5 Essential Exercises for Jacked Men Over 40

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘The ONLY 5 Exercises You Need to Look Jacked (men over 40)’ by musclemonsters

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

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How does it work?
The video discusses exercises for an attention-grabbing physique.

Key Insights

  • The video focuses on building a head-turning, aesthetic physique that commands attention.
  • It discusses 5 exercises that help achieve a jacked, muscular look by targeting muscle groups with the biggest visual impact.
  • The exercises mentioned are cable lateral raises, chest supported rows, pull-ups or pull-downs, low inclined dumbbell bench press, and trap bar deadlifts.
  • The cable lateral raise is recommended for developing the mid-delts, which contribute to broader shoulders.
  • Chest supported rows are recommended for developing the upper back and traps, which create a muscular appearance.
  • Pull-ups or pull-downs are suggested for building the lats, which create a V-shaped upper body.
  • Low inclined dumbbell bench press is mentioned as an effective alternative to the traditional bench press, targeting chest development.
  • Trap bar deadlifts are recommended to target lower body strength and size, with variations for the posterior and anterior portions.
  • The trap bar deadlift is seen as a safer alternative to the traditional barbell lifts like squats and deadlifts.
  • The video emphasizes the importance of quality of movement, hand position, and safe execution for effective results.
  • The exercises mentioned are recommended for those who want to avoid over-training and joint issues, as they focus on efficiency and effectiveness.

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If you’re looking to build a head-turning, aesthetic physique that commands attention, you must focus on developing key muscles that not only make you stronger, but also make you look bigger and more muscular.

In this video, we’ll discuss 5 exercises that’ll help you achieve a jacked, muscular look by focusing on muscle groups that make the biggest visual impact. And if you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond, then you know that too much training volume can wreak havoc on your joints, making it nearly impossible to recover as fast as you did in your 20s.

That’s why I want to focus on movements that are not only effective, but also efficient, so you don’t have to spend hours in the gym hammering a specific muscle group. So, with that out of the way, let’s get into the only 5 exercises you need to look jacked.

Exercise 1 – Cable Lateral Raises
Being the most visually prominent area of your upper body, broad shoulders automatically make you look wider and more muscular. And while the shoulders as a whole play a major role in upper body width, it’s the mid-delts that contribute the most to broader shoulders.

Unfortunately, while the front and rear delts are heavily targeted through the pushing and pulling exercises you’re already doing, the mid-delts get very little stimulus from compound lifts. That’s why it’s not only imperative that you train them directly, but that you train them in a way that gives you the biggest bang for your buck.

And because the primary function of the mid-delts is horizontal abduction, it’s no secret that they’re best trained with some form of lateral raise. And while the traditional dumbbell lateral raise is a great exercise, it only challenges the mid-delts during the mid and shortened ranges.

This study from Garner and Pandey regarding the length tension relationship in the shoulder muscles, however, shows that the lateral delt is active throughout its entire range of motion. In other words, it’s highly active in the lengthened position, which is completely ignored when utilizing dumbbells.

That’s why I recommend a cable lateral raise as it challenges the mid-delts throughout the entire range of motion, keeping tension on the target muscle from start to finish. And if you want to make your mid-delt training even more effective, there are a few more things you must consider.

First, hand position. This fairly recent study comparing internal, neutral and external rotation of the arm found that a neutral hand position creates the highest middle delt activation. That same study also suggests that a longer moment arm activates the middle delts better.

In other words, it may be better to perform this movement with your arms fully extended. And lastly, perform the lateral raise in the scapular plane. Instead of raising your arms directly at your sides, raise them in front of you slightly, about 30-45 degrees from your clavicle, as this puts the delts in the strongest and safest position to abduct the shoulder.

Overall, the lateral raise is a relatively low-risk, light load exercise, which is great for those who may have joint or mobility issues or are proactively trying to avoid causing any. By focusing on the quality of the movement and gradually increasing resistance over time, you can safely and effectively build 3D delts without having to spend hours in the gym hammering your shoulder joints.

Exercise number 2, chest supported row.
Nothing creates a muscular appearance like a thick set of traps. Just compare someone with well-developed traps to someone with underdeveloped traps. The lack of trap development will make a muscular individual appear smaller and in some cases even less masculine.

Contrary to popular belief, the upper trap fibers do not run up and down. Instead, they run diagonally. That means that maximum tension is placed when force is applied at an angle. You see, while one of the main functions of the traps is scapular elevation or shrugging your shoulders upwards, they’re also responsible for scapular retraction or pulling your shoulder blades back.

In fact, one recent 2021 study showed that upper, middle, and lower trap activation levels were highest during scapular retraction compared to the conventional shrug. And since most of the deep upper back muscles also run horizontally and attach to the scapula, we can presume that they too are trained best in this manner.

The key here is to allow your upper back muscles to stretch as much as possible during the eccentric phase, allowing your thoracic spine to round a little. This puts your traps and other upper back muscles under a loaded stretch for maximal activation.

This is why I recommend a chest supported row over a non-supported variation, as it allows your shoulder blades to protract fully without having to compensate by hinging at your hips. Then, during the concentric, focus on retracting the scapula, bringing your shoulder blades as close to your spine as possible.

The more protraction and retraction of the scapula we get during a rowing movement, the greater the range of motion, thus the more effective the exercise becomes. And since most of the upper back muscles attach at the scapula and work to stabilize it, it becomes even more important to train and strengthen them since they significantly influence shoulder health and stability.

According to this study, weakness of these stabilizers could result in abnormal stresses to the shoulder, increased possibility of rotator cuff compression, and decreased neuromuscular performance.

Exercise 3 – Pull Ups or Pull Downs
The lats are one of the largest, most visible muscles in the upper body. When well developed, the lats create a V shape that makes your upper body appear wider, giving you a more muscular appearance. And since their main function is horizontal adduction or bringing your arms down at your sides, it’s no surprise that pull ups or lat pull downs are the best way to build them.

One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared different grips on the lat pull down. A V-bar with hands in a neutral position, an underhand pull down similar to a chin up, an overhand pull down similar to a pull up, and an overhand behind the back pull down. They found that the pronated in front of the body variation led to the highest activation in the lats and therefore when applied to a pull up, which is essentially the same fundamental movement pattern, should be the same.

When it comes to grip width, research seems to support the use of a medium grip over both a narrow or wider grip due to more activation on the eccentric portion of the exercise. And since all exercise variables remain the same in the study, including range of motion, hip angle, trunk movement, and more, it means that choosing the right hand position alone greatly influences the levels of muscle fiber recruitment.

As far as choosing between the pull up or pull down, I recommend incorporating both. Personally, I perform pull ups or weighted pull ups during my strength focused training days and lat pull downs on days where I’m training in a higher rep range. That said, if you can’t perform enough pull ups to achieve an adequate amount of volume, check out our video titled How to Increase Your Pull Up Strength Fast and learn how you can go from 0 pull ups to 10 pull ups in 30 days.

Exercise number 4, Low Inclined Dumbbell Bench

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘The ONLY 5 Exercises You Need to Look Jacked (men over 40)’ by musclemonsters