Getting older doesn’t mean you have to work out less.
In fact, you should probably add more exercises to your repertoire as you age to help you stay spry and prevent injury. David Jack, creator of the Men’s Health Muscle After 40 (MA40) program, has a list of 16 moves that will make the difference between a middle-aged guy who can still do everything he wants to in the gym—and in his life—and the type who groans just getting out of his recliner.
“Guys over 40 need to focus on moving better,” says Jack, whose recommendations include several exercises that will have you moving in multiple planes. “The more directions you can control your body moving in, the stronger and more stable you’ll be.” He wants you to pay special attention to your hips and ankles, which are frequent sites for injury, and to work on core strength and the ability to balance on one leg.
Don’t worry: no one’s asking you to replace the tried and true exercises you’ve done for years (say bench presses or squats) with these new moves. Just adding a few at a time into your warmup — or using them all together as a cardio routine — can help to make you feel like a new man. “They don’t take long to do,” says Jack. “They’re easy to learn, and they’ll make you feel athletic.”
Choose one exercise from each list to do in your warmup before a lower-body or full-body weight workout. Set a timer. Perform one move continuously for 40 seconds, then rest 20 seconds, and repeat once more; then do the same for the other drills. To use all the exercises at once as a cardio routine, perform each move in sequence (40 seconds on, 20 off) and then repeat the entire circuit for two total rounds. On exercises that are done one side at a time, work for 20 seconds on one side and then 20 seconds on the other.
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