Fight Bone Loss and Weight Gain with this Customizable Dumbbell Workout

After age 40, bone mass generally decreases, which can leave us susceptible to bone fractures, osteoporosis, and poor posture, as well as balance issues. Strength training is a proven way to improve bone density and manage weight at any age.

One common concern from clients as they pass 40, is about the effects of bone loss, like weight gain and declining balance. Strength training is a proven strategy for maintaining bone mass while managing a comfortable weight, but the gym can be an intimidating place.

So, our expert trainer created this, Fight Bone Loss and Weight Gain Dumbbell Workout, with accompanying video demonstration and printable reference guide, to target the places most vulnerable to bone loss and fracture, like wrists, hips, and spine. We’ve also included whole body, weight-bearing exercises that improve balance and help manage weight.

How to use this workout guide



Read through the instructions below before trying each exercise.


Watch the video demonstration linked at the end of the instructions.


Click on the Printable Photo Guide below to see a downloadable, printable PDF of the Fight Bone Loss and Weight Gain Workout guide to use at home, at the gym, or save to your computer or phone.


Contact us for more information or to schedule a training session to learn each exercise in detail.

Man with a dumbbell

A note on choosing your weight


Martin’s general advise for finding your weight: it should be light enough you can move with control and without pain in your joints, and heavy enough that the second to last rep is difficult and the last rep is very difficult or almost impossible.

This may take some trial and error – that is fine. You can also change weight day to day depending on your changing needs. Progress doesn’t mean a straight line from low weight to heavy weight! It means listening to your body and getting to know what you need and how those needs change daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally…. Go for quality and grace in movement and your body will thank you.

Read more about working with weights in Train Smart with Dumbbells and more about Mindfulness in Strength Training here.


Heavier is not always better. There is gain without pain!

Instructions for the Fight Bone Loss and Weight Gain Dumbbell Workout


Improve posture and chest, shoulder, and wrist strength with this combo dynamic stretch and strength exercise.

    • Start lying on a bench with dumbbells reaching up to the sky and close together.
    • Lower the weights out to your sides, keeping your elbows slightly soft, and let the weight take you into a slightly arched upper back, feeling a stretch across your chest.
    • Return weights to starting position with straight arms, soft at the elbows.
    • *For an intermediate variation, before returning to the starting position, first bend your elbows so that the weights are close to your chest, then press them to the sky.
    • Repeat this exercise 8-10 times.


Following the same idea as Chest Flys, but working the other side of your body, this is another great exercise for fighting rounded shoulders and improving posture and strength.

    • Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with weights placed under your legs. Fold over your legs and relax your head and neck completely. Take your weights in hand.
    • Lift weights out to the sides like wings. Use straight arms with just a slight softness at the elbow. Lift as high as possible, hold squeezing your shoulder blades together and relaxing neck and head.
    • Lower to the starting position.
    • *For an intermediate version, from the starting position, bend your elbows and pull them up as high as possible, then extend arms out to the sides. Try lowering with straight arms, or come back to the bent elbow position on the way down.
    • Repeat lifting a lowering 8-10 times.


This exercises works with both the strength and range of motion in shoulders.

    • Start sitting on the floor or a bench and prop one foot up so you can rest your elbow on your knee.
    • Rotate the weight down to the earth as far as you can go without lifting your elbow or scrunching your shoulders. Maintain a tall spine.
    • Return to the starting position or beyond.
    • *If the weight you are using is too much for this exercise, you can also create the resistance be pressing down with your other hand, or by using a resistance band. Place the band under your bottom foot so it is trapped against the floor and, holding it with your top hand, move slowly and with control through the rotations.
    • Try 8-10 on each side.


This full body weight-baring exercise is super customizable so you can choose to focus on hevier weight one day, resulting in greater leg, hip, and ankle strength, or take the weight down and use one leg another day, resulting in better balance and coordination.

    • Start sitting on a bench or chair with a weight in each hand held at shoulder height.
    • As you stand, hold weights at your shoulders or thrust weights overhead.
    • Slowly lower yourself back to the bench with control. Slower is better.
    • *For more balance challenge, use only one leg and only one weight, held on the side of your supporting leg. You can also use a lower seat for more challenge or drop the weight to focus solely on balance and coordination.
    • Try 8-10 on each side.

You are half-way through the workout!  Here’s a sneak peak of the printable guide… more instructions are below…

Dumbbell Workout guide 1
Dumbbell Workout guide 2


Most of our daily activity moves us forward; occasionally backward. It is a great idea for your body and your brain to include movement sideways (and rotationally.) Strong back and side muscles can also diminish low back pain.

    • Start standing and hold a weight in one hand – you move in the direction of the weight.
    • Imagine you have walls directly in front of and behind you, so you are sandwiched in, as you bend to the side and return.
    • *For more challenge, try elevating the opposite leg on a stool or bench, or reaching your opposite arm overhead.
    • Repeat this exercise 8-10 times on each side.


This is a great toner for the triceps, the muscles at the back of your arms that also uses your whole core for stability.

    • Start like Chest Flys, lying on a bench or floor with weights held up to the sky.
    • First move both arms a bit toward the head-end of your bench so the weights are balanced over your chin, then bend your elbows so that the weights come down on either side of your skull, near your ears. Try to keep your upper arm bones vertical in space.
    • *And in this step for an intermediate exercise: from the bent elbow position, maintain bent elbows and draw them down to your chest, then press the weights to the sky, returning to the starting position again.
    • Repeat 8-10 times.


This is another great combo of dynamic stretching and pure strength that can make breathing more accessible and improve posture.

    • Start as you did in Chest Flys and Skull Crusher, but with only one weight held in your hands.
    • Reach the weight back over the crown of your head as far as you can go. Let your upper back arch until your feel a nice stretch down the sides of your body and an opening in the front of your body.
    • Return to starting.
    • *For a weight-free variation, use a long stick or broom handle. Use the bottom arm to push the stick into your top arm as you reach overhead, and do the opposite on the way up, using your top arm to push the stick into your bottom hand.
    • Try 8-10. If using the stick, try 8-10 on each side.


Work balance, core strength, and back body, especially glutes, with this weighted version of the Donkey Kick.

    • Start on all fours on the ground, or use a bench for the extra balance and core challenge.
    • Place a fairly heavy weight behind one knee – we call this the, Kneepit Squeeze!
    • Balancing on three limbs, lift and lower the weighted leg by pressing your heel directly toward the sky. Try not to let you bely sag to the floor/back arch. Also, try not to let you torso or pelvis rotate – keep your hips square to the ground.
    • *For a less intense variation, use the floor rather than a bench, and drop the weight. Just focus on lifting and lowering your leg as high as you can while maintaining your core integration.
    • Try 8-10 on each leg.

Click on the video below to see demonstrations of all of the exercises included in this workout. More workouts and demos are on our YouTube channel.  

We hope you find this workout guide helpful. Please remember that participation in exercise involves inherent risks and dangers, including the risk of personal injury or health-related issues.  By using the TrainMovePlay workout guides, you assume full responsibility for these risks. It is advisable to seek professional medical advice if you have any doubts about your ability to safely participate in these workouts. If needed, you should follow the guidance and restrictions set by your healthcare provider. By using our workout guides, you agree to waive, release, and discharge TrainMovePlay, LLC, its owners, trainers, staff, and affiliates from any claims, liabilities, or demands that may arise from your participation in the workouts, including any claims related to personal injury or loss of property, whether caused by negligence or otherwise. Thank you.

Still unsure about how to get started? No problem! Contact us for a complimentary consultation  to sign up for personal training and learn each exercise in detail.

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