The 7 Best Dumbbell Exercises to Boost Senior’s Power

Did you know that it is possible to build and activate muscles and also stimulate their growth even in your 90s!? It’s okay if you are shocked now; many people falsely believe that after 50, you become inflexible forever! They think they can’t regain the lost muscles and get their body in shape as they age. However, these are all total myths! Unfortunately, few people are aware of the magical and life-changing power of dumbbell exercises for seniors.

Perhaps you have used dumbbells for strength exercises while working out in a gym, or you may already own a set somewhere around your home. If you think you need expensive and big gym equipment to have a strong body, you should think again! These relatively small and inexpensive bars have proved suitable for various exercises seniors can perform in their homes, helping them save money from gym fees and achieve fitness goals, such as losing weight or re-building muscle. Therefore, stop wasting your time and money following those nonsense myths. We have provided you with all the necessary information about the correct way of using dumbbells, suitable dumbbell weights for seniors, and the best dumbbell exercises for seniors that help them gain muscle and get in shape in the right way. Keep reading to know all about dumbbell exercises.

 

How Can Seniors Use Dumbbells?

Dumbbell exercises are a great way to keep you in shape, regardless of age. But the question is, How can seniors build muscle? 

First, It’s always good to have a medical checkup or ask your doctor for permission before beginning any exercise program. This permission is particularly valid if you haven’t exercised in a long time. It’s crucial to allow the body enough time to relax and heal between strength training sessions and choosing the proper weights and exercises. Following a few tips will help you develop a harmless weight-lifting workout. 

Remember, you don’t need to go to the gym with dumbbells, and you can set a proper exercise plan at home.

dumbbell exercises for elderly

Correct Dumbbell Weights for Seniors

Having three separate dumbbell weights at your disposal will help you get a full-body workout. It allows you to easily adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise, depending on what muscles you are training. Choose a heavy enough dumbbell to comfortably perform eight to 12 repeats for each movement. Your muscles should feel exhausted as you get closer to the end of a set, and you may even struggle a little, but the dumbbells should not be too heavy. Even dumbbell exercises for 70-year-olds are possible if you select the correct weights.

If you are a woman, you can start with an 8 pounds (3.6 kg) dumbbell. As you gain more experience with training, you can start using a set of 10 pounds (4.5 kg). For senior men, a set of 10 pounds (4.5 kg) dumbbells should do the work. Only correct dumbbell weights can turn a dumbbell workout for a 60-year-old man enjoyable.
In addition, it is always a good idea to get a set of lighter dumbbells for warming up. For female seniors, a set of 5 pounds (2.2 kg) usually does the trick. For males, a 15 pounds (6.8 kg) dumbbell and another 8 pounds (3.6 kg) are more suitable.

A standard strength training routine consists of three sets of 12 repetitions separated by one to two minutes of rest. You can choose from an almost limitless number of dumbbell exercises.
Before introducing the best dumbbell exercises for the elderly, we invite you to watch this introduction to weights for seniors.

 

 

Best Dumbbell Exercises for Seniors

Here are a few exercises that, when combined, form a solid base. You can also look at exercises to increase the physical strength of seniors.

Upper Body Dumbbell Exercises for Seniors

We have many movements that suit seniors. Seniors over 60 can do these great dumbbell exercises without any danger.

  • Overhead press
  • Bent-over rows
  • Front raise
  • Arm curl
  • Triceps extensions
  • Lower body dumbbell exercises 
  • Shoulder squat
  • Forward lunge

It would help if you performed all these exercises at least twice regularly to ensure that your dumbbell program is well-rounded and targets every muscle group. If three sets of 12 reps are too many for you to begin with, try two sets of 12.

Chest Exercise for Seniors

The dumbbell overhead press strengthens the shoulders while still engaging the heart for stability. You can do this with dumbbells placed horizontally at the shoulders or rotated in a hammer grip sitting or standing. Sitting helps support the back while standing engages a wider variety of muscles.

Benefits of Chest Exercise with Dumbbell for Seniors

This exercise engages the entire deltoid muscle in the shoulder. Although you can do an overhead press with a gadget or a barbell, dumbbells have a few advantages. When using a dumbbell, the anterior (front) deltoid is activated as opposed to a barbell. You may also determine if you have a shoulder strength mismatch. While standing, your core muscles must work harder to keep you stable during the press. 

How to Start

  1. Stand straight and keep your back straight.
  2. With an overhand grip, hold a dumbbell in each hand at the shoulders. The thumbs should be on the inside of the hands, and the knuckles should be facing up.
  3. Control your breathing while lifting the weights to your head. Hold this position for a moment.
  4. While inhaling, move down the dumbbells.
  5. Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions. 

Note: Instead of pressing up with both arms simultaneously, alternate arms, pressing up with one and then the other.

Safety Tips

In case of a shoulder, spine, or back injury, consult your doctor or physical therapist to see if this exercise is safe for you. When performing these exercises, you risk injuring your shoulders, particularly if you use inadequate weights or have poor technique.

Dumbbell Chest Exercises Without a Bench

We don’t need to pay too much money to equip our home for doing exercises. In fact, for dumbbell exercises, you need to have two weights and enough motivation to start activities. Standing Chest Press, Standing Chest Fly, Dumbbell Push-Ups, Dumbbell Floor Press, and Single-Arm Floor Chest Press Upward are good examples of exercises without a bench.

Bent-over Rows

This is generally regarded as one of the most effective back and shoulder muscle-building exercises. It is effective in both areas and has increased overall strength and muscle mass.
Before beginning the bent-over dumbbell row exercise, a person must have enough ability to do this exercise. Throughout the exercise, the lifter’s back should remain straight. The amount of weight you use for the bent-over dumbbell row should be moderate before you’re sure your back can support heavier weights. You can incorporate it into an upper-body strength program.

Benefits of Dumbbell Bent-over Row for Seniors

Choose two dumbbells with an appropriate weight. Start with a lightweight and complete one to three exercises with 10 to 12 repetitions. For this exercise, we recommend 5-pound dumbbells for women and 10-pound dumbbells for men.

How to Start

  1. Stand straight and open your feet equal to shoulder width. Maintain a straight back and flat feet on the concrete. Your weight-bearing arms should hang down.
  2. Hold the dumbbells horizontally between the legs, palms facing backward. Make sure you have a good handle on the item.
  3. Abdominal muscles should be geared up.
  4. With arms out in front and palms facing down, lift the weights upward while inhaling. Maintain a gentle bend in the elbows to relieve joint tension. Pause when the arms are almost parallel to the floor and feel the shoulder muscles contract.
  5. When exhaling, slowly and steadily move the dumbbells to your starting spot at the thighs.
  6. Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.

Safety Tips

If you have back or shoulder issues, stay away from this exercise. With inadequate weights, shoulder dislocation may be a concern. Stop exercising if you experience pain or inflammation.

Dumbbell Front Raise

The front raise with a dumbbell is a basic weight training movement ideal for beginners. Start with a dumbbell in each hand at the high level in this variation of the dumbbell front lift. To complete one exercise repetition, lift the dumbbells parallel to the floor and lower them to the starting point. This movement can be used as part of an upper-body routine to strengthen your shoulders.

Benefits of Dumbbell Front Raise for Seniors

Choose two dumbbells with an appropriate weight. Start with a lightweight and complete one to three exercises with 10 to 12 repetitions. For this exercise, 5-pound dumbbells for women and 10-pound dumbbells are recommended.

How to Start

  1. Stand straight and open your feet equal to shoulders width. Maintain a straight back and flat feet on the concrete. Your weight-bearing arms should hang down.
  2. Hold the dumbbells horizontally between the legs, palms facing backward. Make sure you have a good handle on the item.
  3. Abdominal muscles should be geared up.
  4. With arms out in front and palms facing down, lift the weights upward while inhaling. Maintain a gentle bend in the elbows to relieve joint tension. Pause when the arms are almost parallel to the floor and feel the shoulder muscles contract.
  5. When exhaling, slowly and steadily move the dumbbells to your starting spot at the thighs.
  6. Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.

Safety Tips

If you have a shoulder injury or discomfort, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about whether you should do this exercise or not. In case of a propensity to tendonitis or bursitis, the rotation in this exercise can cause shoulder impingement, and you may experience pain. Most importantly, stop and put the weights down if you experience some discomfort when lifting.

Bicep Curls for Seniors

The biceps curl is a well-known weight-training movement that targets the upper and lower arm muscles to a lesser degree. It’s a fantastic workout for gaining strength and definition. You can do this exercise with dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells resistance bands, among other things. Begin by doing a standing alternating dumbbell biceps curl, which you can do anywhere. Curls are a popular strength-training exercise for the upper body.

Benefits of Bicep Curls with Dumbbell for Seniors

Curls work the biceps muscles in the front of the upper arm and the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in the lower arm. These muscles are used every time you pick something up, which happens in everyday life. The standing arm curl strengthens the upper arm and teaches you how to use your arm muscles properly while bracing your core muscles.

How to Start

Choose dumbbells you can raise ten times with proper shape. Starting weights for dumbbells are 5 to 10 pounds per dumbbell. Start with 2 pounds if you’re just getting started, recovering from an injury, or returning to exercise after long inactivity.

  1. Stand straight and open your feet equal to your shoulders. Then grape your abdominal muscle.
  2. On each side, hold a dumbbell. Allow your arms to fall naturally to the sides of your body, palms facing forward.
  3. Bend at the elbow and raise the weights so that the dumbbells approach your shoulders, keeping your upper arms stable and shoulders relaxed. Have your elbows tucked in tight to your ribs? When lifting, breathe.
  4. Move back the weights to the previous position.
  5. Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.

Safety Tips

The majority of people are advised to do this exercise. However, stop if you have an arm injury or are experiencing discomfort when making the motion. After a few lifts, you can feel weakness and even burn in your biceps and forearm muscles, which is just what you want to happen to improve and grow your muscles. Don’t push yourself to do more repetitions if you can’t do the curls in good form.

Dumbbell Triceps Exercises for the Elderly

The lying triceps extension is an overhead extension done with a dumbbell, two dumbbells, or a barbell while lying on a flat bench; this triceps isolation exercise strengthens the upper arm’s triceps group. The skull crusher gets its name because the bad form will jeopardize your skull. It can be used as part of a muscle-building or upper-body strengthening routine.

Benefits of Triceps Exercises for the Elderly

The skull crusher is a push-up that isolates the triceps brachii muscle. This muscle is worked from the elbow to the back’s latissimus dorsi. You can do variations that concentrate on the different heads of the muscle. This exercise is often used to correct triceps imbalances, as well as for injury recovery and bodybuilding. Other triceps extensions, such as the overhead extension, may be used as a substitute. The lying triceps extension cannot put a strain on the wrists.

How to Start

Lay face up on a flat gym bench with your legs comfortably on either side of the floor or the footrest. Lie down in a spot that is both comfortable and stable. Choose a single dumbbell of a suitable weight that will allow you to complete 10 to 12 sets of extensions.

  1. Keep the dumbbell with two hands up your chest while the dumbbell shaft is fixed vertically. This movement is the first step to starting this movement, don’t forget to inhale deeply.
  2. Exhale while flexing your elbows to move the weight down toward the back of your head. The knees carry the motion, while the upper arms are perpendicular to the body. Keep the upper arms from going back and forth with the weight because this distributes more pressure to the shoulders than the triceps.
  3. Lower the weight behind your head until the dumbbell is roughly in line with the benchtop or slightly higher if this seems unwieldy.
  4. Return to the starting point by reversing the movement until the weight is above the chest. Don’t lock your elbows in the starting position; instead, stop short of closing them.
  5. Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.

Safety Tips

This exercise has a reputation for causing elbow pain. It’s better to avoid it if you have had an elbow injury. If you experience elbow pain at any point during this exercise, stop. You may want to look for a triceps exercise that is less taxing on the elbows and wrists.

Dumbbell Leg Exercises for the Elderly

The lunge is essentially a significant forward move. While the lunge exercise can be performed without weights, adding weights such as dumbbells to the lunge provides extra work for the upper leg and buttock muscles. Lunges with weights necessitate good balance, so if you’re having trouble holding your balance, start the exercise without the weights before you’ve mastered the proper form.

Benefits of Dumbbell Leg Exercises for the Elderly

The lunge’s primary target is the quadriceps muscle in the front of the leg. Your quadriceps are responsible for straightening your knee from a bent position and keeping your kneecap correctly. One of the four quadriceps muscles, the rectus femoris, also serves as a hip flexor, pulling your body towards your thigh (and vice versa). Cycling, stair climbing, and other activities use the quads. Quads that are in good shape help you maintain your balance and mobility. The lunge is a weight-bearing exercise that will help keep your bones healthy.

How to Start

You’ll need a place where you can take a single large move. Try to select dumbbells with a weight that will allow you to complete your chosen exercise. It will take some trial and error to find the right weight. Begin with a light load. Start with no weights if you’re having trouble balancing.

  1. Stay in a straight position with a dumbbell in each hand. Then keep your arms beside your thighs. It would help if you opened your feet a little less than the shoulder width.
  2. Take a large step forward on either leg, bending at the knee until your front thigh is parallel to the ground or landing on your heel. As you descend, take a deep breath. The back leg is bent at the knee and supported by the toes. Allow the knee of the forward leg to not extend past the tip of the toes.
  3. Exhale as you return to your standing starting spot.
  4. Do this exercise in three sets with eight or twelve repetitions.

Safety Tips

You should stop doing this exercise if you have pelvic weakness or an ankle fracture. If you have knee or hip issues, shallow lunges are preferable to deep lunges, and you should use lighter weights. Preventing injury requires keeping the knee from reaching past the toe. Stop doing the exercise if you experience joint pain in your knee, hip, or ankle.

Back Exercises for the Elderly

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your body is to develop a solid, powerful back. The muscle, along with your lats and between your shoulder blades, performs several functions, including protecting your shoulders from damage, enhancing your posture and relieving neck pain, and completing a dynamic V-tapered physique. Dumbbell Row, Incline Row, Elevated Plank Row Hold, and Half-Iso Incline Row Count-Up Series are the best samples of back exercises with dumbbells.

 

Exercises with One Dumbbell

You can do some exercises with one dumbbell only. The trick of doing these exercises is to go slowly and deliberately. Select an appropriate dumbbell that will allow you to complete all reps correctly. The exercises should make you feel like they’re performing, but they shouldn’t be difficult. If you ever feel your form faltering during an exercise, try using lighter weights or pause. Leg Curl, Torso Rotation, Internal and External Shoulder Rotation, Wrist Flexion and Extension are good kinds of single dumbbell exercises for the elderly. You can also find other high-quality and suitable sports and exercises for seniors.

Senior exercising with a dumbbell

Tips on Doing Dumbbell Exercises for Seniors

Consider the following tips to have the best workout experience. 

Don’t Forget to Take a Rest

Between strength training sessions, take at least one full day off. Aim for three to four sessions a week once you’ve started building strength and stamina. To help develop muscle and cardiovascular fitness, alternate a dumbbell program with a walking program. Any good workout for a 60-year-old man or woman includes breaks to rest the muscles. 

Protecting from Injuries

When you first start, you’ll probably feel a little pain in your muscles and joints. This pain is perfectly natural. The majority of the pain should go away in a day or two, and each subsequent session should get easier. Due to sweating during sports activities, you must drink water between each set. It’s also essential to wear the best exercise shoes for seniors if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, flat feet, or pronating excessively.

Final Words

Exercise is essential for everyone, especially seniors. We need to pay more attention to our physical condition as we age. If we hope to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, blood pressure and cancer, it’s best to put exercise in our daily routine. Furthermore, dumbbell exercises are best to wake up your body and brain. However, selecting the correct weights and getting help from a professional trainee is crucial.

 

FAQ

What is a good workout for a 60 year old man?

A good workout for a senior man should include exercises that target a wide variety of muscles. Choose exercises for your chest, back, and leg. A good workout for a 60-year-old man does not focus on one body part, disregarding other parts.


How heavy should dumbbells be for seniors?

Using 5 to 8 pounds dumbbells is a good idea for senior women. Senior men can go for 10 to 15 pounds of dumbbells based on their fitness level.
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Elena Baker
Elena Baker
1 year ago

I’ve always had weak arms, even when I was younger. I used to be a cyclist; back then, only my arms felt tired after riding for too long. Now that I’m in my 50s, my hands hurt too. That’s all the reason for me not to use dumbells or any other weights. But I do strength training regularly, the result is good, but my arms and hands are not getting any better.

Daisy
Daisy
Reply to  Elena Baker
1 year ago

Do you wear arthritis gloves? They’re accommodating, and I think everyone can wear them. But I guess you should ask your doctor or physiotherapist to give you the proper model. Honestly, I think I wouldn’t be able to move my hand by now if it weren’t for these gloves! The excellent thing is you don’t have to wear them all the time.

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

I’ve never been able to hold dumbbells and exercise with them for more than five minutes. It’s always been hard for me. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be this hard or my arms are just weaker than everyone else. I just know that I envy the people who are able to exercise with these regularly.

Everly Martin
Everly Martin
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

If you like working out with dumbbell weights, you should ask a professional trainer to help you. They can spot the problem, help you fix it. They also can give you the right amount of weight. After some time you can go with heavier weights.

Danial
Danial
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Maybe you choose inappropriate dumbbell weight, or your arms are weaker than others (based on body mass). But you can strengthen them as much as possible by regular exercise in the long run!

Martin
Martin
1 year ago

I love dumbbell exercise. Our muscles need to be built up to be able to lift dumbbells well. I always go to the park with one of my friends and do dumbbell exercises with them. It’s pretty good, and I like it too much. I suggest to seniors, don’t afraid of dumbbell exercise, with choosing the correct weights you can build your muscles very well.

Derek
Derek
Reply to  Martin
1 year ago

As someone who was not really comfortable with dumbells but now uses them as an inseparable part of his workout routine, I totally agree. They make every training session so much more efficient.

nina
nina
1 year ago

It was a helpful article and provides me essential information about dumbbell exercising. I think I’m going to include dumbbell exercises into my workout routine. 

McLain
McLain
11 months ago

Are U.S. residents eligible to register for this site? I am interested in getting on your mailing list. Thank You!