There are truckloads of easy resistance band exercises for seniors – but only a handful of them are really effective!
Based on more than ten years of experience from resistance band training, I have gathered the very best exercises for seniors looking to get in better shape. And to get you started, I have also put together a weekly full-body resistance band workout routine – specially crafted with seniors in mind!
The Ten Best Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors
1. Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are among the safest and best exercises for developing the posterior chain (1). This movement primarily works on the hamstrings and glutes without putting any pressure on the lower back.
All you need to do is loop a resistance band above your knees, get in position, and actively push your knees out as you do each repetition.
2. Bodyweight Squats
Squats are one of the most natural movement patterns we can do. Plus, when done correctly, they are incredibly safe and do a fantastic job of strengthening our quads while also improving our balance and core strength (2).
Similar to glute bridges, you should loop a band just above your knees and make sure to push against it as you perform each repetition.
3. Lateral Walks
Lateral walks are a fantastic addition to squats and glute bridges because they help you further strengthen the glutes, improve your hip and knee stability, and target your outer thigh muscles to a significant degree.
Plus, this movement is simple to learn and incredibly safe, especially for seniors.
To make the movement more challenging, loop a band over your thighs (above the knees).
4. Band Chest Fly
This is a fantastic exercise for strengthening your pectorals (chest) and anterior deltoid heads (shoulders) (3).
To do them, you can bring a band behind your body, grab it with both hands, and do repetitions. Alternatively, you can wrap the band around something sturdy (e.g., a resistance band door anchor) and do it, much like you would on a gym cable station.
5. Band Horizontal Back Row
This movement is fantastic for strengthening your back muscles – the lats, rhomboids, rear deltoids, and erector spinae (4).
What’s particularly great about this movement is that it is beginner-friendly and you can do it at home. Simply wrap a band over something sturdy (as with the previous exercise), step back to create band tension, and begin rowing with one arm at a time.
6. Horizontal Scissors
Horizontal scissors are among the safest and most effective movements you can do to strengthen your core musculature. To do these, wrap a resistance band above your ankles, lie on the floor, raise both legs in the air and begin pulling the band apart.
7. Single-Arm Bicep Curls
Bicep curls are fantastic for strengthening and growing your biceps, brachialis, and forearm muscles.
The best part is, you can use a band and do numerous variations. For example, step over one side of the band, grab the other with one hand and curl. Alternatively, loop the band on something sturdy, hold it, and curl.
8. Tricep Extensions
Like the previous exercise, tricep extensions are an isolation movement that strengthens the muscle situated in the back of the upper arm. Plus, you can also do several variations with a resistance band.
For example, step over the band, grab it, raise it over your head, and perform behind the head extensions. Alternatively, loop the band somewhere over your head (such as on a door anchor), grab it, and perform tricep extensions similar to those you would do at a gym cable station.
9. Band Pull Aparts
Band pull aparts are a fantastic exercise for strengthening your shoulder (particularly the rear deltoid head) and rotator cuff muscles. Doing them regularly helps prevent injuries, makes them stabler, and allows you to develop greater pushing power.
The best part is, all you need to do is grab a resistance band tightly enough and start pulling it apart.
10. Lateral Raises
To finish this list off, we have another isolation exercise, and this one is for the middle head of the shoulder. Besides that, the movement is fantastic for overall strength and stability in the shoulder and helps you develop superior upper body strength.
A Full-Body Resistance Band Workout For Seniors
Now that we’ve gone over ten of the most effective resistance band exercises, let’s put together a weekly routine with them. Let’s see:
Day 1 (e.g., Monday)
Bodyweight squats – 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 20 reps
Glute bridges – 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 25 reps
Lateral walks – 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 15 reps (to the left, and right)
Day 2 (e.g., Wednesday)
Band chest fly – 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Tricep extensions – 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 25 reps
Lateral raises – 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
Horizontal scissors – 2 to 4 sets of 3 to 10 reps (per leg)
Day 3 (e.g., Friday)
Horizontal band rows – 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 20 reps (per arm)
Single-arm bicep curl – 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps (per arm)
Band pull aparts – 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 25 reps
Final Words: Resistance Bands and Seniors, a Perfect Match
Don’t lay down to die just because you’ve passed your 50’s. Age shouldn’t stop you from taking care of your body. Just work hard, and results will come.
I’ve given you both a handful of effective resistance band exercises and a workout program to get you going – what is stopping you?
If you want to learn more about resistance band training, check out the following articles:
- What is Resistance Band Training? The Science Behind Their Effectiveness
- Do Resistance Bands Work? 7 Amazing Resistance Band Benefits
Or, if you just want to learn more about building muscle, visit my strength building archive – LOADED with workouts, actionable tips, and fitness hacks!
See you there!
- Electromyographic analysis of gluteus maximus and hamstring activity during the supine resisted hip extension exercise versus supine unilateral bridge to neutral. Physiother Theory Pract. 2017 Feb;33(2):124-130.doi: 10.1080/09593985.2016.1271848. Epub 2017 Jan 17.
- Kinematic and Electromyographic Activity Changes during Back Squat with Submaximal and Maximal Loading. Appl Bionics Biomech. 2017; 2017: 9084725. Published online 2017 May 4. doi: 10.1155/2017/9084725
- Muscle Activity in Upper-Body Single-Joint Resistance Exercises with Elastic Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights. J Hum Kinet. 2018 Mar; 61: 5–13. Published online 2018 Mar 23. doi: 10.1515/hukin-2017-0137
- Multiple-joint exercises using elastic resistance bands vs. conventional resistance-training equipment: A cross-over study. J Sport Sci . 2017 Sep;17(8):973-982. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2017.1337229. Epub 2017 Jun 19.