seated resistance band exercises elderly

In this article I will list the top 10 seated resistance band exercises elderly and seniors can do for increased strength and mobility. Each exercise suggestion will include a video demonstration.

Last updated January 2023

Hi - I'm Ollie 🙂

Welcome to the Wise Fitness Academy website.

It's lucky you found me! I'm a personal trainer and nutritionist specialising in the older adult and senior demographic and I show people the BEST and most OPTIMAL way to stay strong and mobile in older age.


For these exercises you will need either a:

Loop resistance band (pictured below)

This band is mostly for lower body exercises.

seated resistance band exercises elderly

or a

Flat resistance band (pictured below)

This band is mostly for upper body exercises.

seated resistance band exercises elderly

Both these types of resistance band are incredibly versatile and can be used to do effective strength gaining exercises. If you would like some product recommendations and links to purchase these bands click HERE.

Note: There are no specific resistance bands for seniors or the elderly. All resistance bands are fine for any age group. It's the band exercises for seniors and older adults that will change to best suit mobility and strength levels. 


Exercise 1: Banded pull apart (flat resistance band)

Muscles worked: Rear shoulders, upper back.

Top tips: Have your arms straight out in front of you with your elbows bent slightly. This is your starting position.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you stretch the band.

(if you can't see the video click here to view in Youtube)


Exercise 2: Shoulder press (flat resistance band)

Muscles worked: Shoulder, triceps, back.

(if you can't see the video click here to view in Youtube)


Exercise 3: Chest press (flat resistant band)

Muscles worked: Chest, triceps, shoulders.

(If you cant see the video click here to view in Youtube)


Exercise 4: Row (flat resistance band)

Muscles worked: Biceps, back.

(If you cant see the video click here to view on Youtube)


Exercise 5: Lateral raise (flat resistance band)

Muscles worked: Shoulders

(If you can't see the video click here to view on Youtube)


Exercise 6: Seated abductors (loop resistance band)

Muscles worked: 

(If you can't see the video click here to view on youtube)


Exercise 7: Knee raises (loop resistance band)

Muscles worked: Hip flexor, quads

(If you can't see the video click here to view on Youtube)


Exercise 8: Leg extensions (loop resistance band)

Muscles worked: Quads

(If you can't see the video click here to view on Youtube)


Exercise 9: Hip thrusters (loop resistance band)

Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings

(If you cant see the video click here to view on Youtube)


Exercise 10: Banded kick backs (loop resistance band)

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes

Top tips: Don't arch your lower back when kicking back. Place your hands on the back of a chair to help with balance.

(If you can't see the video click here to view on Youtube) 


Where can I find workout routine for seniors using resistance bands

Great question.

Now you've got 10 great seated exercises you can do with resistance bands you want to be able to use them as part of a good workout.

When it comes to the workout part there are certain things that you can to make it much more optimal and beneficial.

All too often I see older adults and elderly people dipping in and out of doing exercises. There's no real structure or consistency to what they're doing

A well programmed workout done consistently is key to effectively developing strength and fitness.

The 3 key parts to any effective workout aimed to develop strength are volume, frequency and intensity. It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 80. These 3 principles need to be addressed and adhered to.

Now don't be put off, they're actually really easy to understand and implement. It doesn't matter one bit that you're a senior.

Frequency is simply how many times per week you exercise. Doing 1 exercise session per week isn't very much and won't yield great results. Doing 7 or more exercise sessions per week is probably too many. The sweet spot is between 2-5 sessions per week.

As a senior or older adult with very limited mobility and strength then starting out doing 2 sessions per week is sensible. If you're already quite fit and and active you could probably do 3-4 sessions per week no problem.

Volume refers to how many sets you are doing per exercise across the week. For example, if you're doing banded pull aparts as part of your exercise sessions you might do 3 sets of 20 reps per session. Across 3 sessions in the week that would total 9 sets of that particular exercise.

Intensity refers to how much effort you put into each set that you do. For example if you do 1 set of 20 reps (of banded pull aparts) and it felt really easy that would be a low intensity.

If you did 20 reps and it felt really really difficult that would be a high intensity.

Achieving a good amount of intensity during each set is very important because ultimately the intensity is the signal you're giving your body to adapt and become stronger.

NOW - That may all seem a little bit overwhelming are reading it for the first time.

That's why I created the Wise Fitness Academy.

I programme monthly workouts for all our members telling them exactly what exercises to do, how many sets and reps and the intensity level they should be hitting.

Every member has a video/phone call with me at the end of each month to discuss progress.

If you're interesting in finding out more about becoming a member simply pop you're email in the box below and I'll get in touch.


What resistance bands are best for elderly and older adults?

As I briefly mentioned earlier in the article there are no best resistance bands specifically for the elderly or older adults. Some resistance band companies may brand their product for the elderly market but it is just branding and marketing.

Essentially, resistance bands are just strips of latex. It's their stretchiness that makes them a great tool for working our muscles.

The 3 main types of resistance bands are the loop  band, the flat band and the tubed band. They all work the same way in terms of providing stretch resistance but they differ in length, shape and whether they attach at each end.

Resistance bands are also often referred to as elastic exercises bands, therabands, terra bands stretching bands or rubber bands. Again, they're all pretty much the same product.

Resistance bands also some with varying degrees of stretchiness making them easier or harder to use. For those with limited strength you can start with the easy resistance band and move onto the harder ones over time.

These differences simply makes them more versatile.

Check out THIS article for everything you need to know about resistance bands and which products I recommend.


Can I still exercise my legs whilst sitting down using resistance bands?

As I showed in the above videos the loop resistance band is pretty good for leg exercises even when sitting down.

However, I would encourage everyone to try and incorporate some standing exercises into their workout routine.

Standing resistance band exercises don't have to be super hard. Some of the simpler ones are very doable even for those with very little strength and mobility.

For example, leg abductions are a great exercise for the glutes and can be done whilst holding into the back of your chair.

Exercise bands for training legs is vastly improved if you're willing to try and incorporate some standing exercises into your routine.


How effective is resistance band training for growing muscle mass and strength in the elderly and older adults?

Very effective! (When done properly of course). Resistance bands work should be a staple of your home training.

It's no secret that the key to muscle growth and strength is exercising the muscles using resistance. This is often called strength training. Don't be put off my this term. Even gently challenging your muscles is still strength training.

And this is the same at any age.

Sure, it's much more common to see younger people in the gym but it shouldn't be this way.

It FAR more important for older people to be doing strength based exercise.

This study took 38 participants (frail elderly women) and assigned half of them to 8 weeks of guided resistance training followed by 10 weeks of self directed training. After 18 weeks the group that participated in the resistance band training saw significant increases in strength.


Resistance band exercises for over 50

All the exercise suggestions shown above are fine for anyone over the age of 50.

Exercises don't change with age.

You might be older, but you're body still works in the same way as a younger person and the same rules and principles of muscle building still apply.

The difference is, as an older adult or senior, you might need to use lighter resistance, perform fews reps and sets and take more time to rest between sets or exercise sessions. You may also have to pick and choose exercises that don't aggravate things like arthritis.

Even young gym goers have tweaks and niggles that prevent them from doing certain exercises.

The core movement patterns of pushing, pulling, pressing, sitting, standing and twisting all applies to ALL age groups.

There no special exercises for the elderly.


If resistance bands are so great then why don't any of my friends use them?

Because society has let you down!

Sometime in the future governments will come to realise the importance of resistance training for older adults (and the rest of the population come to that) and spend the required money to advertise and educate people accordingly.

Countries will end up saving billions upon billions from the reduced need of health care for the elderly population who lose their independence.

Until then, consider yourself lucky that you've found me and I can educate you on the importance of resistance training and show you how exactly to do it.



Seated resistance band exercises elderly and seniors FAQ

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