Review – Strength Training for Women Over 40 by Alana Collins

This book is a great resource if you are looking for a beginner to
intermediate strength training over 40 program as long as you know your muscle
names or pair the book with another resource on muscles. One big positive
of the book is that the exercises and 6-week routine have variations
that can be done at home or the gym. The option of working out at home
is perfect for those that can’t go to the gym during the pandemic. This
book was recently published, has all the up to date information you
need, and already has great reviews.

The author, Alana Collins, is a 62-year-old woman who has spent many
years in a gym and became a personal trainer 8 years ago. Her specialty
as a trainer is working with people who are over the age of 40. Although
this book is not specific to women, Alana is very knowledgeable about
issues specific to a strength training for women over 40.

Strength Training Over 40 by Alana Collins

image of book cover

The Introduction – There was a lot I liked

Alana has done her homework and she covers introductory information including:

  • hormonal changes in women over 40 and how strength training can alleviate some issues they create
  • bone loss as women age and how you can minimize the loss and even gain strength in your bones
  • how strength training can improve balance, mobility, and prevent falls in later years
  • the benefits of strength training on our cognitive ability which can deteriorate as we age
  • how nutrition can maximize the benefits of your strength training, including some suggested meals
  • adequate sleep’s positive effect your ability to gain muscle from your workouts

The Exercise Descriptions – Great for Beginners

I like how the book is organized. It includes options for exercises
example exercise description pagesso that you can use resistance bands, body weight, free weights, or gym machines. Exercises are also organized by what muscle or muscle group is being targeted. There are some variations of exercises for changing the level of difficulty.

Alana does recommend that the reader purchases 2 to 3 resistance bands of different strengths before beginning the week 2 routine. If you desire more variety, she recommends purchasing dumbbells. On page 157, the following dumbbell weights are recommended for women who have never
lifted weights before:

Under 55 – 5, 8. and 12 or 15 pounds

Over 55 – 3 or 5, 8, and 10 pounds

Personally I prefer dumbbells of a set weight versus having to
change adjustable dumbbells. This is because you may use more than 1
weight in a given routine, and changing weights all the time is not
conducive to sticking with your workout. Some suggestions for the
recommended material.

Resistance Band Set

5-8-12 dumbbell set with rack

3-5-8 dumbbell set with rack

The Workout – Alana’s 6 Week Program

I like Alana’s 6 Week Program. It has easy to follow options for both
home and gym routines with an estimated time of 35 minutes. She
recommends taking a day of rest between workouts, and that you choose 2
to 3 days a week. Each routine includes the page number of the exercises
listed for easy access. The level of difficulty can be modified by
following the instructions on the associated exercise page. The only
other item I see that you might be of interest for more variations at
home is a stability ball which is shown in the gym workouts.

At the end of each week, there are thought-provoking questions to
help you succeed with your 6-week program. There is also a page to
answer the questions or take notes.

Stability Ball with Pump & Stand

Update on Week 1 Trial: I have 2 thoughts after trying week 1. First thought is for anyone with balance issues doing things like the Split Squats. You should always feel free to use a hand or 2 to touch or hold something to start out and gradually move towards not touching anything. My 2nd thought is about Planks. You can modify a plank to be easier by either resting your elbows on something elevated like a stable bench or by doing them from your knees versus toes. You can find more variations in Women’s Health The Big Book of Exercises which I have also reviewed here:

Overall Conclusion

Thumbs up on this book for beginner’s and intermediate strength
training women. I don’t think advanced trainers would find much of value
in this book and are better off purchasing something else. The 6-week
program has variations that are appropriate for women with a low fitness
level. At the same time, using the more difficult variations will make
it interesting for women with moderate fitness experience.

For beginners, check with your doctor about any limitations for
strength training. I’m guessing your Dr. will be ecstatic that you are
starting on this new adventure. I work with a trainer occasionally to
verify that I am using good form, and you may want to explore that
possibility. Proper form will maximize your benefits. Ask around for
personal trainer referrals though, as not all personal trainers are
equal. Make sure to choose one that is good working with women in your
age group. When you can get to a gym, watching other trainees and asking
questions is an excellent idea. I recommend asking others if they mind
you asking questions first, but most trainees are more than happy to
help others.

Given that I am working from home during the COVID-19 and not able
to go the gym, I have found my consistency with an exercise routine to
be pretty dismal. With that in mind, I am going to give Alana’s 6-week
program a try to let every one know how I make out and update everyone
on my review.



Founder of Strength Training Books for Women

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