The 4 Best Workouts for Men in Their 30s

Building muscle takes real work

If you’re in your 30s, try these exercises | iStock.com

Well, you’re in your 30s now — that means you’re not a kid anymore. It also means you’re not exactly an old man, and that you’re flirting with, or fully embracing, the idea of becoming middle-aged. With your 20s in the rearview mirror, you’re likely facing a number of lifestyle changes. Things are probably slowing down, or maybe you’re getting married or starting a family. For a lot of guys, it’s a welcome change to the hubris chaos that defines our 20s.

And when it comes to fitness and health, our 30s may just be the most important decade of our lives.

Previously, we put together a short list of the best workouts for men in their 20s. Your 20s should be used to tackle a few simple goals: develop healthy habits, establish a baseline of muscle, and basically learn to take care of yourself. The idea is to have those habits and lessons carry over into the next stage of life. Now that you’re seeing a “3” as the first digit in your age, you’re entering that critical stretch.

For men in their 30s, keeping the habits intact while also juggling family life and a career is the ultimate challenge. Considering you’re also getting older and your body is probably starting to “feel it” in some respects, you’re also going to be wanting to tailor your diet and exercise routines to make sure you’re reducing injury risk and looking out for common health problems like heart disease and cancers.

With that in the bag, we’re covering a few workouts that are perfect for men in their 30s, just like we did for men in their 20s. Keeping our major goals and concerns in mind, the following workouts should keep you on track — and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

1. Balance and flexibility focus

man running up the stairs

Focus on your flexibility and balance | iStock.com

We keep extolling the virtues of balance training, and now that you’re getting a little older, keeping up with your flexibility and balance ability is getting more and more important. We’ve covered balance training before and note how some relatively simple exercises — which can be done at home, at the office, or even while riding the bus, in some cases — can help improve your overall health, circulation, and nervous system. Again, now that your body has some miles on it, the wear and tear is going to start adding up. But by doing some of these exercises, you can reverse or stall some of that damage and set yourself up for a healthier future in your later years.

2. Cardio-heavy

running with your family

Try going for a run outside | iStock.com

You may not be able to find a squat rack or bench press now that your home gym has been modified into a kid’s room, but you can always hit the streets or treadmill. A workout routine focused on cardio has its benefits, mostly in that you’ll burn a lot of calories and stay in tiptop cardiovascular shape, but it also has its downfalls. You won’t build or maintain muscle, but if you don’t have a lot of time or a lot of protein powder, simply keeping yourself in good health is a solid goal. There are numerous running programs you can adopt, and simply making the time to hit the streets will go a long way in preserving your health in your 40s and 50s.

3. Traditional lifts

weight plate

Lifting weights is important in your 30s | iStock.com

Assuming you’re fortunate enough to have the time and access to a gym with barbells, constructing a basic workout routine around the three big compound lifts — the deadlift, squat, and bench press — will help you keep the momentum from your younger years. These three lifts, and perhaps a few auxiliaries, are really all you’re going to need to keep yourself in shape and keep your muscles firm and toned. Of course, you’ll need to make sure you’re sticking to a schedule and getting the proper fuel in your diet, which may be a huge challenge in itself.

But since a lot of men in their 30s may not be able to keep up with their lifting regimen that was established in their 20s, this may not be feasible for a lot of men. Still, if you can get your compound lifts in, don’t forgo the opportunity to do so.

4. Weight-management workouts

a man eating chips

Manage your weight with your workouts | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Let’s face it — time may be in scant supply as you hit your 30s. With your career likely in full swing and newfound responsibilities to a family (perhaps?), you may find yourself with less and less opportunities to actually hit the gym. That means you’ve had to strip down your workouts to be as fast and efficient as possible and to keep your basic health in check.

Tons of responsibility can leave us stressed out, diverging from our diet plans, and ultimately, gaining weight. A simple way men in their 30s can combat this is with a weight-management workout. That means that you’re not necessarily packing on muscle, but burning calories and staying toned. Weekly, this means that you’re elevating your heart rate for, at the very least, 75 minutes, and that can include cardio, weight training, or anything else you want.

The key is to keep moving and maintain a baseline of health during these stressful years. You can always pick up the weights again when things calm down.