Workouts for Men Over 40 – Exercise Guide – Week 4

Exercises For Week 4

The following workout is designed to follow Workouts for Men – Exercise Guide – Week 3.

If you didn’t start at Week 1 and go through Weeks 2 and 3, I advise you to start with Week 1,… but it’s not absolutely necessary.

You could do this set of exercises as a separate workout, and in fact, you could do any of the four-week programs as stand-alone exercise programs. They’re all useful.  It’s just a progression of exercises that has been designed to start with Week 1 and get progressively more advanced.

They’re all useful.  It’s just a progression of exercises that has been designed to start with Week 1 and get progressively more advanced.

It’s just a progression of exercises that has been designed to start with Week 1 and get progressively more advanced.



Here are the basics:


**Good Form – This is probably the most important rule.  You need to understand how important this is – good form.  Your success in gaining muscle and not injuring yourself is tied to how well you perform each exercise.  The better your form is when doing each exercise with the correct form, the more benefit you will get from the exercise.

**Do Not Rest more than a minute (60 sec) to a minute and a half  (90 sec) between each set.

**Do Not Rest more than two minutes between each exercise.

**Ask For Help from a fellow gym goer if you need a spot or you want clarification about an exercise. Everyone is happy to help you. You might even find a trainer who would help. 🙂

**Concentrate on the muscle that you are working on. Think about the actual muscle you’re working and make sure that you’re putting stress on that muscle or muscle group.

**Don’t Do Less than what is required by your workout schedule. This will require mental dedication. Don’t quit your workout early or skip an exercise.  Getting in shape requires discipline.


The Triangle Technique is a technique that I have developed over the years,…. developed from my trying different exercises and techniques to get bigger and stronger.  It has been a trial and error process that has resulted in the exercises that work best for hard gainers like me.

Easy gainer guys can do almost anything and gain muscle.  Those of us with more challenging body types have to use methods that break through the normal advice of gym trainers and muscle magazines.  They’re designed for the ectomorph.

Get the details here (coming soon), but for now, the basics are as follows:


Progressively Lighter Weight

This technique uses a progressively lighter weight for each exercise repetition.

For each exercise, you will start with a heavier weight and work down to a lighter weight.

For instance, if you were going to do a set of barbell arm curls, you might start with 35 lbs. for the first repetition.  Then for the second repetition, you’d take 5 lbs off and do the curl with 30 lbs.  And finally, for the third repetition, you’d take off another 5 lbs and do a rep with 25 lbs.

You’re only doing three repetitions for each exercise.


More Exercises, Fewer Repetitions

I believe that the more variety you give your muscles, the better they respond to growth.

Based on this principle, The Triangle Technique will have you do more exercises and only three sets of each exercise – 6-8 repetitions per exercise.

Most exercise programs will have you do four (4) to six (6) sets of each exercise.  I find that the more variety your muscles get, the stronger and bigger they get.


Go to Failure with Each Exercise

Many exercise routines designed for beginners and guys over 40 will not ask you to go to failure, for fear that you will injure yourself.

This is not the best advice.  If you want to add muscle, with all the associated benefits, you’re gonna have to push yourself to failure, or almost failure with every exercise.

The weight doesn’t matter so much, but the ideal is to pick a beginning weight that will allow you to do 6 to 8 repetitions for the first set.  Remember, we’re gonna reduce the weight for the second and third set, so the beginning weight will be your heaviest weight. You should then be able to do 6-8 repetitions for every set.

All of your workouts will be using The Triangle Technique.



This is a continuation of the Workouts for Men Over 40 – Exercise Guide.

WEEK 4 –  Workout Day 1 – Upper Body

Exercise 1 – Back – Pullups – (Advanced)

Grab a high pull-up bar with your palms facing forward. (Each time you do this exercise, you should vary the width of your grip to get the best results.)

Now that you have both hands on the bar, slightly arch your back and stick your chest out.

Pull your body up until the bar touches your upper chest.

Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the top.

After a second at the top, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position where your arms are fully extended.

If you can’t do at least 4 of these, go try a lat-assist machine. You kneel on a pad which is weighted so you’re not pulling your entire weight up. Do this until you feel strong enough to do 4 Pullups by yourself.

This is one of the ultimate exercises.  Once you can do 10 of these, you’ll probably look fantastic.

Exercise 2 –  Arms – Hammer Curls with Rope

Attach a rope to a low pulley and stand facing the machine, not too far away, although varying the distance from the machine is a good way to vary the angle of resistance.

Grab the rope with a palms-in grip and stand up straight up while keeping your body static.

Put your elbows by your side and keep them there for the entire exercise. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF FORM – keep your elbows glued to your side.

Only the forearms should move; not your upper arms.

Using your biceps, pull your arms up until your biceps touch your forearms.

After a 1 second contraction where you squeeze your biceps, slowly lower the weight back to the original position.

Exercise 3 – Chest – Incline Bench Press 

 The standard barbell bench is one of the best compound exercises you can do.  It allows you to move a lot of weight, and it’s also an easier lift to control than using heavy dumbbells. Additionally, it’s one of the most fun exercises to do.

Lay on the bench with your feet flat on the ground. A lot of guys don’t realize that you should be using your feet to drive through your hips when you’re lifting.

Take a medium grip covering the rings on the bar. There often are two smooth rings on the bar.  I use these to position my hands.

Remove the bar from the rack, holding the weight above your chest with your arms extended. Lower the bar to your sternum.

Maintain control and do not bounce the bar off of your chest. Your elbows should stay slightly drawn in.

After touching your chest with the bar, extend the elbows to return the bar to the starting position.

Exercise 4 –  Arms – Dumbbell Curl

Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your elbows close to your torso and keep your palms facing forward.  NOTE:  Keep your elbows glued to your side.

Now, keeping the upper arms stationary, curl the weights while contracting your biceps.

Continue to raise the weights until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level.

Hold this position for a second as you squeeze your biceps.

Then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Exercise 5 – Shoulders – Lateral Raises

Choose a couple of dumbbells (weight TBD by you in a trial and error process) and stand with up straight with the dumbbells by your side.

While maintaining your body in a static position, lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend in the elbow.

Do not swing the dumbbells.  You’ll defeat the whole purpose of the exercise.

Lift your arms until they are parallel to the floor.

Pause for a second at the top.

Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position.



WEEK 4 –  Workout Day 2 – Lower Body

Exercise 1 – Squats

Squats are the single most important lift you can do. They incorporate your entire body and focus the work on your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. You should do them every week.

I often use a Smith machine because I don’t workout with a partner who can spot me. A Smith machine is a good safe way to do squats.

I find the best technique for me is not let your upper legs go below being parallel to the floor. Any more than that and you’re putting too much stress on your knees.  I even suggest half-squats to start off.


Exercise 2 – Hack Squat

Get on the machine with your back against the pad of the machine and put your shoulders under the shoulder pads.

Position your legs on the platform using a shoulder width medium stance
Keep your head up at all times.

Place your arms on the handles of the machine and disengage the safety bars.
Now straighten your legs without locking your knees.

Begin to slowly lower yourself by bending at the knees as you maintain a straight posture with your head up.

Continue down until the angle between the upper leg and the calves becomes about 90-degrees or almost parallel to the floor.

Now raise the unit by pushing up with primarily the heel of your foot as you straighten the legs again and go back to the starting position.

Exercise 3 – Leg Extensions

 You will need to use a leg extension machine for this exercise. Most gyms will have several.

First, choose your weight (trial and error – a weight that will allow you to do 4-6 repetitions) and then sit on the machine with your legs under the pad with your hands holding the side bars.

Make sure that your legs form a 90-degree angle between the lower and upper leg.

Using your quadriceps, extend your legs to the maximum height that you can.

Make sure that the rest of your body remains stationary on the seat. Pause a second and then,

slowly lower the weight back to the original position making sure that you do not go past the 90-degree angle limit.


Exercise 4 – Lunges

Lunges are a quintessential exercise. It’s important to do lunges properly so you don’t put unwanted strain on your joints, and knees, specifically. Here’s how to do a lunge correctly:

Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed  Always engage your core.

Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far.

Make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.

Exercise 3 – Calf Raises

Sit on the machine and place your toes on the lower portion of the platform with your heels extending off.

Place your lower thighs under the lever pad, which will need to be adjusted according to the height of your thighs.

Lift the lever slightly by pushing your heels up and release the safety bar.


WEEK 4-  Workout Day 3 – Abs

Exercise 1 – Crunch

 Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the ground, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

Now place your hands lightly on either side of your head. DO NOT pull your head up with your hands when doing this exercise

While pushing the small of your back down into the floor begin to roll your shoulders off the floor.


Exercise 2 – Leg Raises

This move will tone your lower abs as well as strengthen your entire core.

Start with your hands below your booty, legs raised a few inches above the ground. Keep your legs straight as you slowly raise them up as high as you can.

Reverse the move back to start.

Do as many as you can.  Shoot for 10 the first time and work up to 20

Exercise 3 – Plank

Get into a pushup position and bend your elbows to lower your forearms to the floor. Hold the position with abs tightened.

This guy is doing the another version where you support yourself with your hands instead of your elbows.

Start by doing 1 minute.  Then each week increase the amount you plank by 15 or 30 seconds.


Exercise 4 – Kips 

Lie flat on the floor on your back with your arms extended straight back behind your head and your legs extended also.

Bend at the waist while simultaneously raising your legs and arms to meet in a jackknife position.

Then, lower your arms and legs back to the starting position.



WEEK 4 –  Workout Day 4 – Whole Body – All Barbell Day

Exercise 1 – Barbell Lunges (Advanced)

First set the bar on a rack just below shoulder level. Once you’ve got the correct height and weight, step under the bar and place the bar on the back of your shoulders.

Hold on to the bar using both arms and lift it off the rack by first pushing up with your legs and at the same time standing up.

Step away from the rack and step forward with your right leg and squat down, while keeping your body upright and maintaining balance.

Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down. This will put too much stress on your knees.

Using mainly the heel of your foot, push up and go back to the starting position.


Exercise 2 – Barbell Front Raises (Advanced)

You’ll start with a shoulder-width grip on the barbell.

Allow your arms to hang straight down with the elbows extended.

You should be facing forward, with your shoulders back and your
chest up.

Maintain a neutral spine and contract your abs to provide core support.

Start the movement by flexing the shoulder, raising the weight straight out in front of you. Keep the elbows extended and the wrist neutral throughout the movement.

Continue the upward movement of the arms until the barbell is just above shoulder height.

At the top of the motion, pause briefly, and then slowly return to the starting position.



Exercise 3 – Barbell Rows

Holding a barbell with your palms facing down, bend your knees slightly and bring your body forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping your back straight.

Make sure that you keep your head up.

The barbell should hang directly in front of you with your arms hanging perpendicular to the floor.

Now, while keeping your body stationary, lift the barbell up toward yourself.

Keep your elbows close to the body.

At the top position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.

Then lower the barbell back to the starting position.


Exercise 4 – Barbell Upright Rows (Advanced)

Grab a barbell with an overhand grip that is slightly less than shoulder width.

The bar should be resting on the top of your thighs.  Your back should be straight.

Now use the sides of your shoulders to lift the bar, raising your elbows up and to the side.

Keep the bar close to your body as you raise it.

Continue to lift the bar until it nearly touches your chin.

Lower the bar back down to the starting position.




Congratulations.  You’ve now done all four (4) weeks of a four (4) week program.

What I’d suggest is that you repeat this week (Week 4) and then start back at Week 1 and go through it again.

After doing this entire 4-week program three (3) times, you’ll be ready for a completely new routine, which we’ll have ready for you when you complete three rounds of this four (4) week program.

See you at the gym.