Hey there! Brandon Falkenberg from Clench Fitness here, and today I’d like to talk about how to stay strong, active, and moving well when you feel like age is creeping up on you.
At this point I’m fully convinced that age is just a number, and it’s up to you to make it happen!
The phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it” is definitely true, and it can really start to rear its ugly head as people tend to approach their upper 50s, 60s, and beyond.
I frequently hear things like, “I just can’t do the things that I used to” or “I don’t have any energy to do these things anymore” or “Exercise and lifting things really hurts my joints.”
If you’re in this age group, and find yourself saying the above statements, then keep reading as I’ve put together 10 exercises to help you stay strong, move freely, and keep your joints feeling great!
Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh great, more exercise… I already do exercise.” or “Weights and machines just hurt my joints.”
Sure, your days of besting old personal records, and beating 20 year olds might be over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop exercising.
I’m going to say it again, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Regular exercise is the key to longevity.
This doesn’t just apply to exercise related feats like running 10 miles, and lifting 300 lbs, it can even impact your day to day functional fitness level.
Things like carrying the groceries, keeping up with your grandkids, cleaning your house, going up the stairs, will all start to become increasingly more difficult over time if you continue to neglect a regular exercise routine.
Don’t just take it from me though….
On a weekly basis, I receive phone calls from customers and clients that I like to call “Super Seniors” because I’m absolutely amazed at the things they are doing.
Just last week I spoke to a customer named Greg who is in his 70’s and he frequently enjoys backpacking, canoe paddling long distances (90+ miles), and telemark skiing.
I have another customer, Ron, who’s a 75 year old competitive cyclist at the national level.
The list goes on and on…An 85 year old who does 100 push ups a day, a 62 year old retired police officer who competes in crossfit, a 70 year old who frequently does kiteboarding, an 80 year old who just completed a triathlon…
The proof is in the pudding, and when I ask them what their secret is, it’s always something simple like “you just gotta keep moving” or “I’m older than dirt but still working to stay strong.”
Okay, I think you get the point….so how can you stay active and feeling young?
Here are 10 exercises that you can do regularly to help you get strong, stay strong and keep your body moving the way it should!
All of these exercises utilize loop style resistance bands.
The reason for this is because we want to stress your muscles and not your joints.
Traditional free weights and machines use mass and weight to create resistance, which stresses your muscles, but also places a tremendous amount of stress on your joints.
Removing mass from the equation (i.e. swapping the weights for bands) will allow you to overload your muscles, without adding extra stress to your joints.
Resulting in greater gains without the joint pain!
If you don't have any resistance bands, I encourage you to check out the Clench Fitness Store. Clench Fitness sells some of the highest quality and longest lasting resistance bands and accessories on the market.
They also have an extremely innovative set of handles that make resistance band training a lot more comfortable and exercise friendly. (and they're made right here at our facility in the USA!)
10 Exercises to Get Senior Strong:
1 - Resistance Band Chest Press:
This exercise is simple to set up and perfect for strengthening your chest muscles. Start by wrapping a 41-inch resistance band around your back and under your arms.
While holding onto either end of the band, push the band straight out in front of you. Squeeze your chest together and pause before slowly bending arms back to sides.
2 - Standing Row:
This is a great exercise for the large muscles in your back. All you need to do is anchor your band about chest height. Position your Clench Band Handles into either end of the band and start with your arms straight out in front of you.
Pull your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and then slowly release back to the starting position. I always like to tell people to imagine you’re pinching a pencil in the middle of your back when you’re doing this exercise!
3 - Overhead Shoulder Press:
This exercise is perfect for strengthening your shoulders and maintaining mobility in your joints! I’d recommend starting with two light 41-inch resistance bands. Place one band under each foot and a Clench Band Handle on the other end of each band.
Grab ahold of the Clench Band Handle and lift arms up until your arms are positioned at a 90 degree angle with your elbows in line with your shoulders. Push your arms overhead and then slowly lower back down to shoulder height.
4 - Bicep Curl:
Strong and mobile arms are necessary for numerous daily functions. From cooking to gardening, you’re going to find benefits in having strong arms. For bicep curls we’re going to use the same exact resistance band/band handle set up that we used for the Overhead Shoulder Press.
This time though, you’re going to start by positioning your arms down at your sides. Keeping your elbows tucked into your sides, bend at the elbow and lift your forearm up until it is in line with your shoulder. Then slowly lower back down to the starting position.
5 - Side Tricep Extension:
The bicep curl strengthened the front side of your arm, so now we need to strengthen the backside of your arm. For this exercise, you’re going to anchor a 41-inch band about arms reach above your head. You’re going to wrap the end of the band around the T-joint of the Clench Band Handle.
Standing perpendicular to the wall, grab the handle with the hand furthest from the wall. Keeping your elbow tucked into your side, you’re going to straighten your arm out to your side.
6 - Standing Rotation:
This exercise is going to work your core through rotational movement. Start by anchoring your band about chest height. Standing perpendicular to the wall, hold onto the band with both hands and arms straight out in front of you. Engage your abdominal muscles as you swing your arms away from the wall and twist through your core. Then slowly twist back to the starting position.
7 - X-Band Box Squat:
This is a great exercise for building strong legs and glutes which are essential for tasks like picking something off the floor and getting out of a chair. This exercises using two 41-inch resistance bands that are placed in an ‘X’ fashion over your body. Each band should be placed over one shoulder and then hooked around the opposite foot.
We recommend placing a chair behind you for this exercise because it can help guide you on how deep you should squat. Plus, it’s great support if needed.
Once you’re positioned in front of the chair, you want to lower yourself as if you’re going to sit down. It’s important to keep your back flat, pelvis tucked forward, and your abdominal muscles engaged during this movement. Lower down to the box height and then come back up to a standing position.
If you’ve never done squats before, I’d recommend starting without the bands to make sure you feel comfortable with the form.
8 - Seated Hamstring Curl:
The hamstrings are large muscles located in the back of the thigh, which are instrumental in walking, bending your knees, etc. This exercise is going to specifically target the hamstrings while in a seated position.
All you need to do is anchor a 41-inch band about ankle height. Hook the band around your feet and get into a seated position far enough away that you feel slight tension in the band.
Start to pull your ankles toward you while bending at the knee. The key with this exercise is to keep control and not let momentum take over the movement.
9 - Single Leg Abduction:
This exercise is going to work the abductor muscles which include your glutes and outer hips. These muscles are typically weaker than many of the other muscles in your legs, so you’re going to want to start with a light41-inch band.
Secure the band about ankle height. Stand perpendicular to the wall and place the end of the band around your ankle furthest from the wall. With control, lift the leg out to the side as far as you’re able to go while still keeping control of the band.
Make sure to stay in an upright position throughout this exercise and use a chair for support if needed.
10 - Standing Calf Raise:
The calves are often overlooked, but are crucial for keeping our body upright! These standing calf raises are great for strengthening the calf muscles and testing your balance.
You’ll notice in the video we’re demonstrating while standing on the edge of a box. Another great place to do this exercise is on a step. Being on a ledge such as this allows you to get a full range of motion through the movement.
If you don’t feel safe standing on a box or step, you can still do this exercise! Just stand on the floor and lift/lower your heels.
We handpicked these 10 exercises to help get you moving better, feeling better, and to give you more strength and stamina to do the things that you love.
Add them into your routine a few times per week, and be sure to shoot for 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.
Every week be sure to try and beat whatever you did for resistance and reps from the prior week, and you will notice a difference in no time!
P.S. If you're looking for some high quality resistance bands and accessories, be sure to check out the Clench Fitness Store!