A good training program is specific to what your fitness goals are.
As it pertains to building strength, I always come back to the 3 major compound lifts.
The deadlift, bench and squat are the cornerstones of any strength building programs. They also happen to be functional movements that will benefit anyone looking to better their quality of life.
Despite these being among the most basic that any lifters should know, I still see many people in the gym that clearly have not had a single session on how to deadlift, bench or squat properly.
If you are in your 40s and never had any experience exercising, I would recommend starting with basic bodyweight equivalents like push-ups, body squats and pull-ups.
These are effective for beginners because they demonstrate the motions without putting an excessive load on your joints and body.
Push-ups recruit muscle unit fibers in your shoulder, upper back and arms.
Start by placing your hands on the floor. Keep your elbows at about 45 degrees without flaring out too much.
Keep your lower body taut and maintain that throughout the entire exercise. Try to avoid allowing your bottom and hips to sink.
A great tip is to imagine pushing your body away from the floor in one clean motion.
This is definitely a more advanced exercise and I recognize that not everyone will be able to perform a pull-up immediately.
If so, a great starter exercise would be incline pull-ups. With your legs out, keep both feet together and extend your arms at the bottom of the exercise till you form an L shape.
As with a regular pull-up, keep your body tight at all times. Pull yourself up till your chin reaches just above the bar. Pause momentarily at the top before lowering yourself to the rest position and repeat as many times as you can.
Once you get more comfortable, you can attempt a pull-up. A regular pull-up should be one swift, natural movement. Depending on your height and the bar, you may have to bend your knees to keep your legs back from hitting the floor.
Arguably the most functional exercise as it trains the most basic of human movements.
A bodyweight squat is an exercise that requires your lower body, core and upper body working in concert to perform effectively.
For an idea of how to squat, just look at babies. Ever notice how they can squat perfectly without assistance?
It marvels me how babies are able to observe all the basic rules of squatting effortlessly while grown adults can sometimes struggle with them.
A few key things to note when squatting, keep your weight on your heels and imagine pushing yourself up off the floor through them. Your head should be upright, as is your torso throughout the squat. At the bottom, your knees should not extend beyond your toes.
I would suggest noting down what your maximum repetitions for each exercise and performing 75% of that number for 3 sets.
Increase to 5 sets the next week and continue until you can hit 10 sets with a rest time of about 45-60 sec in between each.
Once you can perform 10 sets effectively, you can transition over to the compound lifts as part of a functional strength building program.