Senior man lifting weights at the gym

The Importance of Weight Training for Seniors

A healthy lifestyle is important at every age, but it becomes particularly impactful on your quality of life as you enter into your senior years. More than just maintaining a healthy weight or nourishing our bodies with the right fuel, senior wellness also encompasses ways to enhance mobility and maintain it in the long run. In the same way that addressing mental health involves a variety of factors such as socialization and intellectual stimulation, physical senior health and wellness means considering more than just cardio.

When part of a comprehensive wellness plan, weight training for seniors can strengthen your bones, boost metabolism, help manage chronic conditions, and improve virtually every aspect of your life. For older adults looking to level up their physical fitness and increase their mobility, we’ve compiled an overview of the core benefits and top strength training exercises for seniors.

What Is Strength Training for Older Adults?

Also known as resistance training, strength training is a method of exercise that involves making your muscles work against a weight or force. And it’s not just for bodybuilders. This broad term covers a wide range of exercise types, from lifting weights to bodyweight exercises and working with resistance bands. That means that your strength training routine can be unique to your interests, whether it’s yoga, yardwork, hiking, tai chi, or hitting the gym to lift weights.

Benefits of Senior Strength Training

How exactly does strength training contribute to an overall lifestyle of wellness? Here are just a few of the most widely recognized benefits that come with weight lifting and resistance training for seniors.

Strengthen your bones: The pressure put on bones during strength training can make bones denser. Developing stronger, denser bones means a lower chance of developing osteoporosis.

Boost your metabolism: People naturally lose muscle mass as they age, and their metabolism slows. By developing more muscles through strength training, you’ll burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate.

Slow the loss of muscle mass: An inevitable result of aging, sarcopenia— the decline in muscle mass and strength that occurs as we age—can potentially be slowed by the integration of strength training in your day-to-day life. Increasing muscle strength through exercise can help you maintain mobility longer, making it easier to keep up with your passions and hobbies. By combining strength training with flexibility and balance exercises, you’ll be able to help reduce your chances of falling and make everyday activities more enjoyable.

Manage chronic conditions: Building muscle can help diminish signs and symptoms of diabetes, heart disease, depression, arthritis, obesity, and back pain. Part of this stems from the increased joint support that comes from growing your muscle mass and strength, in addition to making it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Strength training can also help improve factors that contribute to chronic conditions, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation.


Senior man doing leg workouts at the gym

How to Start Weight Lifting for Seniors

If you’re just getting started with strength training for seniors, the first and most important step is to talk with your doctor. It’s never recommended to begin a new fitness regime without consulting your provider first, who can help you outline any limitations and considerations before you start.

At Abbey Delray, our team members are there to help residents map out their personal wellness journeys and find ways to reach their goals. Remember that consistency is key, regardless of your strength training route. So, make sure that your strength training is safe, enjoyable, and realistic to your goals.

Example Full Body Workout for Seniors

No matter where you’re working out, there are great options for strength training for seniors. While gym equipment can be helpful, you can use your body weight and still get results. Here are some examples of strength training exercises to get started, including everything from dumbbells for seniors to bodyweight exercises you can do at home.

It’s important to remember to warm up with an aerobic activity like walking before you begin strength training. If your muscles are warm before you start, you’re less likely to injure them during your workout.


1. Standing Marches

Stand tall with a chair or a wall beside you for support. Lift one knee until your foot is off the ground. If possible, keep raising your knee until it’s level with your hip. With control, place your foot back on the floor and switch to the other leg.

2. Toe Lifts

Stand straight and hold onto the back of a chair. Raise up onto your toes and lower down with control.

3. Wall Pushups

Stand facing a wall. Raise your hands to the wall, straight out from your shoulders. Bend your elbows diagonally to bring your chest closer to the wall. Your heels may lift off the floor. Press into your hands to bring your arms straight again.


Senior man lifting weights


When selecting your dumbbells, choose a weight that will tire your muscles after 12 to 15 repetitions.

1. Bicep Curls

Stand tall with your arms by your sides, palms facing forward, holding the weights. Raise both arms simultaneously toward your shoulders and slowly lower the weights. Repeat.

2. Tricep Extensions

Stand or sit straight in a chair. Lift your arms above your head and hinge them at the elbows until your hands are behind your head. Without arching your back, straighten your arms until they are once again above your head. Repeat.

3. Overhead Press

Stand or sit straight in a chair. Hold dumbbells at your shoulders, elbows pointing toward the floor. Press weights straight up while you exhale. Return weights to shoulders. Repeat.


1. Seated Leg Curl

Insert the pin into your appropriate weight in the stack. Adjust the seat so your knees are lined up on the pivot. Keep your legs hip-width apart and point your toes toward the ceiling. Push your heels down, and slowly raise back up. Repeat.

2. Lat Pull-Down

Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar firmly while you sit down and place your thighs beneath the pads. Pull the bar down to your chest, bending your elbows. Anchor your shoulder blades down your back. Pause with the bar at your chest and slowly raise it back up. Repeat.

3. Leg Press

Select your weight resistance. Adjust the seat so your legs are at a 90-degree angle with your feet on the board. Push evenly through all parts of your feet. Straighten your legs, without locking your knees. Bend your knees so your legs are at a 90-degree angle again. Repeat.


Group of seniors doing strength training exercises

Enhance Your Wellness and Strength at Abbey Delray

Strength training for seniors is an important part of your overall wellness routine. At Abbey Delray, a premium senior living rental community in Florida, residents have access to a new fully equipped fitness center and a full-time fitness director who’s ready to help them with whatever they need. You’ll find state-of-the-art Helsinki University Research (HUR) equipment designed for safe and effective full-body workouts along with other renovations.

HUR equipment offers expertly designed strength training for older adults. Pneumatic resistance (or air resistance) ensures a safe and effective workout for seniors with different stamina levels and ranges of abilities. The smooth motion and lack of inertia make these machines ideal for people going through rehabilitation after illness or injury. They use natural muscle movements, so they’re easy on joints while building strength.

If you’d like to find out more about our specialized strength-training equipment or our general approach to holistic wellness for older adults and the rich lifestyle at Abbey Delray, fill out the form below.