As guys age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain an active lifestyle and exercise regularly to keep that ‘dad body’ or ‘dad bod’ at bay. One of the best places to exercise is the gym, where you have access to a wide range of equipment and resources. In this blog post, I’ll provide a comprehensive list of exercises that guys over 40 can do at the gym to stay fit and healthy.
This list is nothing ‘new’ or ‘incredible’ it’s simply what you should be doing. The worst part of all this workout ‘stuff’ is actually getting your arse up and going to the gym or doing something at home. At the end of this post, I’ll give you a great quick workout for you busy dads out there.
No, I don’t have a six-pack, but I have two decades of keeping in shape, as much as possible. With a black belt in Kickboxing and Hapkido experience along with several 10km runs and half marathons under my belt, I’ll get you moving in the right direction to make sure that ‘dad body’ doesn’t creep up on ya! J.F.D.I…Just F****** Do It!
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Cardiovascular exercise is essential for maintaining heart health, improving endurance, and keeping getting rid of that dad body. Any of these are great depending on your health, weight, and experience. I really enjoy jogging on the treadmill as it gives me a runner’s high. Some excellent cardio exercises include:
–Running on a treadmill
This is a cardio exercise that involves running or walking on a machine that simulates outdoor running. It is an effective way to improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and improve endurance. For men over 40, running on a treadmill can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight.
–Using the elliptical machine
Not a big fan of the elliptical machine but it’s a poplar cardio machine that compares to walking or running without the stress on the joints and knees. It is a good way to improve cardio health, burn some calories, and get your lower body in better shape… I’ve done this a few times and I don’t see the point of it. I rather use the treadmill.
For men over 40(like me), using the elliptical machine can possible help if you have joint and knee issues. It can also reduce the risk of injury, and improve balance and coordination. This is good for the heavier guys out there. Please be careful.
–Cycling on a stationary bike/spinning
This is a low-impact cardio exercise that involves cycling on a machine that simulates outdoor cycling. It is an effective way to improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and improve leg strength.
For men over 40, cycling on one of these bikes can be good if you’re suffering with your joints. It could reduce the risk of injury, and improve balance and coordination. This one is boring, so please get your cell phone and earphones ready and stay motivated. I have a spinning bike at home and always watch Kaleigh on Youtube while on it…it helps.
Probably the most underrated cardio machine at any gym. The rowing machine is a low-impact cardio exercise that simulates rowing a boat. It is an effective way to improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and strengthen the upper body, core, and legs.
For men over 40, using the rowing machine can help improve joint mobility, reduce the risk of injury, and improve balance and coordination. I use the one at the gym as much as I can. It still looks like new, as no one but be uses it.
This is by far my favorite. It’s the easiest to buy and use at home as well as bringing it to the gym. Perfect for warming up, as a finisher to a weight routine, or simply all around cardio killer! For under 10$, you’ll have your own dad-body-calorie-burner. Now you simply have to put it to work. Think of it as being in middle school all over again! Try it!
Strength training is critical for building muscle mass and maintaining bone density. Guys start to lose up to 5% of muscle mass from the age of 30! That’s the time the ‘dad body’ suddenly appears in the mirror one morning. Push and Pull those weights now!! Here are some great strength training exercises:
Lie down on a bench with your feet firmly on the ground. Grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower the barbell to your chest and push it back up to the starting position.
Substitute with a vertical chest press machine if needed.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell across your upper back. Lower your body as if you were sitting back in a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees behind your toes. Push back up to the starting position.
Substitute with jump squats if needed.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and lift the barbell to your hips, then slowly lower it back down to the ground.
Grip a pull-up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar and pull your body up until your chin is above the bar, then slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position. These are a doozy. It’s not easy to do these. I can get up to 20 on a good day. Use the assistant machine if your gym has one. It’ll help you build your strength.
Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest touches the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold dumbbells at shoulder height. Push the dumbbells up above your head, then slowly lower them back down to shoulder height.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold dumbbells at your sides. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders, then slowly lower them back down to your sides.
Hold a dumbbell with both hands and lift it above your head. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbell down behind your head, then straighten your arms to lift the dumbbell back up above your head. Flex that muscle when it goes up!
Substitute with Rope Press Downs if needed
Sit on a leg press machine with your back against the pad and your feet on the platform. Push the platform away from your body, then slowly bring it back towards your body. There is always instruction on the machines to help out too. I don’t suggest doing these if you have a weak lower back, as I do.
Substitute with jump squats if needed.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step forward with one foot. Bend both knees to lower your body, then push back up to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. I suggest doing these suckers with kettlebells. Your buttcheeks will be screaming the next morning, beware!
3-Stretching and flexibility
Stretching is essential for maintaining flexibility and preventing injuries. Does your ‘dad body’ make noises or grimace when you get out of bed in the morning, or simply get out of your car? You might need some stretching in your life…Seriously. Here are 4 daily stretches that men over 40 should be doing daily.
Yoga might be a great way to start your day too. I try to incorporate yoga into my Tuesday routine with the same Youtuber every time.
A strong core is essential for maintaining balance and stability. Especially when you hit ‘that’ age and everything seems heavier or more challenging, like lifting your kids or staying on your feet for extended periods.
Don’t focus on getting that incredibly elusive ‘6 pack’. Not needed!! Too much maintenance and no beers are allowed. No fun. Focus on a stronger core and with that parts of your ‘dad body’ will slowly but eventually melt away. Some of the best core exercises include:
Start on all fours with your forearms on the ground, elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Extend your legs behind you and lift your body off the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position for as long as you can, keeping your core tight. Try to imagine you’re a tabletop keeping all the glasses from spilling. Keep a timer nearby.
Who doesn’t know these guys? Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms over your chest and sit up, lifting your shoulders off the ground. Lower yourself back down to the starting position and repeat. It depends on your ability to do these or not. Planks and the Ab-wheel are what I use the most.
Oh, this old ‘Seen on TV’ contraption that was all the hype when I was in high school…Very underrated and great for building your lower back and core. Buy one! Kneel on the ground and hold an ab-wheel with both hands. Roll the wheel forward as far as you can while keeping your core tight, then roll it back to the starting position.
Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms at your sides. Lift your legs off the ground and raise them towards the ceiling, keeping them straight. Lower them back down to the starting position and repeat
5-Balance and stability
You’re not getting any younger, so, balance and stability is increasingly important. Here are some exercises to improve balance and stability:
Stand on one leg while holding a weight in one or both hands, hinge forward at the hips while extending the free leg behind you, then return to a standing position. You can do this at home to practice. Use a tin can of soup or something similar until you get stronger.
Stand on one leg with the other leg extended in front of you, lower your body by bending the standing knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground, then return to a standing position. You don’t need weights for this, use your body weight.
–Bosu ball exercises
Perform exercises on a half-sphere stability ball, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and balancing poses, to challenge your balance and core stability.
Yoga poses such as tree pose, warrior III, and half-moon pose.
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts are excellent for burning calories and building endurance. I used to do a lot of Circuit training until about 5 years ago. I’m not sure, but it seems my knees and lower back can’t endure the high intensity.
But if you’re ok with these, all the best! It worked wonders to keep me fit in my earlier years. (I can’t believe I just said that)…feeling old sometimes…
You can read up on these over on the links I’ve added. Some examples of HIIT workouts include:
So now you know all the best options for your workout. So how to incorporate these into something that you’ll enjoy doing for the long term?
My Personal Routine and tips
**I’m up daily between 430am and 510am. I’m always out the door, at the latest, 530am. Keep that in mind! It’s not easy in the beginning but it’s so worth it.
Mondays: I do 3 sets of 10 reps at medium weight. Bench Press/Seated Cable Row/Dumbell curls/Overhead Tricep Press/Kettlebell Squats/Lunges and 3 sets of 20 reps of the Ab Wheel. I finish with 10 mins of jump rope. Total 40min with minimal breaks in between sets.
Tuesdays: Jump Rope(10min)+Row machine(15min)+Slow Jog on treadmill(30min)+Yoga on Youtube 10-15min.
Wednesdays: I do 3 sets of 10 reps at medium weight. Deadlift/Jump Squat/Push up/Pull up/Shoulder Raise/Calve raises with leg press machine and 3 sets of 20 reps of the Ab Wheel. I finish with 10 minutes of light jogging on the treadmill. Total 40min with minimal breaks in between sets.
Thursdays: Walking 12,000 steps from 530 am done by 730am so I can get breakfast ready for my 6 year old.
Fridays: I do 3 sets of 10 reps at a heavier weight. Chest Press Machine/Dumbell curl/Tricep Rope press down/Leg Press/Jump Squat and 3 sets of 20 reps of Leg raises for the abs. I finish with 10-minutes of jump rope. Total under 40 minutes with minimal breaks in between sets.
Men of any age can benefit greatly from a regular exercise routine at the gym not only to keep that dad body away but also to simply keep healthy for their family. Incorporating a variety of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, stretching, core exercises, balance and stability exercises, and HIIT workouts can help maintain overall health and fitness. Whichever one you choose, it’s better than not doing anything. Good luck!
***Tips: Get up as early as possible to conquer your day! Get your workout in before you go to work so you give yourself excuses after work for not going: beers with the guys, too tired, daughter’s recital, etc… Do it early you’ll feel great all day. This will help with your sleep pattern too.
***Tips: Go work out on an empty stomach. It’ll burn more calories if you’re in a fasted state. Have some black coffee before leaving the house to get you going! Read up on this book by Tom Venuto… a great read!
++Remember I ain’t no doctor, I’m Daddy Simply, so always, consult with a physician before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
What’s your routine to avoid the dreaded dad body? Leave me a comment!
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