The Ultimate Fat-Blast Workout for Women Over 40


Perfect women's workout over 40

Maybe you have noticed over the past few years that your midsection has expanded and the typical exercises you used to rely on aren’t working anymore.  Welcome to middle age, my friends, because it’s a curse that all of us have to bear.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still feel young again- it’s just going to take a different mindset and some new cardio routines.

For starters, it’s time to officially retire your treadmill, stair climbers, elliptical machines and stationery bikes.  Just haul them straight to the curb and forget about them, because they could actually be a big part of the problem here.  Let me explain.

As we age, our bodies naturally want to keep a little extra around the midsection as an extra source of energy.  That’s why our thighs, waistline and buttocks start to expand a bit around our 40th birthday, and you’ll consistently gain 1-3 pounds per year if you stick to the status quo.  Combine that with natural muscle loss (remember, muscle burns fat!) and it’s a fashion recipe for disaster.

What I mean by that is your twenty minute calorie burn on the treadmill ten years ago was great exercise…because your metabolism was already high and there was less fat to burn.  But in our 40’s and 50’s, it simply lets you maintain your current level of fitness.

In order to burn off those extra calories that your body insists on keeping around, it takes short, high intensity workouts combined with some simple strength training to tighten up our core.  So let’s run through a typical daily workout to keep you in peak health-

Power Up Your Core with Perfect Planks

Perfect plank workout

Back in high school, your PE teacher likely had you do three sets of core busting sit-ups in order to keep your abs in shape.  Then a little later in life, maybe you switched to crunches since it was easier on the back.  What you didn’t know, however, is that planks are the ultimate tummy workout since they work all four abdominal muscle groups at once.

Now, you may have noticed that the sub-title above says, “Perfect Planks.”  That’s definitely the goal here since cheating won’t strengthen your core, and repeated bad form can actually lead to lower back issues.

To perform a perfect plank-

  1. Get in a “push up” position with only your hands and feet on the ground
  2. Lower your elbows down to the floor in order to steady yourself
  3. Raise/lower your butt so it’s perfectly aligned with your feet and shoulders
  4. (if you’re doing it correctly, you will resemble a plank of wood)
  5. Tighten your stomach muscles and hold in this position as long as possible
  6. If the position is too difficult, start on your knees to work up to a full plank

Again, the goal here is to perform 3-5 sets of “perfect planks”, and in an ideal world you’d hold the position for at least 60 seconds each time.  But if you can only hold the pose for 8 seconds before your rear end starts to raise/drop, then that’s what you do.  Just keep the focus on perfect form.

Tighten the Torso with Squat Jumps

squat jump exercise

Remember earlier when I said that muscle naturally burns fat?  That’s exactly why we want your abs, hips, thighs and butt as toned as possible to fight off fat in the midsection.  So I’, going to introduce you to another exercise that nicely compliments planks- it’s the squat jump.

To perform a perfect squat jump, you’ll want to keep your back 100% vertical throughout the exercise.  If you’re struggling to do so, practice the squat part against a wall until you can do it comfortably.  Here’s the actual squat jump-

  1. Bend at the knees until your legs are parallel to the floor (like you’re sitting in a chair)
  2. Extend your arms down to the ground or at an angle behind you
  3. Jump hard towards the ceiling while extending your arms upwards
  4. Once you land, go back into the squat position and repeat steps 1-3

Try to perform as many squat jumps as you can in 20 seconds, followed by a 10-15 second recovery time.  Start with 3-5 sets at first, and aim to work your way up to ten sets for 30 seconds each.  I know it’s a tough ask, but you’ll begin to see (and feel) dramatic results in no time.

Restore Youth through Resistance Training

workout resistance bands

Finally, I want you to invest in a set of quality resistance bands to work your other muscle groups.  For instance, the fat on the back of your arms can be toned through basic, everyday push-ups, but there are also numerous curls and rows that you can perform if you’re not quite in push-up shape.  The same goes for working your legs, back, shoulders and other arm muscles.

I’ll try to put together a complete resistance band workout in the upcoming weeks.

One final tip for those of you that will hang onto your ellipticals and exercise bikes; aim for shorter-duration, high intensity workouts that quickly leave you out of breath.  Five minutes on level 15 will yield much greater dividends than thirty minutes at the slowest setting…so be sure to mix it up a little and keep your body guessing about what you’ll throw at it next.  This ensures that you’ll get the most out of every workout.

And one more thing for you ladies that don’t work out at all- it is never too late to start!  There is no such thing as failure when exercising because every repetition directly increases your cardiovascular and overall health.  So start slow if you have to; that part doesn’t matter nearly as much as actually getting started in the first place!


  • Wanda Weinberg says:

    I have scoliosis and have had 10 surgeries on my back and 4 surgeries on my neck. I have titanium rods and screws from mid-cervical to the middle of my buttocks. What do you recommend as far as these exercises or modified ones with my back being stiff?

  • Wanda Weinberg says:

    I forgot to mention my age. I am 68 years old.

  • Wanda Weinberg says:

    I also forgot to mention that I have bad knees. They have been diagnosed twice by two separate orthopedic doctors that they are bone-on-bone. The left one is pretty painful. I know I can’t do the second exercise but can it be modified? I have not been doing any exercise for quite some time.

    • Beth Downs says:

      Hi Wanda, I commend you for wanting to improve your health and conditioning given all of your medical procedures. There are definitely things that you can do, no matter the bad back and knees. What I would suggest are the following:

      1. Start slow. The last thing you want to do is re-injure yourself. You can gradually increase range of motion and speed later.

      2. Perform the planking. It’s ok to start on your knees, rather than your toes. Perform more sets of the planking than listed. This way you’re doubling up on the exercise you can do. This will help improve your core strength and allow you to get more years out of your back, before more issues arise from the surgeries.

      3. With bad knees, if you are able to still walk, I would recommend walking 3-4 times per week. Start SLOW and don’t go far. See how your body responds. Sore muscles are ok AND good. Hurt joints and “Pain” are not. Sore muscles indicate that your muscles were torn down while exercising. Eat a good diet containing plenty of protein and on the days you’re not exercising, your muscles will build right back up (stronger than before). The process goes like this:

      – tear the muscles down by exercising
      – build the muscles back up stronger than before by eating healthy

      Over time, you will notice a positive difference.

      4. Here is a great video that lists various leg exercises that can be done with bad knees: I recommend watching this.

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