Question:I'm in my 40s and would like to start a strength training program. How do you recommend I start?
AnswerLThat is a great question about starting a strength training program. In your 40's I'd recommend that you start with the foundational exercises of machine training. It gives you the chance to do every exercise perfectly because it sets the range of movement; it sets the move of patterns; it gives you support and control and you start with one, maybe two sets of about 12 to 16 repetitions or relatively light to moderate weight load so you really develop the movement patterns and the skills necessary to progress in a very productive manner.
Once you've done that for about a month, you can now go to what I call fundamental training with your free weight exercises, dumb bells and barbells. And with those exercises you might improve your strength even more because of the core stabilization and you might also want to go to two to three sets of each exercise with a little heavier weights. Instead of doing 12 to 16 repetitions start with, you know about eight to 12 reps. If you can do at least eight, it's a good weight. Once you can do 12, that's your signal to progress to a heavier weight load and continue to make progress in your strength and your muscle development and your functional capacities.
Give this a try for a couple of months. Even though this seems slow and progressive, you'll set the basis or foundation for future improvement so that you'll be just as strong in your 40's as most people are in their 20's.