Seated Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

Use resistance bands to build lower and upper body strength.
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If you’re uncomfortable with weights, resistance bands are a low-cost and convenient alternative. Made of rubber, the bands come in various strengths and shapes, from flat strips to tubing with handles. Use medium to light resistance for chair exercises. Resistance training for elderly adults can prevent, if not reverse, the decline in muscle strength as well as improve balance, posture and functional movement.

Upper Body

To strengthen the chest and back, try seated exercises such as the chest press, the upper back row and the horizontal pull. For example, the horizontal pull targets the muscles in your shoulders and upper and middle back. Sit with your back erect and your feet hip width apart and flat on the floor. Keep your abdomen tight, chin tucked in and gaze forward. Use a shoulder width grip, looping any excess band around your hands. Hold your arms in front of you with elbows slightly flexed. Exhale and draw your arms out horizontally to your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause for a second when you can't pull the band any further and then slowly return to the starting position. Perform five to 10 reps.


When you do resistance band exercises to condition your arms and upper body, keep your elbows in front of or next to you. Don’t let your elbows move behind your back. When you hold the band, keep your wrists locked and straight, avoiding any forward or backward bend. Effective exercises for your arms include the biceps curl and the triceps press. For example, to do the curl, step your right foot on one end of the band and grip the other end of the band with your right hand. Turn your right palm up. Flex your elbow and draw your right hand to your shoulder. Slowly return to the starting position. Perform four to 10 reps. Switch sides and repeat.


For your legs, you can perform knee extensions and a brake push exercise to condition your thighs. For example, in the brake push exercise, you simulate the movement of pressing your foot on a car brake pedal. Position your left foot in the middle of the band, gripping the ends of the band with your hands. Draw your left knee up toward your trunk as you pull your elbows up to your sides. Keeping your elbows tucked in, press down on the band with your left foot. Slowly extend your left leg, straightening your left knee. Bend your knee to return to the starting position. Perform anywhere from four to 10 reps. Repeat the exercise with your right leg.

Feet and Toes

Over the years, your feet and ankle joints take a pounding because they bear the weight of your body. By doing an exercise in which you point your toes and flex your feet, you can strengthen the muscles in your feet as well as the connective tissue around your ankles. Sit erect toward the front of a chair. Loop a resistance band around your right foot and extend your right leg. Keep your left knee flexed and left foot flat on the floor. While holding the band taut, point and flex your right foot. Perform five to 10 reps. Repeat the exercise with your left foot.

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