Muscle Builder #2: Increase the Challenge
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Muscle Builder #2: Increase the Challenge

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. Muscle Builder #2 builds on our first strength-training workout. More details are available in the full article.

Shoulder 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.

Upright Rows

This exercise benefits your upper back. You'll feel proud as your ability to hold heavier weights and do more repetitions increases.

Overhead Triceps Extensions

Standing with feet facing forward, grip one dumbbell in both hands above and just behind your head. (Be sure hands are overlapping so weight is evenly distributed.) Lower it, keeping elbows pointed to the ceiling and arms close to your head, until forearms are just below parallel to the ground. Press weight back to the starting position.

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Your delts, or shoulder muscles, get the workout with this exercise. You'll feel it in your upper arms, too.

Bent-Over Rows

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing your torso. Knees should be bent slightly, head up and shoulders back. Bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight. Holding this position, lift the dumbbells to your ribs then lower weights slowly.

Dumbbell One-Arm Rows

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, with palm facing your side. Bend over at the waist and rest your left hand on a stool or sturdy chair about 2 1/2 feet high, keeping your back flat. Extend your right leg behind you. Starting with your right arm straight, raise the dumbbell to your hip by bending at the elbow. Slower slowly and repeat on opposite side.

Dumbbell Lunges

This exercise strengthens thighs and glutes.

A. From a standing position, step about 30 inches with your left foot. Keep your left foot flat. Only the toes should support your right foot.

B. Bend your left knee until it is about parallel to the floor, keeping your knee above your ankle, not out in front of it. Push up and back with your left leg until your feet are in the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times on each leg.

Ballet Squats

Here's a dancer's exercise that strengthens the buttocks and the tops of your thighs.

Standing Calf Raises

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended with palms facing your sides. With feet pointing straight ahead, knees bent slightly and back straight, lift your heels off the ground pushing off from the balls of your feet until you are on your tip-toes. Hold for one second, then lower slowly.


Here's the classic, performed by athletes for centuries.

Originally published on, June 2007.