The 7 Best Strength Training Exercises for Women in Their Forties
Strength training is a powerful tool for women in their forties to maintain and enhance their overall health and well-being. As we age, muscle mass tends to decline, which can lead to decreased strength, mobility and increased risk of injury. By incorporating strength training exercises into your fitness routines, a woman in her forties can counteract these effects, improve bone density, boost metabolism, and increase functional fitness.
This blog post will explore the seven best strength training exercises specifically tailored for women in their forties. These exercises target multiple muscle groups, improve strength, enhance balance and stability, and promote overall vitality. Let’s dive into the top seven exercises that will empower women in their forties to take charge of their fitness and enjoy a healthier, stronger, and more active lifestyle.
- Squats are a fundamental compound exercise that engages the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. They also activate the core muscles for stability and balance. Squats are excellent for women in their forties as they help maintain lower body strength, improve joint stability, and enhance overall functional fitness.
To perform squats correctly:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- The toes slightly turned out.
- Keep your chest lifted, and lower your hips as if sitting back in an imaginary chair.
- Ensure your knees stay in line with your toes and avoid letting them collapse inward.
- Push through your heels and engage your glutes to return to the starting position.
- Start with bodyweight squats and gradually add resistance using dumbbells or a barbell.
Check out my Get Strong Series Day 5: For a list of different squats and a video demonstration on how to do them properly.
Lunges are another effective lower body exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. They help improve leg strength, stability, and balance, making them ideal for women in their forties. Lunges can be performed in various ways, including forward lunges, reverse lunges, and walking lunges.
To perform a forward lunge:
1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Take a step forward with your right foot, lowering your body until both knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees.
3. Push through your right heel to return to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.
4. Maintain an upright posture and engage your core throughout the movement.
5. Start with bodyweight lunges and gradually add resistance using dumbbells.
Check out my Get Strong Series Day 6: For a list of different lunges and a video demonstration on how to do them properly.
Push-ups are a classic exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. They help improve upper body strength, posture, and overall functional fitness. Push-ups are particularly beneficial for women in their forties as they strengthen the upper body muscles, which can assist in daily tasks and prevent age-related muscle decline.
To perform a push-up:
1. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing forward.
2. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe.
3. Aim to lower your chest until it’s just above the ground, then push back up to the starting position.
If traditional push-ups are challenging, you can modify them by performing them on your knees or against a stable elevated surface like a bench or countertop.
Check out my Get Strong Series Day 2:Push: For push-up options and a video demonstration on how to do them properly.
Deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets the posterior chain muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core. They are highly effective for building overall strength, improving posture, and enhancing functional fitness. Deadlifts are particularly valuable for women in their forties as they help counteract the effects of age-related muscle loss and improve hip mobility. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a barbell in front of you.
To perform a deadlift.:
1. Hinge forward from your hips while maintaining a neutral spine, reaching down to grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
2. Keep the bar close to your body as you push through your heels, engage your glutes and hamstrings, and stand up tall.
3. Avoid rounding your back during the movement.
If you’re new to deadlifts, start with lighter weights or practice with a kettlebell before progressing to a barbell. Check out my Get Strong Series Day 4:Glutes: For further explanation on glute exercises.
Bent-over rows are an excellent exercise for targeting the upper back muscles, including the rhomboids, trapezius, and rear deltoids. They also engage the biceps and core muscles. Bent-over rows are beneficial for women in their forties as they help improve posture, strengthen the upper body, and reduce the risk of upper back pain.
To perform bent-over rows:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back flat and core engaged.
3. Allow your arms to hang straight down toward the floor, palms facing each other.
4. Bend your elbows, pulling the dumbbells up toward your ribcage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
5. Lower the weights in a controlled manner and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
If dumbbells are unavailable, you can use resistance bands or perform bodyweight rows using a sturdy table or bar.
Check out my Get Strong Series Day 3:Pull For further explanation on pull exercises like the Bentover Row
The shoulder press is a compound exercise that targets the muscles of the shoulders, including the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps. It is an excellent exercise for improving upper body strength and stability. Shoulder presses are essential for women in their forties as they help maintain strong shoulders, improve posture, and enhance functional fitness.
To perform a shoulder press:
1. Start by sitting or standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a resistance tubing in each hand; anchor with your feet.
2. Bring the weights up to shoulder level, palms facing forward.
3. Engage your core and press the resistance tubing overhead, extending your arms fully.
4. Lower the weights back to the starting position in a controlled manner and repeat.
If you don’t have dumbbells, you can use dumbbells or water bottles for resistance.
The plank is a fantastic exercise for strengthening the core muscles, including the abs, obliques, and lower back. It also engages the shoulders and glutes, promoting stability and improving posture. Planks are crucial for women in their forties as they help build a strong core, contributing to better balance and reducing back pain risk.
To perform a plank:
1. Start by getting into a push-up position, resting on your forearms instead of your hands.
2. Keep your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
3. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and hold the position for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.
4. Gradually increase the duration as your strength improves.
Check out my Get Strong Series Day 1: Plank For further explanation on the importance of planks.
Importance of Strength training exercises for women in their forties
Incorporating strength training exercises into your fitness routine is essential for women in their forties to maintain muscle mass, enhance strength, and improve overall functional fitness. The seven exercises mentioned above, including squats, lunges, push-ups, deadlifts, bent-over rows, shoulder presses, and planks, provide a comprehensive workout that targets all major muscle groups. Remember to start with proper form and gradually increase weights or resistance as your strength improves. Check out my post: Benefits of Strength Training.
By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you’ll empower yourself to lead a healthier, stronger, and more active lifestyle well into your forties and beyond. Try my Get Strong Series on the FaithFueled Life App for $1. That will give you access to the FaithFueled Life App for one week, including my full library of On-Demand exercises and Recipe Library for the price of one day on the app.