Muscle Builder #1: Ease into It
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Muscle Builder #1: Ease into It

In our "Fight Fat Over 40" story in the July 2007 issue of Ladies' Home Journal, we talk about why it's important to trim down after 40. Start with this workout to help build muscle tissue.

Bicep Curls

This exercise strengthens the biceps, or the front of your arms. As you improve, lift heavier weights.

Tricep Kickbacks

This exercise tones the backs of the arms.

A. Place your right knee on a chair and then lean over and rest your right hand on the chair for balance. Keep your left leg slightly bent. Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, place your left elbow close to your side with the dumbbell pointed toward the floor.

B. Keeping your elbow in place, extend your arm backward until it is almost straight. Be careful not to lock your elbow. Lower your forearm down but keep your elbow at your hip. Repeat 8-12 times, then switch sides.

Overhead Presses

This exercise shapes and firms the shoulders and the backs of the arms.

Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Lift dumbbells to shoulders. Press the left one overhead and lower slowly to shoulder. Repeat, alternating sides. Keep back straight and movements steady. Repeat 10 times on each side.


This exercise starts out easy, but you'll feel the strength you're building as you add reps.


Bent-Over Flyes

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other and arms straight. Bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight, until your back is parallel to the floor. Keeping elbows slightly bent, squeeze the shoulder blades together and raise elbows towards the ceiling, stopping at shoulder level. Lower down slowly.

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts

Standing with feet shoulder width apart and pointed straight, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing the front of your thighs. Keeping your legs and back completely straight with arms hanging down, bend forward at the waist. Once your torso is parallel to the floor, slowly lift up.

Originally published on, June 2007.