, and exertion as well.  Just be sure not to overdo it!

#14 – Short Cardio Training

Lengthy, high-intensity cardio training or other high-intensity workouts may not be ideal for older adults.  However, short cardio training – on the order of 5 to 10 minutes – is usually considered far safer and fairly effective as well.  

Shuttle runs, sprints, squat thrusts, fast step-ups, and other exercises can be integrated to suit your experience and health status, providing short, high-intensity (but relatively low impact) cardio workouts for heart health, energy level, endurance, and overall health.

#15 – Yoga

People seeking workouts at age 40 or above are often focused on cardio and building muscle or burning calories and neglect flexibility and range of motion.  This is an important area, especially as we age since our range of motion typically decreases, and issues like back problems, shoulder or neck problems, and similar become more commonplace.  

Various yoga poses and fitness routines can be helpful not only in flexibility and range of motion for the body but in clearing the mind and serving as a bit of meditation and self-care as well. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Workouts For Men Over 40

How Much Exercise Should A 40-Year-Old Man Get?

Most experts recommend that adults get around 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise each day, or a total of around 200 minutes per week.  This decreases to around 150 minutes per week for men and women over age 65.  

It’s perfectly reasonable to maintain or alter your exercise routine every other day, or to focus on certain muscle groups one day and others on another day.  You can also mix-and-match more strenuous exercises with low-impact workouts like walking or jogging, and modify any exercise program to suit your specific health needs or concerns.

Should I Start Exercising For The First Time At 40?

It’s never too late to start a regular exercise program or realize the benefits of regular exercise on your overall health, strength, fitness, and stamina.  Of course, if you haven’t had regular exercise on an ongoing basis, it’s best to start slow and small, rather than jump from nothing into a regular, 30-minute intense workout every day.  

Be sure you are healthy enough for vigorous exercise, and consult your doctor if required.  Add exercises incrementally, and increase intensity slowly but steadily over the course of several weeks.  You don’t want to injure yourself or shock your body but ease into a new, more active lifestyle.

What Exercises Should Older Men Avoid?

Older men should avoid any exercises that would put an undue strain on their bodies (as should older women).  This can be specific to any kinds of injuries or health concerns you may have, or more general in scope.  

The age at which individuals need to start avoiding or modifying exercises will vary based on health, fitness level, and other factors.  

In general, though, most experts suggest avoiding or decreasing exercises like ab crunches, weighted squats, deadlifts, and intense cardio.  Your body’s resiliency and ability to handle large impacts and shocks decrease with age, and that should be your primary consideration to remain safe and healthy when working out.

How Can I Prevent Injury When Working Out?

Preventing injuries during workouts is crucial for individuals of all ages, but it becomes even more important as we age. As an older man, your body may not recover as quickly as it used to, and you might have certain physical limitations.

Start by consulting with a medical professional before beginning any exercise routine for men over 40. Always have a warm-up period where you start light and easy and focus on flexibility and mobility as well.

Is Strength Training Good For a Man Over 40?

Yes, strength training is highly beneficial when done a couple of times a week. As men reach their 40s and beyond, they may experience a natural decline in muscle mass and bone density, known as sarcopenia and osteopenia/osteoporosis, respectively. 

Strength training can help counteract these age-related changes and offer numerous advantages for overall health and well-being.


The most important thing to remember is that the only bad exercise for men over 40 is, really, no exercise at all.  Not everyone is going to be or wants to be the pumped-up buff guy in the office.  But, most men over 40 would still like to maintain their weight, stay in good shape, maintain their strength, and offset any health or physique declines associated with aging.  

Utilizing exercises from our list above will help men over 40 remain fit, strong, healthy, and active. To your health!

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