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5 Strength Training Exercises for Older Adults

Reading Time: 9~12 mins 

15 March 2024

From ancient yogis to fitness experts, longevity comes from moving well and staying strong. There are plenty of strength training exercises that has a plethora of benefits, physically and mentally.  

Discover why weightlifting is key for graceful ageing and what exercises you can do to ease into it!

Incorporating strength training into your daily routine

For those new to strength training, the prospect can be daunting. However, with the right approach and a bit of guidance, adding resistance exercises to your daily routine doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming. 

Start light and progress gradually:

Begin with lighter weights or resistance bands to allow your body to adapt to the new challenge. Over time, you can gradually increase the load to continue reaping the benefits of muscle and bone development. 

Focus on proper form:

Maintaining correct form during strength exercises is crucial, especially for older adults who may be more susceptible to injuries. Seek guidance from a qualified fitness instructor or personal trainer to ensure you’re performing each exercise safely and effectively. 

Warm up and cool down:

Always include a warm-up session of light aerobic activity and a cool-down period with stretching to prepare your body and help prevent injury. 

Listen to your body:

Pay close attention to how your body feels during and after each workout. While it’s normal to feel some muscle soreness, sharp or persistent pain should never be ignored. 

5 simple strength training workouts for seniors

Box Squat for senior

Box Squats 

Begin by sitting on a box with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

With a straight back, stand up, and then lower yourself back down to the seated position.

Aim for 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Note: Ensure box stability, avoid locked knees, keep feet planted. Stop if pain occurs and use support nearby for safety during exercise.

Wall Push-Ups 

1. Stand facing a wall, about arm’s length away.

2. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height.

3. Lower your chest toward the wall by bending your elbows, and then push back up.

4. Perform 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Note: Ensure your movements are smooth and controlled. Avoid locking your elbows at the end of the push to prevent strain.

Deadlift (with a stick)

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a stick centred over your feet.

2. Bend your knees and hinge at hips to grip the stickwith a normal hand grip.

3. Keep your back straight, core engaged, and shoulders slightly in front of the stick.

4. Drive through heels, extend hips, and stand up, lifting the stick while keeping it close to your body.

5. Squeeze glutes and engage core at the top of the movement.
Hinge at the hips to lower the stick back down in a controlled manner.

6. Repeat for desired number of repetitions, focusing on proper form and technique.

Note: Keep your back straight throughout the movement to avoid rounding or excessive arching. Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine position to protect your lower back. Push through your heels to generate power and maintain balance.

Elastic band stretching for bicep

Bicep Curls with Resistance Band

1. Stand in the middle of a resistance band, grasping the handles with palms facing upwards.

2. Keep your upper arms at your sides and slowly curl the band upwards.

3. Lower the band down with control to complete one repetition. Complete 2 sets of 10-15 reps.

Note: When doing bicep curls with a resistance band, stand firmly with balanced weight on both feet for stability. Keep movements controlled, focusing on bicep contraction. Avoid rushing; maintain a steady pace for full range of motion and tension on the band.

Shoulder Raises with Light Dumbbells 

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing down.

2. Lift the dumbbells up to the side until they are level with the shoulders.

3. Lower them slowly after a short pause.

4. Perform 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Note: When doing shoulder raises with light dumbbells, maintain a straight back, avoid shrugging or using momentum. Move slowly and focus on engaging shoulders. Stop if any neck or shoulder pain occurs. Prioritise form over reps or weight lifted.

Physical and mental benefits of strength training

Muscle, bone, and joint health 

The most obvious and immediate benefit of strength training is the increased muscle mass and subsequent strength that it brings.

For older adults, it is a defense against sarcopenia – the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength.  

Contrastingly, strength training prompts the body to fortify existing muscle tissues and encourages the growth of new ones, ensuring a strong foundation to carry out daily activities without strain or injury. 

Alongside bone density loss, osteoporosis emerges as a significant concern. Weight-bearing exercises, particularly strength training with additional resistance, have shown effectiveness in countering this decline by encouraging bone formation.

This, combined with the comprehensive regime of physical benefits such as improved balance and a reduction in fat, strengthens the body against common age-related health issues. 

Cognitive function and emotional health 

Strength training benefits extend beyond mere physicality. Studies have indicated a positive correlation between resistance training and cognitive function in older adults, suggesting that lifting weights may stave off cognitive decline.

Furthermore, participating in consistent strength training boosts mood and provides stress relief through the release of endorphins, the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals, after exercising. 


This comprehensive enhancement of both mind and body empowers seniors with the resilience required to confidently face life’s obstacles. 


Strength training empowers the body, revitalises the mind, and extends active years into seniority, leading to a longer and higher-quality life. 


Seeking expert guidance from fitness professionals is invaluable for both beginners and seasoned veterans to enhance workout routines.  


Personal trainers can create tailored programmes based on personal needs, goals, health status, and ageing considerations. 


Don’t hesitate to sign up for a complimentary personal training session!