10 Weight Workouts For Seniors

An elderly man and woman are seated on exercise balls, lifting blue dumbbells. Both are wearing light blue workout attire and smiling, seemingly enjoying their weight workouts for seniors. The background is bright with large windows letting in natural light.

Weight workouts for seniors are just as important as cardio exercises. Yes, cardio is great for improving your health and losing weight, but you need to build strength too. In fact, a Wake Forest University study reported that seniors get more out of lifting weights than doing cardio. 

Performing weight workouts strengthens your body. No more needing assistance to stand, sit, climb or bend. And, it can also help build your muscles. Who says older adults can’t have well-defined arms or even a 6-pack? 

What’s more, beyond barbells, you can use free weights like dumbbells and kettlebells for your weight workout. Continue reading this article for several free weight workouts for seniors you can do to get stronger. 

Dumbbell Weight Workout for Seniors

Seniors often opt for dumbbell weight workouts because they are less intimidating than barbells. Check out some of these weight workouts for seniors using dumbbells. 

weight workouts for seniors
smiling senior doing dumbbell weight workouts for seniors

Dumbbell Deadlift

The dumbbell deadlift is one of the best weight workouts for seniors. It works all the major muscles used in daily life – the core, back, arms and legs. With this workout, you’ll find it easier to bend and pick up items. It also helps you find your balance and improves your posture.

  • Hold a dumbbell horizontally in each hand while standing hip-width apart. Ensure your palms are facing your body.
  • Tighten your core and lower the dumbbells to your shin by pushing your hip back and bending your knees. 
  • Stand back up by pushing the floor with your feet and tightening your butt. Then, repeat the up and down motion. 
  • Ensure you have the proper form throughout. Your chest should be open, your shoulders back, and your spine straight. 

Dumbbell Squat

Squatting with a dumbbell strengthens your core and lower body. It activates the muscles in your butt and legs to improve your stability. Doing this weight workout will make it easier for you to sit and stand up from the toilet bowl.   

  • Lift a dumbbell vertically at one end, hold it to chest level, and set your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Tighten your core and bend your knees to sink into a squat as low as you can. You can lower into a chair instead of a squat to make it easier. 
  • Ensure your thighs are parallel to the floor when lowered. Then return to the standing position and repeat.

Dumbbell Chest Press

The dumbbell chest press works your upper body to strengthen your chest, shoulders and arms. This helps prevent or resolve shoulder and elbow pain. Also, it’s an easier weight exercise for seniors than the barbell bench press. 

  • Lie face-up on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Make sure the bells are held above your chest, and your feet are firmly planted on the floor.
  • Bend your hands at the elbow with your forearms vertical to your body to lower the dumbbells towards your chest. 
  • Lift the dumbbells back up and repeat the movements a couple more times.

Dumbbell Row

Rowing with a dumbbell strengthens both your upper back and lower back muscles, as well as your shoulder blades. This helps improve body alignment, straighten hunchback and relieve back pain. 

  • Hold a dumbbell vertically in each hand while standing hip-width apart, and bend slightly at the waist at a 45-degree angle.
  • With your palms facing each other, extend your arms towards the ground, and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Pull the dumbbells up towards your abdomen by bending your elbows. Then, lower them again, and repeat the motions.

Kettlebell Weight Workouts for Seniors 

Kettlebells are often underrated. But, they provide great free weight workouts for seniors. Outlined below are some workouts to try. 

weight workouts for seniors
senior male doing kettlebell weight workouts for seniors with a personal trainer

Kettlebell Swing

Swinging a kettlebell is an excellent weight-lifting exercise for seniors to lose belly fat. It provides a full-body workout that causes the heart to beat faster. Hence, alongside strength training, it offers cardio benefits and helps burn more calories. 

  • Grasp the kettlebell by the handle with both hands while standing with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  • With your arms straight, hips pushed back, and knees bent slightly, swing the kettlebell backward between your legs.
  • Thrust your hip forward to stand up while swinging the kettlebell forward and upward. Ensure you squeeze your butt and don’t swing above your chest.
  • Swing the kettlebell back down between your legs and repeat the routine for a couple of reps.

Kettlebell Slingshot

The kettlebell slingshot is a weight workout for seniors that trains the shoulders, arms, forearms, and core. It can help increase your shoulder mobility and improve your grip strength, which often deteriorates with aging.  

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell in one hand in front of you. Keep your shoulders down and your arms straight. 
  • Rotate the kettlebell around your hips in a circular motion. Make sure you engage your core as you swing the kettlebell. 
  • Pass the kettlebell to the other hand in front of your hips and again behind your hips. 

Kettlebell Halo

The kettlebell halo is the best upper body weight workout for seniors with limited shoulder mobility. It strengthens the muscles and joints around the upper back and shoulders. This helps make your upper body more mobile and flexible. 

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward, pick up the kettlebell with an overhand grip. 
  • Clasp the kettlebell by the horn, hold it in front of you at roughly chin height and turn it upside-down, so the ball is facing upward. 
  • Circle the kettlebell by your right side to the back of your head. Then, lower it slightly behind your neck and move it back to the front through your left side. 
  • Then, repeat the motions in the reverse direction, circling to the left when moving back and to the right when moving forward. 

Kettlebell Step-Up

The kettlebell step-up is a weight workout for seniors that stabilizes the lower back muscles and strengthens the leg. Adding this movement to your routine will help you walk up and down the stairs with ease.

  • Stand shoulder-width apart in front of a riser about 8 inches high. You can lower the riser to make the workout easier. 
  • Grasp the kettlebell in one hand and place your right foot on the riser, with your leg bent at the knee. 
  • Step onto the riser with your left foot, as if you’re climbing up a step. Ensure you push up with your right foot and not your left.   
  • Step back down onto the floor with your left foot first. Then, do the routine again, starting with your left foot. 
  • Alternate the foot to start with as you complete a couple of reps. 

Barbell Weight Workouts for Seniors

Lifting a barbell stacked with weight may seem intimidating, but it isn’t impossible for seniors to do. Here are two weight lifting workouts for seniors you should try. 

weight workouts for seniors
senior man doing deadlift weight workout for seniors at the gym

Bench press

Similar to the dumbbell chest press, the bench press is the perfect weight workout for seniors with bad knees. It’s performed while lying on a bench, so there’s no risk of losing your balance and falling. It also works the upper body to increase strength and improve endurance. 

  • Lie face-up on a bench with your eyes just under the bar, your shoulder blades on the bench, and your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Place your hands on the bar shoulder-width apart and in an overhand style. Then, lift the barbell off the rack and straighten your arm to raise it up.  
  • Lower the bar to your chest and hold for a few seconds. Then, straighten your arm to raise the barbell back up.
  • Repeat the up and down movement as many times as you can, and place the bar back on the rack. 


Deadlifts can help seniors strengthen their backs. It enables you to do everyday activities that involve bending down. It is also the safest barbell weight workout for seniors, as you can simply drop the barbell if the workout feels too much.

  • Stand in front of the barbell to get started. Make sure you center yourself in the middle and place your feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend over at the waist and grip the bar in an overhand style. Then, bend your knees until your shins touch the bar.
  • Raise your chest and straighten your back to lift the barbell up as you stand. Avoid locking your knees as you rise up.  
  • Stand upright with the barbell raised above your head and your arms as straight as possible. Try not to lean backward.
  • Lower the barbell back to the ground. Take a rest if you must, and lift and lower the barbell a couple more times. 

Bottom Line

Weight workouts are not off-limits just because you’re a senior. Don’t let anyone tell you that. So, go ahead and perform these weight workouts for seniors to get stronger and improve your health. 

If you’re ready to get started, you should consider hiring a personal trainer to get the most out of your weight workouts. A personal trainer will help develop a weight workout routine to meet your fitness goals. They’ll also supervise your workout to ensure you’re doing it right and safely. 

Ready to try weight workouts for seniors? Sign up for a personal trainer at YouFit Gyms today!

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