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Workouts for Women Over 40: A Weekly Plan That Works!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

workouts for women over 40

Workouts for women over 40 aren't just about weight loss. You also get the added bonus of feeling great and being stronger and healthier!

Evidence shows that if you are overweight or obese, even a modest weight loss goal of 5-10% of your body weight can have serious health benefits.

This includes improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

In turn, this will help you decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases.

Weight loss will also improve your body image and energy levels.

Having a lower weight decreases the pressure on your joints. Plus, weight-bearing weight loss workouts will decrease your risk of osteoporosis as you age!

There are numerous reasons why people decide to start working out, but weight loss is the goal that tops that list most often.

But what is the best way to shed those pounds?

Start with these workouts for women over 40!

Don't forget to eat right, too! Check out our Definitive Guide to Healthy Eating for Women!

Weight Loss Workouts for Women Over 40

While there is no one-size-fits-all weight loss plan out there, there is a general formula that the best plans will follow.

Any good weight loss program needs to combine cardiovascular exercise, resistance workouts, flexibility, and balance training.

This is also true when you're talking about workouts for women over 40.

And it isn’t just about exercise!

Adequate sleep, rest, and a solid nutrition program are crucial to lose weight and keep it off.

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Your Weight Loss Workout Plan

It is important to have a general plan when working towards any goal.

Weight loss is no different.

If you just randomly try to incorporate different aspects of workouts with no guidance, it’s easy to get off track and lose motivation.

This weekly schedule is a good starting point if you are looking to start on your weight loss journey.

Remember that this is just a blueprint. You should modify the days and workouts to fit your schedule and your level of fitness.

Monday — Full Body Weight Training/Resistance Training

Full body circuit training with weights and resistance is a crucial component in your weight loss program.

Increasing and maintaining lean muscle mass will make your body an efficient calorie-burning machine.

Strength training has been shown to conserve lean muscle mass and decrease fat mass in females.

Plus, you’ll build a toned physique and improved strength. Here is a full-body workout routine you can include in your weekly schedule.

Remember, this is a circuit workout. You want to have minimal rest between each move. Go right from one move to the next.

Squats – Bodyweight or With Dumbbells

Do 15 reps as either air squats or with dumbbells depending on your strength and level of fitness.

Dumbbell Overhead Press

  • Do 10-12 reps while standing.
  • Standing will force you to engage your core to a greater degree than sitting with back support.
  • Maintain good form and posture throughout the movement.

Supinating Dumbbell Bicep Curls

  • Choose a weight that will allow you to complete 8-10 reps.
  • Try not to use your back, or swing your arms to use momentum when performing this exercise.
  • Maintain good form throughout and focus on the supination motion at the top of the movement.

Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press

  • Aim for 10-12 reps.
  • Contract your pecs at the top of the movement and slowly lower the weights down to your chest.
  • If you do not have a bench you can also do this while lying on a mat.

Bent Over Dumbbell or Barbell Rows

  • Make sure to engage your core as you aim for 10-12 reps.
  • You can use an over or underhand grip on the bar or dumbbells.
  • An overhand grip will work your upper lats, rhomboids, and traps to a greater degree, while an underhand grip will work the lower lats and also recruit the biceps.
  • If doing this routine multiple times a week, try switching up the grips each time to target the muscle groups from different angles.

Tricep Kickbacks

  • Aim for 10-12 reps on each side.
  • Again, make sure to isolate this movement in the triceps.
  • Do not swing the arms to gain momentum. You will only be cheating yourself!

Elbow Plank

  • Hold an elbow plank for max time.
  • Try to increase the duration of your hold each time you do this circuit.
  • Make sure to maintain good form throughout and avoid arching or bowing the back.
  • If you break form, you have reached your max time.

After you complete a round of this circuit, take a two-minute break.

Walk around, stretch out the arms and legs, and grab some water.

Then repeat two more times!

Tuesday — Cardio Day!

After an awesome strength training day, follow this up with some cardio the next day to increase cardiovascular fitness and burn calories.

Tailor this to something that you enjoy.

This could be a local spin class, a trail run, swimming laps, or water aerobics.

Anything that gets the heart pumping!

Try to aim for at least 30-60 minutes.

If you are short on ideas, here is a great running interval workout you can try. This can be done on a treadmill or outside.

  • Warm-up: Run at a light pace for 5 minutes.
  • Jog 5 minutes at a moderate pace. This is slightly faster than your warm-up pace, but you should still be able to hold a normal conversation.
  • Recovery Jog for 1 minute
  • Run 4 minutes at a slightly faster pace. You should feel slightly more breathless than at the previous interval.
  • Recovery jog for 1 minute
  • Run 3 minutes at an increased pace from the previous interval. You should only be able to talk in short sentences.
  • Recovery jog for 1 minute
  • Run at 2 minutes at a fast pace.
  • Recovery job for 1 minute
  • Run 1 minute at a full out sprint
  • Recovery jog for 1 minutes
  • Cool Down: Light jog for 5 minutes.

This ladder workout is a time-efficient cardio workout that is great for weight loss and increasing fitness.

Again, this is just an example of a type of cardio workout you can include in your weekly routine.

Learn about the best types of cardio for fat loss and the science behind cardio for WOMEN!

Wednesday —  Stretching, Flexibility, and Balance Training

Think of this day as an active recovery day. Good workouts for women over 40 should include some flexibility training.

You can try out a yoga class at your gym, or do some light stretching and balance moves in the comfort of your own home.

Here are some moves that you can use in your weekly routine if you need some ideas.

Mountain Pose

  • Stand tall with your feet together, shoulders relaxed, and weight evenly distributed through your feet.
  • Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight.
  • Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.
  • Hold this for three deep breaths.

Downward Facing Dog

  • Start on all fours with hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Move your hands a few inches forward and spread your fingers wide.
  • Press your palms into the floor and press your butt toward the ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V position.
  • Your feet should be about hip-width apart with the knees slightly bent.
  • Hold for three deep breaths.
  • Come into a plank position, and then return to the downward-facing dog for another three breaths.

Upward Facing Dog

  • Start by lying on your stomach with your hands near your shoulders.
  • Inhale and press your hands firmly into the floor and slightly back.
  • Straighten your arms and lift your torso up and your legs a few inches off the floor.
  • Hold for three deep breaths.
  • Straighten into a plank position, then return to the upward-facing dog for another three breaths.

Seated Twist

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh.
  • Keep your right knee pointed up.
  • Then place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
  • Place your right hand on the floor behind you near your lower back.
  • Twist to the right as far as you can.
  • Hold this for 30 seconds.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Tree Pose

  • Stand with your arms at your sides.
  • Keep your weight on your left leg and place the sole of your right foot inside of your left thigh.
  • Once balanced, bring your hands in front of you in a prayer position.
  • Extend your arms overhead, separated and facing each other.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Lower and repeat on the right side.

Child’s Pose

  • Sit up on your heels.
  • Bring your torso forward, and allow your forehead to rest on the mat or floor in front of you.
  • Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you.
  • Hold the pose and take several deep breaths.

Thursday — Full Body Weight Training/Resistance Training

Repeat the circuit workout that you did Monday, or try a workout from the Fit Mother Project’s FM30X program!

Friday — HIIT/Cardio

High-intensity interval training is a great way to burn calories and tone muscles.

Research has shown that HIIT training can be a very time-efficient component to include in workouts for women over 40.

Many gyms offer their own version of HIIT training, and there are many online workouts available that follow this format.

If you would like to try something on your own, try out this workout below.

Warm-Up (4 minutes)

Perform each move for 30 seconds, moving right into the next move.

Once finished, repeat one more time for a total of four minutes.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Butt Kickers
  • High Knees
  • Jump Squats

Rest for one minute then start the main set.

Main Workout

For the main workout, you will perform each move for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.

As your fitness levels improve, you can increase the interval to 45 seconds with a 15-second rest.

  • Alternating Jumping Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Alternating Side Lunge with Kick
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Side to Side Hops
  • Plank Jacks
  • Jump Rope
  • Tricep Dips

Rest for one minute then repeat.

Cool Down

Do some light walking or jogging and stretching following this workout

Even with the warm-up and cool down this is a time-efficient workout that can be done in under thirty minutes.

This is a great beginner HIIT workout to burn calories and work multiple muscle groups.

This 15-minute HIIT workout can be done at home with no equipment!

Saturday — Rest Day or Full Body Training

You can use today for a rest day.

Or if you are further along in your training, you can add another full-body workout day in here and repeat your workout similar to your workouts on Monday and Thursday.

Sunday — Rest Day

Make sure to include at least one rest day into your weekly schedule.

This will let your muscles recover and rebuild.

It will decrease your risk for injury, and help prevent burnout so you are motivated to start again the next week!

The mid-week stretching day helps with muscle recovery, but this complete rest day will allow for muscle recovery to leave you feeling fresh and motivated for the next week.

You can do some light walking or work around the house, but nothing too taxing on the body.

Enjoy your day off! You earned it!

Lose the Weight and Gain Fitness

The above weekly schedule is a nice blueprint to help guide you along the road to weight loss.

The best workouts for women over 40 include intense and challenging exercises.

Your abilities should improve dramatically as continue through the schedule.

It is important to have varied workouts and combine strength training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility and balance exercises.

In addition, nutrition and smart diet choices will be key to reaching your weight loss goals.

That is why a program like FM30X is so great.

It not only gives you great workouts and community support, but it also includes a simple and easy-to-follow meal plan.

There is no time like today to get started on the road to weight loss!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on workouts for women over 40.

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Our Fit Mother Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Mother Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

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Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

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