Weight Training For Women Over 40
The years pass by so fast! If you’ve had that nagging feeling like you need to start doing more for your health, we’ve got information about weight training for women over 40.
Here’s the truth: there is no better workout for women over 40 than strength training. Why is it so beneficial?
Man reasons. Some of the key benefits of lifting weights at this point in your life include:
Improved bone density
As you get older, especially as a woman, you start to worry about stress fractures, bone breaks, and osteoporosis. When menopause hits, your bones are at a greater risk of being depleted and losing strength, so doing something to combat this is the smart thing to do.
Strength training doesn’t just boost muscle strength, but enhances bone strength. You’ve likely heard that you should do weight bearing exercises to build bone strength, and there’s nothing more weight bearing than lifting weights.
Increased resting metabolic rate
If you’re worried about gaining weight as you get older, strength training can help. The beautiful thing about strength training is that not only will you burn calories while you do it, but you’ll continue to rapidly burn calories for hours after your session is over.
This means you’ll have a much higher metabolic rate all week long, assuming you work out a couple sessions per week. Over time, this adds up and will definitely give you an edge on body weight control.
Improved functional strength ability
There’s one benefit most people are clear on when it comes to resistance training and that is that you are going to gain functional strength. While it’s great seeing yourself getting stronger in the gym with every exercise you do, you’ll also notice that everyday activities become easier as well.
Once you get to the point of having grandkids, this can make an incredible difference in your ability to keep up with them.
Furthermore, as you get older it also helps you stay self-sufficient longer. You won’t rely on other people to help you.
Greater tone and muscle definition
Think that just because you’re aging you have to kiss your ideal body image good-bye? Not a chance! The right workouts for women over 40 can have you looking better now than you ever did. You just need the right exercises in place.
Weight training for women over 40 can totally transform your physique, helping you reshape your body. While cardio does help you lose weight, you need weight training to really transform and not just become a smaller version of your current self.
Lowered blood pressure levels
Heart disease is one of the leading diseases in the country right now and fortunately, strength training can help fight that. When you strength train regularly, you’ll notice your blood pressure levels dropping, thus lowering your risk for both heart disease and stroke.
While blood pressure actually rises during the act of strength training itself, it’s after the training session is over that you notice the decrease taking place.
Along with decreasing your blood pressure level, you’ll also reduce your cholesterol. High cholesterol levels are closely linked to heart disease and stroke, so you need to be mindful to both of these factors.
If you’ve been given a warning by your doctor that your cholesterol numbers are creeping up, it’s definitely time to add strength training to your daily regimen.
It’s remarkable how much of a confidence boost strength training can give you. With each rep you do, you’ll find yourself feeling more in control over your life and body, and gain a sense of empowerment you don’t get from other exercises.
And when you see the changes taking place to your physique, this too will give you excellent confidence.
Let’s not forget about the impact on sleep quality. Getting enough shut-eye every night is imperative for optimal health, but yet many women are falling short. A good weight training program can help improve that.
You’ll not only fall asleep faster after doing regular workout sessions, but you’ll also sleep deeper than you did before as well. If you aren’t getting sufficient sleep at night, you can be setting yourself up for problems like weight gain, poor memory, and decreases insulin sensitivity.
There are just too many benefits of weight training for women over 40 to list here, but we hope that our list motivates you to move it. Just know that you should do it.
Many women already realize the potential benefits so then the question becomes, how should you do it?
Let’s look at some guidelines right now so that you can better understand how these workouts will benefit you, followed by some of the best exercises for women over 40.
If you’ve never strength trained before in your life, don’t jump into a program that has you in the gym five to six days a week. Do that and you’ll quickly be burned out and tired of even thinking about weight lifting.
Instead, start slow. Aim for two days per week for 20 to 30 minutes per time. Once that’s comfortable, add a third day and then a fourth.
Most women won’t need any more than four days of resistance training per week. Many may be able to get by on three depending on what other activities they have planned during the week.
Don’t let yourself believe that exercise needs to take up hours of your day. You’re busy and need to accommodate your life. It’s possible to work in a good strength training routine in as little as 60 minutes total per week if that’s all you have.
Focus On Progressive Overload
The number one mistake most often made when doing strength training for women over 40 is not lifting enough weight. So many women fear they will get bulky muscles if they lift heavier, so they pick choose the 5 and 10 lb. dumbbells instead.
If you want to see true progress, you’ll need to challenge yourself more. Don’t be afraid of using the 15 and 20 lb. dumbbells for upper body, and even heavier for lower body (if you can).
Progressive overload is the continual slow adding of more weight with each session is what helps ensure that you are making continual progress.
If you aren’t adding weight, you’re likely just maintaining the status quo. If you have no desire to get more fit, that may be okay, but most women will want results from their time invested.
Make It Fun
It’s also important to make exercise fun, not matter what age you are. While it’s true, some exercises may be more effective than others, if you really hate an exercise, don’t do it.
There are plenty of ways to strengthen your chest muscles, for instance, so if push-ups aren’t your thing, find something else.
If you enjoy the workout sessions, you’re more likely to stick with them.
Use The Right Equipment
Finally, make sure that you are using the right equipment for your goals. If you want to build maximum strength for instance, you aren’t going to do that with resistance bands. You’re going to need free weights or a weight stack based machine.
If you want to build balance and agility however, resistance bands would do the trick.
Here again, there are many approaches you can take to your workout program so don’t let yourself believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way. It’s all about finding out what’s right for you given your current situation and goals.
If you need help with that, don’t hesitate to consult a personal trainer.
If you keep these guidelines in mind, you should have no problem seeing the results you’re looking for.
The Best Exercises For Women Over 40
To leave you off, let’s give you a list of some of the best exercises to focus on while you’re in the gym, broken down by muscle group. Remember that you don’t need to do all of these exercises, but if you can include one or two moves for each muscle group throughout the week, doing 2-3 sets per exercise and using a rep range of 6-12 reps, you’ll be on track to seeing great results.
Change up your exercise selection every few weeks to ensure you don’t get bored and that your body keeps responding and getting stronger.
- Split squats
- Leg press
- Step ups
- Leg extensions
- Low bar squats
- Glute bridges
- Glute kick-backs
- Walking lunges
- Low bar squats
- Good mornings
- Hamstring curls
- Flat bench press
- Incline bench press
- Horizontal chest press
- Chest fly’s
- Bent over single arm dumbbell rows
- Bent over barbell rows
- Horizontal rows
- Lat pull-downs
- Seated shoulder press
- Standing barbell press
- Lateral raises
- Front raises
- Rear delt flys
- Upright rows
- Bicep curls
- Hammer curls
- Barbell curls
- Rope curls
- Concentration curls
- Overhead tricep extension
- Rope tricep push-downs
- Tricep kick-backs
Take the time to plan a weight training program. It will make a significant difference on your fitness level, and your overall quality of life.