This 4-Week Workout Program Builds Muscle at Any Age

If you’re over 40, sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle, is starting to shrink your biceps, and your VO2 max is in decline. Oh, and you want to spend more time with your family. More than ever, you need a muscle-building approach that utilizes new science but doesn’t trap you in the gym for hours.

You get that with MA40, Men’s Health’s new workout video. Designed by Activlab trainer David Jack, who’s 45 but can still do handstands with ease (that’s him showing off above), MA40 is designed for busy 40-plus guys looking to get in peak shape.

But you don’t have to be a Gen Xer to love it: Jack teaches you to twist and rotate, not just lift weights. Men of all ages will handle resistance from new stances, building next-level balance and core stability. You’ll add muscle, strength, and athleticism with Jack’s mobility flows, push-pull supersets, and no-rest circuits.

Power through this workout three times a week for four weeks for flexibility and a shredded core. You’ll feel younger, too!

1. Warmup

Bear Hold Mobility Flow

4 minutes

Move through each of these steps, working to be as smooth and controlled as possible. Hold each position long enough to inhale and exhale once. Repeat the entire sequence as many times as you can in 4 minutes, being careful not to rush through any motion.

  • Start on all fours, hands directly below your shoulders, knees below your hips. Your knees should be off the ground, shins parallel to the ground, feet about a foot apart. Tighten your core.
  • Raise your butt high in the air, straightening your knees. Work to get your torso in line with your arms; you should look like an upside-down V. If you need to, walk your hands a few inches forward. Try not to let your lower back round as you do this.
  • Shift your torso forward into pushup position, then move your left foot alongside your left hand, bending your left knee. Keep your right leg straight while you do this; you should feel a stretch in your hips and groin.
  • Keeping your hands in pushup position and keeping your core tight, shift your left foot back alongside your right foot, returning to pushup position. Then repeat part C, this time with your right foot alongside your right hand and your left leg staying straight.

2. Back Strength Superset

Do 3 rounds of this circuit. Rest as needed so you can stay relaxed; you shouldn’t feel wiped out when you’re done.

Seated Band Row

8 to 10 reps

Sit on the ground with your legs straight. A medium-heavy band should be around your heels, its handles in your hands. Keep your chest up and tighten your core. Look straight ahead. This is the start. Pull the handles toward your rib cage, focusing on pulling with the muscles in your back, not just your biceps. Hold for a moment, then return to the start. Do 8 to 10 reps.

Bear Plank Sit-Through


8 reps

Start in bear-plank position: hands below your shoulders, knees below your hips, shins parallel to the ground. Lift your left hand off the ground, bringing it toward the left side of your rib cage. As you do this, lift your right leg and rotate your torso so it faces your left side. Tap your right foot on the ground, return to the start, and repeat on the other side. That’s 1 rep; do 8.

3. Pull and Press Series

Set a timer for 8 minutes. Superset the two exercises for as many rounds as you can in that time. Focus on form during each exercise; take a few moments to gather yourself and recover between supersets if needed.

Split Stance Alternating Row


12 reps

Stand holding medium-weight dumbbells, with your right foot in front of your left. Hinge forward slightly at your hips; let the dumbbells hang naturally as you do. This is the starting position. Without turning your torso, row the left dumbbell toward your left hip; pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the right side. That’s 1 rep; do 12.

Dumbbell Rotational Overhead Press

12 reps

Stand holding a medium-weight dumbbell at your shoulders, hands gripping the weights, not the handle. Your knees should be slightly bent and your core tight. Press the dumbbell upward as you rotate your torso to the right; you’ll need to turn your hips to do so. Return to the starting position, pause, then repeat on the other side. That’s 1 rep; do 12.

4. Biceps and Core

Work through 3 rounds of this final finishing circuit, doing each exercise for the required time. Aim to do as many reps as possible, but don’t sacrifice form.

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

20 seconds

Stand holding medium-weight dumbbells, palms facing your thighs, knees slightly bent. Curl the right dumbbell up and toward your right shoulder, rotating your palm toward your shoulder as you do. Pause, then lower the dumbbell. Repeat on the other side. That’s 1 rep; do reps for 20 seconds.

Bicycle Crunch

image30 seconds

Lie on your back, legs in the air, shins parallel to the ground. Lift your shoulder blades slightly, and keep your hands behind your head. This is the start. Tuck your right knee in and bring your left elbow to touch it. Hold, return to the start, then repeat on the other side. Do reps for 30 seconds.

Resistance Band Hammer Curl


20 seconds

Stand on a medium-weight resistance band, grasping its ends, and tighten your core. Keeping your palms facing your torso, curl the band upward. Stop once your elbows start coming forward; return to the start. Do this for 20 seconds; start with quick reps, slowing down as you start to fatigue.

5. Cooldown

4 minutes+

Take at least 4 minutes to cool down, lightly stretching your arms and back. Start by standing straight then folding at your waist and touching your toes. Stand back up and reach your arms overhead, then bend your elbows. Grab your right elbow with your left hand and gently pull your right arm toward your head, feeling a stretch in your triceps; repeat on the other side. Repeat the entire sequence several times.


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