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Get stronger during the menopause

Increasing your strength will improve your health and future quality of life

We know it’s important to work on strength-training throughout the menopause and beyond, but it can be hard to know where to start. Dr Hussain Al-Zubaidi, the Royal College of GPs Lifestyle and Physical Activity Lead, fitness coach and Ironman triathlete, devises strength training programs for clients. He advises any strength training program for women going through menopause should focus on promoting overall health, managing hormonal changes, and addressing specific concerns related to bone density and muscle mass.

Before starting any strength program, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert, especially if there are pre-existing health conditions. Here’s a general outline for a well-rounded strength training program for women during menopause. It is important to reduce or increase sets, movements and sessions based on your baseline ability. Start slow and build up.

Program overview:

Frequency: 2-3 days per week with at least one day of rest between sessions.

Duration: 8-12 weeks before reassessment.


Start each session with a 5–10 minute warm-up to increase blood flow, warm up the muscles, and improve joint flexibility. Include activities such as light cardio (e.g., brisk walking or cycling) and dynamic stretches.

Strength-training routine:

Compound Exercises:

Squats: 3 sets x 8-12 reps

Bench press: 3 sets x 8-12 reps

Overhead press: 3 sets x 8-12 reps

Farmer’s carry: 25% body weight split across each arm. Looking to maintain grip for 60 seconds while walking (or lunging if able). Aim to progress to 50% of body weight across each arm.

Isolation exercises:

Leg press: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Lat pulldowns: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Dumbbell rows: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Tricep dips: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Core exercises:

Planks: 3 sets, hold for 30-60 seconds

Russian twists: 3 sets x 15-20 reps

Bicycle crunches: 3 sets x 15-20 reps

If high blood pressure is a challenge for you, consider reviewing Dr Hussain’s video outlining the best forms to help reduce this.


Follow Dr Hussain @irondoctorhaz

Get stronger during the menopause

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