How to Build Muscle in Your 40s and What’s Slowing You Down

As people get older, most find it harder to build muscle. However, it is still very possible to build muscle, even if you are in your 40s. However, how do you build muscle in your 40s?

People in their 40s who want to build muscle must exercise regularly, evaluate how they feel before and after exercising, take breaks when needed, eat a healthy diet, and know their limits. To avoid injury, people in their 40s should warm up before exercising, wear support garments, and stretch.

Keep reading to learn about how to build muscle when in your 40s and what may be slowing you down.

How to Build Muscle in Your 40s

Warm Up

Before working out, you need to warm up. If you don’t warm up, you may get injured. To warm up, do push-ups, jumping jacks, lunges, or squats. Slow jogging is also a great exercise you can do to warm up. Spend at least 5-15 minutes warming up.

Warming up your muscles before you work out is important because if you start exercising without warming up, you may get injured. If you get injured, it will take longer for you to build muscle and you may have to deal with complications from the injury.


After you finish warming up and before you start your workout, you should stretch. If you don’t stretch before starting your workout, you may get injured. If you want to prevent your muscles from getting sore, also stretch after completing your workout.

Exercise Regularly

To build muscle in your 40s, you must exercise regularly. Exercise 2-3 times per week, especially when you first start trying to build muscle. Don’t exercise more than that, especially at first. If you exercise more than 2-3 times per week, you might over-exert your body and harm yourself.

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To build muscle, focus on strengthening your arm and leg muscles. To do so, lift weights, do pull-ups, and do chin-ups. Use weight-lifting machines and free weights. When you first start lifting weights, don’t lift a lot of weight. Instead, start lifting light weights and slowly start lifting heavier ones.

If you notice that when you increase the amount of weight you are lifting, you start having pain, reduce the amount of weight you are lifting. Instead of lifting more weight, increase the number of repetitions you are doing with lighter weights. Do this even if the pain you feel is minor, as your pain might get worse if you ignore it.

Evaluate How You Feel Before and After Exercising

Before and after exercising, evaluate how you feel. If you aren’t feeling well or your muscles are extremely sore, potentially skip going to the gym that day. If you still want to work out, consider reducing the amount of time you spend working out and increasing the amount of time you spend stretching.

While this may seem like doing so will slow down your muscle-building progress, it will actually help it. If you are extremely sore or not feeling well, your form while exercising will likely suffer, making your workouts less effective.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. If you are eating unhealthy foods regularly, you won’t build muscle very quickly, especially if you are in your 40s. As you get older, your metabolism slows, which makes it easier to gain weight and harder to build muscle. To build muscle in your 40s, you must eat a healthy diet. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat unhealthy foods sometimes, but it does mean you should rarely eat your favorite junk foods.

Make sure you eat foods with plenty of protein. Protein promotes the growth and repair of muscles, which means it is necessary when you are trying to build muscle.

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Fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean red meats, and poultry are good foods to incorporate into your diet when trying to build muscle. Consider taking supplements if you aren’t getting enough protein through food.

Drink plenty of water as well. If you don’t drink enough water while trying to build muscle, you will likely be extremely sore after exercising. Water helps your muscles repair themselves. Plus, if you don’t drink a lot of water, you might faint while lifting weights, which is extremely dangerous.

Wear Supportive Clothing

As you age, your joints become more prone to pain and weakness, especially your knees and elbows. If your joints hurt while you are exercising, wear a knee or elbow sleeve, as they can reduce the amount of pain you feel in your joints and give them extra support.

Meet with a Trainer

If you aren’t sure how to build muscle in your 40s, meet with a professional fitness trainer. They can help you determine what your limits are. They can also create a fitness plan that can help you reach your fitness goals.

What’s Slowing You Down?

Many things can make it hard for you to build muscle in your 40s. Some of them are listed below.


When your body is tired, it is extremely hard to find the energy to work out. Many people work out regularly for a few weeks then seem to run out of energy and motivation and stop. Exhaustion can severely slow down your muscle-building progress.

You can avoid exhaustion by taking a break or reducing the amount of time you spend exercising every 3-9 weeks. Take a few days or a week off to give your body a break. If you don’t want to stop working out completely, even for a short period of time, simply reduce the amount of weight you are lifting and spend less time exercising. This will allow you to maintain your strength and give your body a break.

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A lack of sleep can also slow down your muscle growth. This is partially because a lack of sleep makes it so you don’t have the energy to go to the gym regularly.

Incorrect Form

If you don’t have proper form while exercising, you won’t build as much muscle as you may expect. It is easy to do most exercises wrong, but it is often relatively easy to correct your form once you know what the correct form is.

However, it might be hard to correct your form because of weakness in your joints and muscles. Your bone structure may also make it hard for you to do exercises like deadlifts or chin-ups properly. Luckily, a fitness trainer can help you correct your form.

Pain or Injury

Pain and a current or previous injury may slow down your muscle-building progress. When you are in pain, it is hard to exercise regularly, especially when exercising will aggravate the affected area. If you have been injured in the past, you may find it hard to do certain exercises properly, especially if the injury didn’t heal properly.

If you want to build muscle in your 40s and have previous injuries that cause issues for you when exercising, hire a personal trainer and tell them about your injury history. They will be able to create a workout plan and give you tools to reduce your discomfort while exercising.

Most people notice an increase in joint pain when they are in their 40s. Joint pain can make it hard to work out and slow your muscle-building progress.

If you are in a lot of pain while exercising, talk to your doctor. They will help you find ways to reduce your pain and can determine if there is an underlying issue that needs treatment.


Empowering minds and bodies through my fitness journey! Passionate fitness enthusiast and blogger on a mission to inspire and motivate. Transforming lives one post at a time with evidence-based workouts, nutrition tips, and a sprinkle of wellness wisdom. Join me on this sweaty adventure to unlock your full potential and cultivate a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Let's break a sweat, embrace the grind, and celebrate the victories together! ✨ #FitLife #WellnessWarrior #FitnessBlogger"

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