What are the worst exercises for people over 40?

This question makes all of us over 40 folks seem like senior citizens! I’m actually 41 and the research regarding this is somewhat painful to read. My theory is that the people who have written this didn’t keep in mind the fitness and strength levels of an individual. I think being over 40 gives me some leverage in providing a personalised answer here, whilst keeping this in mind.

What I will say firstly, is that you should never think yourself out of exercise, because of your age bracket. We can all attain a physical level of fitness and change the way our body looks at any stage. I’m most certain a lot of you have seen images and clips of those who started lifting weights at age 50, 60 and in their 70’s. It’s absolutely possible and it’s really all up to you.

5 exercises that those over 40 should proceed with caution.

  1. Intensely or chronic cardio.
    Whilst you should and could do some form of cardio exercise, as it is quite important within any type of work out plan, too much cardio can have detrimental effects on your body & hormones. Overexerting yourself day in day out can produce high amounts of cortisol (the key stress hormone) that increases belly fat and accelerates our rate of ageing. Now, I’m not referring to walking, hiking, bike riding or HIIT here, I’m referring to the marathon type of running that requires hours upon hours of cardio. This is what is over taxing for humans in general, not only subject to those who are over 40.
  2. Behind the neck press.
    I myself do not perform this exercise, as it causes a lot of stress on my rotator cuff, and it’s easy to understand why it’s not really appropriate to do. This is a very unnatural position that compresses an important neck artery. This may result in dizziness, headache and fainting! If you want to build up your neck, delts and traps, it’s far more effective to use compound movements like bench presses, pull and chin ups, as well as performing upright rows and shrugs. If this exercise causes any discomfort, don’t do it.
  3. Dumbbell chest fly.
    Shoulder health should be a priority for all for us, no matter what age. That’s why the dumbbell chest fly should be used with caution.
    The problem lies with the movement that your coracobrachialis muscles are being stretched, rather than your actual chest when your arms are in a fully extended position. Pecs can only stretch so far and increased leverage from extended arms will only increase the risk of your pec muscle tearing. If you really need to do this exercise, use far less weight, and get on the cable machine. Use the single arm approach with crossovers, but make sure your arms are bent.
  4. Smith machine squats.
    Now, I’m going to be honest here and say I used to do this all the time, and I knew it would bite my in the backside. Doing squats on this machine puts a lot of pressure on your spine, especially if your feet are not close to your body. Then you get your knees in a dangerous position because you’ll be pushing through more of the balls of your foot and the locked-in position will limit natural movement. Those that are aware of this and know how the mechanics of this works, should dismiss this.
  5. Good mornings.
    This is a good, functional exercise, but a lot of people are not aware of how to execute them properly. It’s a matter of maintaining thoracic extension for this to work. Those with disk issues should avoid this completely. Use Romanian deadlifts instead.

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