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Strength Training For Women Over 40 [Benefits & Program]

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a woman is working out with a dumbbell_Strength Training For Women Over 40
Natasha Caleel post Reviewer Natasha Caleel post Reviewer
Verified by Natasha Caleel
MS in Occupational Therapy, BS in Kinesiology, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Coach

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Many women want to keep their bodies looking young and strong but are nervous about doing strength training in fear of getting “bulky.” Strength training, however, should be a routine activity for women over 40, as it helps with muscle tone and definition, bone density, fat loss, and overall general health. 

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of lifting weights for women over 40 who want to stay healthy and strong. 

Do Strength Workouts Differ For Women Over 40?

Weight training workouts can be appropriate for all ages, but special considerations may be taken for women over 40 due to physiological changes occurring in the body. 

It is common to lose muscle as we get older, and women are at a higher risk than men of developing sarcopenia, a loss of muscle tissue with age.

So it is essential to focus on the quality of the weightlifting exercise performed and give the body appropriate rest to maximize lean mass gain and reverse sarcopenic effects. [1] 

Likewise, women over 40 may have decreased flexibility and mobility, especially if they haven’t been physically active throughout their life. So they should spend more time warming up to increase mobility and prevent injuries both in and out of the gym. [2] [3]

We also need to take into account prior injuries and joint health. Although this is not a reason to stay away from weight lifting, the exercises performed should focus on strengthening weaknesses or imbalances rather than exacerbating them.

5 Reasons to Try Strength Training

Strength training is a great activity for women over the age of 40 who want to stay healthy. In this section, we outline the main benefits of strength training and why women aged 40 and above should embrace it.

Stronger Bones

Women who participate in resistance training may benefit from increased bone density, decreasing the likelihood of osteoporosis developing. Having stronger bones also lowers the incidence of fractures, which can seriously impact one’s overall health with age. [4]

Increased Muscle Mass

Lifting weights is linked to improved muscle mass, which ultimately prevents the onset of sarcopenia, which is the reduction in volume, strength, and tone of muscle tissues. 

Having strong muscles also prevents falls, which in turn reduces the incidence of fractures. Increased muscle mass also helps maintain good mobility leading to a better quality of life. [2] 

Improved Balance and Proprioception

Strength training can help women over 40 maintain good balance and proprioception, important aspects of injury prevention.

Decreased Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease

Lifting weights can also strengthen the lungs and heart, decrease blood pressure, and help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. All these factors lead to a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. [5] [6]

Improved Body Composition = Improved Confidence!

Weightlifting helps women over 40 build more muscle. Having more lean muscle mass makes us stronger and healthier, but it also makes us look more toned, ultimately boosting confidence and self-esteem. [7] [8] 

3-Day Weight Lifting Program For Women Over 40

Weight lifting workouts have several benefits for women over 40, which is why it is often suggested as a physical activity for this population segment. There are many different training styles and approaches, so it is always best to find what works for you and your unique needs. 

If you want to achieve a beach body for women over 40, full-body workouts that target all sections of the body rather than only specific areas can be quite effective. However, muscle-specific workouts, such as those that focus on toning up the bum or building the thighs, can be helpful if you want to pay extra attention to those areas. 

Below you can find a 3-day weight lifting program designed to tone and strengthen the whole body. 

Each session targets both bigger and smaller muscles with a rep range appropriate for hypertrophy and strength. Each day focuses on different muscle groups to avoid overtraining.

These routines should take approximately 45-90 minutes, depending on the number of sets and repetitions performed.

Related article: How to Warm Up Before Lifting Weights

Session 1: Chest and Triceps

ExerciseSetsTime / RepsRest Time
Warm-up – Wall Presses2-330 sec60 sec
Overhead Triceps Extension4-5860 sec
Incline Push Ups4-56-890 sec
Dumbbell Fly41260 sec
Cable Triceps Pushdowns 410-1260 sec
Chest Press Machine4-56-890 sec
Dumbbell Standing Front Raises31260 sec
Triceps Kick Backs312-1560 sec
Scarecrows31260 sec
Cool Down – Triceps Static Stretching230 sec30 sec

Session 2: Legs and Core

ExerciseSetsTime / RepsRest Time
Warm Up – Sumo Squats 2-35-630 sec
Back Squats56-890 sec
Dumbbells Walking Lunges310-1260 sec
Leg Press3-48-1060 sec
Leg Extension3-41260 sec
Leg Curl3-41260 sec
Glute Kick Backs312-1560 sec
Weighed sit ups41260 sec
Ab roll outs56-890 sec
Cool Down – Legs Static Stretching2-330 sec30 sec

Session 3: Back, Biceps, Shoulders

ExerciseSetsTime / RepsRest Time
Warm Up – Dumbbell Arm Circles2-330 sec30 sec
Dumbbell Shoulder Press3-56-890 sec
Lateral Raises3-410-1260 sec
Bent Over Rows3-46-890 sec
Dumbbell Reverse Fly312-1560 sec
Pulldowns3-41260 sec
Hammer Curls31260 sec
Bicep Curls31260 sec
Cool Down – Arm Static Stretching2-330 sec30 sec

If you are over 40 and would like to create your own strength training program, you can use a fitness app to design the perfect workout routine for your own goals and preferences. 

You may also like: Best Breast-Firming Exercises

Final Words

Weight lifting is a great activity for women over 40 who want to stay healthy and strong. Below you can find the key messages about weightlifting for women over 40.

  • Physiological changes such as naturally decreased muscle mass, decreased flexibility and mobility, and old injuries need to be considered when starting a weightlifting routine to avoid getting hurt.
  • There are many benefits to resistance training for women. Strength training can improve muscle and bone strength, decrease the risk of getting injured, lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and can enhance self-confidence due to improved body composition.
  • For the best results, focus on full-body workout programs that target all muscles.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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