Calisthenics at 40: A 6 Week Over 40 Workout That Transforms Your Body

Bald man with beard and headphones is doing a warm-up exercise with a resistance band

Calisthenics at 40 is the best step you can take to stay fit and healthy in the coming decades. Turning 40 is a major milestone and it’s true, from here on taking care of your body becomes even more important. Calisthenics plays a major role in getting and staying healthy for your (hopefully) long life and keeping enough mobility and stamina to enjoy those years. You’re also only 40, which is not old at all. With the right routine and workout, you can transform your body at 40 years of age and look amazing. Here is how to start Calisthenics at 40 and get the body most 20-year-olds can only dream of!

Key Takeaways for Starting Calisthenics at 40

  • Your body loses around 0.5% of muscle mass and 0.45% oxygen uptake efficiency a year, assuming you do not exercise.
  • Calisthenics at 40 can actively reverse the process of muscle mass and oxygen degradation.
  • A Calisthenics workout at 40 will be slower and you’ll need a bit more patience and precaution with warming up.
  • You can get great results doing Calisthenics at 40, reversing the ageing process and resulting in a great body.
  • There are programs that you can follow for great, sustained results even at 40 or 50 or 60.

Why You Should Start Calisthenics At 40

You’re not 20 anymore, so let that reality sink in for a second. The good news is that you can still get amazing results and see a complete body transformation over 40. Don’t dwell on your age too much, and instead focus on the things that can be done. First, let’s get some facts straight about your body after 40:

  • You lose around 0.5% of your muscle mass, per year[1, 2, 3] in natural atrophy (called Sarcopenia) assuming you do nothing to gain muscle mass.
  • You lose around 0.45% of oxygen uptake capacity (VO2max)[4], per year in natural atrophy assuming you do nothing to gain oxygen uptake efficiency.

Keep in mind that this is the slow, natural degradation that comes with age. That also means that if you can gain 0.5% of your muscle mass a year, you can maintain your body for decades. Your oxygen uptake can, likewise, be maintained through exercise. Calisthenics is the ideal exercise form to gain and maintain this muscle mass and stamina.

The reverse is also true. If you do nothing, you will get weaker, smaller, slower and more tired as you grow older. That is why you should start Calisthenics at 40 immediately. Not only can Calisthenics stave off the natural atrophy of ageing, but it can also reverse the process[5]. You can gain muscle mass and oxygen uptake through a Calisthenics Program.

Benefits of Calisthenics While Ageing

There are many benefits to Calisthenics and these benefits become more important as you reach 40 and beyond. Aside from benefits like gaining muscle mass, increasing strength, endurance, stamina and improving your biomechanics, Calisthenics at 40 and older can help you stay ahead of your natural muscle and stamina decay as you age.

  • Mild to moderate, frequent exercise uses released free radicals in the biogenesis of muscle mitochondria (creation of muscle tissue)[6]. Free radicals are part of what causes ageing and DNA degradation. By exercising, you use them instead to create new muscle tissue.
  • Oxidative stress (natural stress from breathing but also increased because of psychological stress) leads to ageing and a declining immune system. Research suggests that voluntary exercise can reduce oxidative stress and its effects on the immune system[7].

What To Expect from Calisthenics at 40

Starting Calisthenics at 40 will require a bit more patience than when you’re starting Calisthenics as a teenager. You’re actively losing 0.5% of your muscle mass per year by default. Your exercise will have to overcome that muscle mass loss. Your results will be slower and less pronounced than when you were younger. But the odds are not insurmountable. 

Example: if a 160lbs (~72.6kg) 20-year-old wants to increase his weight with lean muscle mass to 165lb (~74.8kg) in 1 year time, he or she just needs to add 5lbs (~2.2kg). 

A 40-year-old will have to account for 0.5% muscle mass loss; 0.8lbs of 165lbs (360 grams). You will need to add 5.8lbs (~2.5kg) to get the same results as the 20-year-old.

You’ll have to be a bit more patient but starting a Calisthenics routine at 40 will still bring you amazing results if you stick to it.

Another issue with starting Calisthenics at 40 will be injury prevention. You’ll be more likely to injure yourself if you push it as hard as a 20-year-old. The key to preventing that is again patience and a good Calisthenics warm-up routine that prepares your muscles, joints and tendons. Start at a lower level of resistance with fewer repetitions and sets and increase those numbers gradually.

An Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation

You want a 40-year-old body transformation, and you want it now. Keep in mind that you’ll have to slow things down a tad to prevent injury while at the same time it will take a little longer to really see those results you want. But it’s far from impossible. With the following Over 40 Body Transformation Workout, you can work on your body, health and overall wellbeing immediately and get some good results already. This workout will get you from average to doing your first Pull-Up in 6 weeks.

If you want to know about individual techniques, you can follow the links in the weekly plans.

Week 1 Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation

  • 2 sets of 8 Incline Push-Ups
  • 2 sets of 8 Bench Dips
  • 2 sets of 8 Australian Scapula Pull-ups
  • 1 set of 8 Australian Pull-ups
  • 2 sets of 8 Squats
MonTueWenThuFri
Incline Push-UpsAustralian Scapula Pull-UpsRestIncline Push-UpsAustralian Scapula Pull-Ups
Bench DipsAustralian Pull-Ups Bench DipsAustralian Pull-Ups
Squats  Squats 

Week 2 Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation

  • 2 sets of 10 Incline Push-Ups
  • 2 sets of 10 Bench Dips
  • 2 set of 10 Australian Pull-ups
  • 2 sets of 10 Squats
  • 10 second Planche Leans
MonTueWenThuFri
Incline Push-UpsAustralian Pull-UpsRestIncline Push-UpsAustralian Pull-Ups
Bench DipsSquats Bench DipsSquats
Planche Lean  Planche Lean 

Week 3 Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation

  • 3 sets of 10 Incline Push-Ups or regular Push-Ups
  • 3 sets of 10 Bench Dips
  • 3 set of 10 Australian Pull-ups
  • 3 sets of 10 Squats
  • 15 second Planche Leans
MonTueWenThuFri
(Incline) Push-UpsAustralian Pull-UpsRest(Incline) Push-UpsAustralian Pull-Ups
Bench DipsSquats Bench DipsSquats
Planche Lean  Planche Lean 

Week 4 Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation

  • 3 sets of 12 Incline Push-Ups or regular Push-Ups
  • 3 sets of 12 Bench Dips
  • 3 set of 12 Australian Pull-ups
  • 3 sets of 12 Squats
  • 20 second Planche Leans
  • 1 set of 4 Scapula Pull-Ups
MonTueWenThuFri
(Incline) Push-UpsScapula Pull-Ups Rest(Incline) Push-UpsScapula Pull-Ups 
Bench DipsAustralian Pull-Ups Bench DipsAustralian Pull-Ups
Planche LeanSquats Planche LeanSquats

Week 5 Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation

  • 3 sets of 12 Push-Ups
  • 3 sets of 12 Bench Dips
  • 3 set of 12 Australian Pull-ups
  • 3 sets of 12 Squats
  • 2 times 25 second Planche Leans
  • 1 set of 8 Scapula Pull-Ups
MonTueWenThuFri
Push-UpsScapula Pull-Ups RestPush-UpsScapula Pull-Ups 
Bench DipsAustralian Pull-Ups Bench DipsAustralian Pull-Ups
Planche LeanSquats Planche LeanSquats

Week 6 Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation

  • 3 sets of 12 Push-Ups
  • 3 sets of 12 Dips
  • 3 set of 12 Australian Pull-ups
  • 3 sets of 12 Squats
  • 3 times 30 second Planche Leans
  • 2 sets of 8 Scapula Pull-Ups
  • 1 Pull-Up
MonTueWenThuFri
Push-UpsScapula Pull-Ups RestPush-UpsScapula Pull-Ups 
DipsAustralian Pull-Ups Bench DipsPull-Up
Planche LeanSquats Planche LeanSquats

What If You Are Obese or Physically Impaired?

What if you want to start Calisthenics at 40 or above but have something else that’s holding you back? You could feel like you’re too heavy for Calisthenics or otherwise physically impaired and that’s preventing you from doing normal exercise. I always recommend you see your physician before doing anything that involves losing weight or exercising while suffering from an impairment. He or she can usually forward you to a physiotherapist and/or a dietician who can help you with adjusted diets and training plans. 

If you are obese, it is important that you change your diet and lose that fat first in a healthy way. Physical exercise can help with that as well, but diet changes will be what sheds most of your weight.

When you are mobility impaired, slowly building up a normal level of mobility through a Mobility Program could be a very good starting point. 

Calisthenics Programs at 40 And Over

There are many beginner-friendly programs that allow you to start with Calisthenics at 40 or older. You can start them now, or after you’ve done my 6-week Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation workout. My top 3 selection best Calisthenics programs for beginners of any age are: 

  1. Cali Move Complete Calisthenics
  2. Berg Movement App
  3. Cali Move Body Transformation

Conclusions About Over 40 Workouts in Calisthenics

With age your body slows down a bit. It is noticeable at 40 but it’s also not the end of the world. You can overcome the age barrier just fine with the right workout when you’re over 40. Calisthenics at 40 has many benefits, such as reversing the effects age has on your body as well as maintaining your health in general. Even at age 40 or 50, Calisthenics will also give you a great, lean body that you can be proud of.

If you’re not physically impaired or obese, you can get fit and start seeing some amazing results in just 6 weeks’ time. By following a simple, relatively easy routine like my Over 40 Workout for Body Transformation described above, you will see dramatic, positive change.

Your health and maintaining a great body after 40 won’t stop with a single Calisthenics workout. There are great Calisthenics Programs and Calisthenics Apps which you can do at any age, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years or older, that will get you results. That is why you should start Calisthenics at 40 today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Calisthenics at 40

A few more questions about doing Calisthenics at 40.

Can a 40-year-old do Calisthenics?

Being 40 should not deter you from doing Calisthenics. There might be other issues like obesity, handicap or injury, but generally, starting Calisthenics at 40 has many benefits and can lead to great results.

Can I reshape my body at 40?

You can still completely transform your body at age 40. Calisthenics at 40 or above can reverse the ageing process at this stage and reshape your body to a vision that many younger people can only dream of.

Is 40 too old to get jacked?

It will be harder but not impossible to get jacked as a 40-year-old, compared to someone in their 20’s. Your progress will be a bit slower, and you will have to take more precautions to avoid injury. But you can still get very jacked as a 40-year-old with the right amount of determination, patience and the right Calisthenics program.

Is calisthenics healthy long term?

Calisthenics is proven to reverse the effects of ageing when it comes to sarcopenia (muscle mass loss due to ageing) and loss of oxygen uptake efficiency. Doing Calisthenics the right way won’t cause your joint to wear any faster than ordinary and can even make them stronger.

Sources

1: https://journals.lww.com/co-clinicalnutrition/abstract/2004/07000/muscle_tissue_changes_with_aging.9.aspx

2: https://bibliotecadigital.ipb.pt/handle/10198/9416

3: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01377.x

4: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/jappl.1988.65.3.1147

5: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0000465

6: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0891584907004686

7: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0531556518301748

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