Upper Body Workout For Seniors

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Build The Strength You Need To Stay Independent And Pain

Upper Body Exercises for Seniors and the Elderly, Strength training for seniors,

If you want to maintain your independence longer, you cant ignore upper-body strength.

We go through life and have to be able to push things and pull things, says Jason Machowsky, R.D., C.S.C.S., a sports performance specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. From opening a door to lifting grocery bags to opening a window or jars, upper-body strength gives us the ability to do these daily activities.

Plus, many older adults enjoy playing sports like tennis and golf, which take a certain amount of upper-body strength and mobility to do well, he says.

Unless you make an effort to build or maintain your muscle, it wont stick around forever. Age-related decline in muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia, starts around age 40 and continues at a steady rate until up to 50 percent of our muscle is gone by age 80, according to a review in the journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology.

Whats more, sarcopenia is most pronounced in lower-body muscles, which means the upper body has to kick in to help you push yourself up from a chair, get out of bed, or perhaps use a walker. Upper-body strength is especially important for helping maintain your mobility and independence, says Erika Mundinger, D.P.T., a physical therapist at TRIA Orthopaedic in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Key Strength Training Tips For Older Adults

Experts share their best advice for seniors looking to strength train more.

Strength training for older adults is essential to a healthy lifestyle: It helps you stay fit, maintain independence, and reduce symptoms related to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and obesity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate endurance activity per week. This can include cardio, as well as weights or bodyweight exercises to condition your muscles and improve flexibility or balance.

Heres why strength training for older adults matters so much and expert tips to get started.

Surprisingly Easy Upper Body Exercises For Older Adults

Heres some scary news: Between the ages of 25 and 80, muscle strength is estimated to decrease by up to 40%. Starting at about age 30, we lose between 3 and 5% of our muscle mass every decade. Not exactly reassuring, right?

Well, youll be happy to know that the above statistics are for inactive older adults.


Here are three upper body compound exercises to include in your training, 2-3 days per week. Aim to perform each exercise for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, with a weight that makes 10 repetitions feel very challenging.

1. Close Grip Floor Press

One of the main concerns I hear from my over-55 clients, especially women, is about the triceps area and its apparent lack of muscle tone. Instead of doing endless triceps kickbacks with light weights, try this more challenging exercise that also works your chest and shoulders.

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Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, elbows bent at 90 degrees with the top half of your arms on the floor, and your elbows tucked close to your torso. Exhale and press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling, bringing them so they almost touch once theyre above your chest. Lower with control, and repeat the repetitions. To make it more challenging, perform this exercise while lying on a bench, so you can bring your elbows below chest level.

2. Overhead Press
3. Reverse Grip Bent-Over Row

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The Need For Upper Body Strengthening Exercises

As we age, it is natural for our muscles to weaken, simply because the human skeleton and muscles change in structure and function. This means that, at times, our muscles no longer behave just as we want them to. This can make us feel a little less useful and a little too dependent on others.

Building upper body strength is important, because it helps to maintain usual, everyday activities and to keep us feeling fitter and stronger.

The way to develop individual muscles is through strength training. Just about twenty minutes spent regularly every day, or at least three times a week, can help you to strengthen your muscles and feel so much more efficient and capable.


Before beginning any new exercises, it is best to consult your doctor.

For each of the exercises described below, you should do a number of repetitions. Begin with 10 on each side and add to this as you get fitter.

If you feel any pain, stop the exercise and consult a medical professional.

Move 2 Dumbbell Chest Press

How to Increase Upper

Just like the squat, the chest press is a compound exercise, working multiple joints and muscle groups at once. The upper-body move strengthens your chest, shoulders and triceps, according to the American Council on Exercise .

  • Lie on your back on a bench or other flat surface with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights with straight arms above your chest. Plant your feet firmly on the floor and tighten your abs.
  • Bend your shoulders and elbows to lower the weights until they’re in line with your chest . Your forearms should be completely vertical at all times.
  • Press the weights back up over your chest.
  • Tip

    If you don’t have a workout bench available, you can use an at-home weight bench alternative, like the floor, a piano bench or other stable surface.

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    Plan For Extra Warmup And Recovery Time

    Nows the time to take warmups and cooldowns seriously. This is because you simply heal and recover slower than decades ago. Remember to give yourself extra rest days in general and more breaks in between strength training sets or workouts.

    The main difference between working out in your twenties versus your sixties is recovery and flexibility, Kennihan says.

    It can take some easing into if you are new to lifting or havent lifted since you were younger. If youve never done resistance training before, keep day one short and sweet. Aim for ten to 15 minutes. If youre sore afterward, wait until the soreness is gone before your next session. Give your body time to adapt and recover from each workout to get the most benefits.

    Dumbbell Leg Exercises For The Elderly

    The lunge is essentially a significant forward move. While the lunge exercise can be performed without weights, adding weights such as dumbbells to the lunge provides extra work for the upper leg and buttock muscles. Lunges with weights necessitate good balance, so if youre having trouble holding your balance, start the exercise without the weights before youve mastered the proper form.

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    Correct Dumbbell Weights For Seniors

    Having three separate dumbbell weights at your disposal will help you get a full-body workout. It allows you to easily adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise, depending on what muscles you are training. Choose a heavy enough dumbbell to comfortably perform eight to 12 repeats for each movement. Your muscles should feel exhausted as you get closer to the end of a set, and you may even struggle a little, but the dumbbells should not be too heavy. Even dumbbell exercises for 70-year-olds are possible if you select the correct weights.

    If you are a woman, you can start with an 8 pounds dumbbell. As you gain more experience with training, you can start using a set of 10 pounds . For senior men, a set of 10 pounds dumbbells should do the work. Only correct dumbbell weights can turn a dumbbell workout for a 60-year-old man enjoyable.In addition, it is always a good idea to get a set of lighter dumbbells for warming up. For female seniors, a set of 5 pounds usually does the trick. For males, a 15 pounds dumbbell and another 8 pounds are more suitable.

    A standard strength training routine consists of three sets of 12 repetitions separated by one to two minutes of rest. You can choose from an almost limitless number of dumbbell exercises. Before introducing the best dumbbell exercises for the elderly, we invite you to watch this introduction to weights for seniors.

    Move 3 Dumbbell Deadlift

    Upper Body Workout With Weights For Seniors – Intermediate | More Life Health

    Whenever you bend over to get a pen off the ground, you’re doing a deadlift.

    Practicing your deadlifts with dumbbells strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, core and lats. It’ll also help you master proper form for everyday feats of strength. Picking up a pen may feel easy, but when you’re lifting a heavy box off the floor, using proper form is critical to side-stepping injury, especially in your lower back.

    The deadlift is one of the most functional dumbbell exercises for seniors, Araujo says.

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    The Best 10 Dumbbell Exercises For Seniors

    Theres nothing complicated about exercise. However, as we get older, we start to shy away from it because we feel like it needs too much effort. Besides, whos got the time to go to the gym every two or three days?

    Youve just read two huge misconceptions about exercise: it is hard and you have to go to the gym. You dont. The word exercise is derived from the Latin word excercitare, which means to keep busy. All you have to do to exercise is to engage in physical activity. Thats it.

    You dont have to go to the gym either exercise can be performed anywhere. These days, most people are bound by their busy schedules, train from home, and manage to stay relatively fit while theyre at it.

    If people can stay fit using basic fitness equipment at home, how hard can it be? One of the best pieces of training equipment for home use is the dumbbell. It is easy to use, available in various weights, and perfect for low to medium-impact full-body workouts.

    Anyone whos 50 years or older doesnt need high-impact training unless preparing for a competitive event. Regular low to medium impact training is enough to keep you fit, plus it is less likely to injure your body.

    Dumbbell exercises for seniors are tailored to slow down muscle loss and improve cardiovascular fitness. They also have fewer sets and reps, which is ideal because you need to do them consistently to stay fit. Its not a matter of how much weight you can lift its about doing what you can every day to keep healthy.

    Upper Body Workout Senior Fitness

    According to the National Institute on Aging, even making small changes when it comes to strength building can have big benefits, even for those people who may have already lost a lot of muscle. They report that increases in muscle mass that aren’t even visible to the eye can still make it easier to get up from chairs or climb stairs. Some of the exercises for seniors to include in the exercise routine to build strength in the upper body include:

    • Arm raise While sitting down and holding light hand weights, have your parents raise their arms at the same time, holding them straight out, then sideways. They should hold the position for one second and then slowly lower their arms to repeat, and do 8 to 15 repetitions. The back should remain flat against the chair and the feet flat on the floor.
    • Bicep curls While in a seated position and holding a light hand weight, raise and lower one arm at a time to curl the bicep up. Hold it for one second and slowly lower, then do 8 to 15 repetitions.
    • Tricep extension In the same seated position as the others, have your parents gently lower the weight behind their back, while using their other hand to support their arm. Hold it for one second and then slowly lower it, and repeat with 8 to 15 repetitions. The opposite arm should always support the one with the weight that is going toward the back.

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    Benefits Of Dumbbell Front Raise For Seniors

    Choose two dumbbells with an appropriate weight. Start with a lightweight and complete one to three exercises with 10 to 12 repetitions. For this exercise, 5-pound dumbbells for women and 10-pound dumbbells are recommended.

    How to Start

  • Stand straight and open your feet equal to shoulders width. Maintain a straight back and flat feet on the concrete. Your weight-bearing arms should hang down.
  • Hold the dumbbells horizontally between the legs, palms facing backward. Make sure you have a good handle on the item.
  • Abdominal muscles should be geared up.
  • With arms out in front and palms facing down, lift the weights upward while inhaling. Maintain a gentle bend in the elbows to relieve joint tension. Pause when the arms are almost parallel to the floor and feel the shoulder muscles contract.
  • When exhaling, slowly and steadily move the dumbbells to your starting spot at the thighs.
  • Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.
  • Safety Tips

    If you have a shoulder injury or discomfort, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about whether you should do this exercise or not. In case of a propensity to tendonitis or bursitis, the rotation in this exercise can cause shoulder impingement, and you may experience pain. Most importantly, stop and put the weights down if you experience some discomfort when lifting.

    Chest Squeeze With Med Ball

    Pin on Workouts

    This exercise strengthens the upper body, including the chest and arms.

  • Sit on a chair, back straight and abs in.
  • Hold a medicine ball or weight at chest level.
  • Hold the weight so that the elbows are bent and out to the sides and you’re putting even tension on the ball with both hands, squeezing the chest.
  • Holding that tension, slowly push the ball straight out in front of you at chest level until the elbows are straight.
  • Continue keeping tension on the ball. It should feel harder the farther out you go.
  • Bend the elbows and pull the ball back to your chest.
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    Move : Alternating Chest Fly

  • Lie on the ground and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lift your legs off the ground with your shins parallel to the ground.
  • Hold both of your arms straight in front of your chest so that your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in a straight line.
  • Slowly lower your right arm to the right side while keeping your left arm stable.
  • Bring your right arm back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the left arm and continue to alternate arms for a total of 12 to 15 reps.
  • âAlternating your arms creates a unique challenge because the deep core muscles have to contract to stabilize the spine, increasing the benefit of the exercise,” says Tricia Murphy-Madden, CPT, director of education for Barre Above.

    “Lying on the floor can help you control the range of motion and emphasizes the chest and shoulder muscles with a lower risk of injuring the joints.â Plus, raising your legs off the floor activates your core even more, allowing you to do more work in less time.

    Dumbbells Come In Different Weight Ranges

    Everybody can use dumbbells because they come in many different weight classes. Now, this is important because the weight of your dumbbells can impact your training.

    Picking a set thats too heavy is not recommended for anyone thats over 50. Its not a deadlift competition, but you shouldnt go for a set that you can lift too easily, either.

    Youre better off with a moderately heavy set that you can comfortably lift but is heavy enough to tire out your muscles after a few reps. Eventually, your muscles acclimatize to this weight, becoming stronger and leaner.

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    Benefits Of Bicep Curls With Dumbbell For Seniors

    Curls work the biceps muscles in the front of the upper arm and the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in the lower arm. These muscles are used every time you pick something up, which happens in everyday life. The standing arm curl strengthens the upper arm and teaches you how to use your arm muscles properly while bracing your core muscles.

    How to Start

    Choose dumbbells you can raise ten times with proper shape. Starting weights for dumbbells are 5 to 10 pounds per dumbbell. Start with 2 pounds if youre just getting started, recovering from an injury, or returning to exercise after long inactivity.

  • Stand straight and open your feet equal to your shoulders. Then grape your abdominal muscle.
  • On each side, hold a dumbbell. Allow your arms to fall naturally to the sides of your body, palms facing forward.
  • Bend at the elbow and raise the weights so that the dumbbells approach your shoulders, keeping your upper arms stable and shoulders relaxed. Have your elbows tucked in tight to your ribs? When lifting, breathe.
  • Move back the weights to the previous position.
  • Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.
  • Safety Tips

    Always Warm Up And Cool Down

    The Best Upper Body Exercises For Seniors (No Equipment) | More Life Health

    Every training session should begin with a warm-up and end with a cool down, Araujo says. Although they’re easy to skip, these parts of your workout are just as important as all the dumbbell-lifting in the middle.

    Warm up with a few dynamic stretches, like clamshells and inchworms. Or, to make things even simpler, run through your dumbbell workout without using just your body weight, Araujo says.

    Then, save the last few minutes of your exercise session for a few cool-down static stretches, like side lunges and runners lunges. These will help to gradually bring your heart rate back down and promote recovery, Araujo says.


    Listening to your body is an important part of preventing injury. If you experience any sharp pain, particularly around your joints, stop the exercise you’re doing and talk to your doctor.

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    Benefits Of Dumbbell Bent

    Choose two dumbbells with an appropriate weight. Start with a lightweight and complete one to three exercises with 10 to 12 repetitions. For this exercise, we recommend 5-pound dumbbells for women and 10-pound dumbbells for men.

    How to Start

  • Stand straight and open your feet equal to shoulder width. Maintain a straight back and flat feet on the concrete. Your weight-bearing arms should hang down.
  • Hold the dumbbells horizontally between the legs, palms facing backward. Make sure you have a good handle on the item.
  • Abdominal muscles should be geared up.
  • With arms out in front and palms facing down, lift the weights upward while inhaling. Maintain a gentle bend in the elbows to relieve joint tension. Pause when the arms are almost parallel to the floor and feel the shoulder muscles contract.
  • When exhaling, slowly and steadily move the dumbbells to your starting spot at the thighs.
  • Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.
  • Safety Tips

    If you have back or shoulder issues, stay away from this exercise. With inadequate weights, shoulder dislocation may be a concern. Stop exercising if you experience pain or inflammation.

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