The 6 Fundamental Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

Resistance bands are one of the most effective pieces of equipment that are available to seniors. They provide a great starting point for those who are looking to get into resistance training, as they can be done with minimal resistance and used to build great positions. I highly recommend any senior trying to build an at home set up to purchase resistance bands.

7 min read
Sean Klein
Written by
Sean Klein
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In This Resource
  • Why Seniors Can Benefit From Resistance Band Exercises
  • Non-Intimidating Approach
  • Skill Acquisition
  • Easy to Train At Home
  • Start with Minimal Resistance
  • Issues with Just Using Resistance Band Exercises
  • Some Key Movement Patterns Are Missing
  • Makes Effective Progressive Overload Challenging
  • How To Implement A Strength Training Plan With Resistance Bands
  • The 6 Fundamental Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

Why Seniors Can Benefit From Resistance Band Exercises

Non-Intimidating Approach

Lets be honest, weights can be a little intimidating for individuals who are new to resistance training. Although this is based on a misconception, that weights are somehow dangerous, bands can be a great middle ground that can help ease people into resistance training.

Skill Acquisition

Resistance bands, for seniors but also for other populations, are a very effective way to learn some of the fundamental skills in resistance training. Most notably they help build skills in the pull and the hinge movement pattern. These skills will be crucial if a long term practice of resistance training is trying to be developed.

Easy to Train At Home

Many senior individuals will not be wanting to join a gym and therefore training at home will be the best way to add resistance training into their routine. This will mean equipment like bands will be a great addition to the home training set up.

Start with Minimal Resistance

Resistance bands are effective at providing very lower levels of resistance (it all depends on the band tension). This low resistance can help when performing a first band resisted deadlift. It allows seniors to take a small, manageable dose of resistance. It is not to say that weights cannot do this, just that bands are another great option.

Issues with Just Using Resistance Band Exercises

Some Key Movement Patterns Are Missing

As you can see from the list of exercises I have provided, there are some key movement patterns missing that bands are not effective at providing resistance for. For example the squat and the horizontal press. These movement patterns are crucial to load successfully if you are trying to implement a full body resistance training programme. For seniors, squats can be done effectively with some bodyweight variations, but the bodyweight variations for the horizontal press will likely be too challenging for the vast majority of seniors (think press up variations). So although bands are an extremely effective training tool for seniors, they only allow you to add a stimulus to a certain amount of movement patterns and are ineffective for others.

Makes Effective Progressive Overload Challenging

Bands are often part of very minimal training set ups, if you are planning on training with a single resistance band it will make applying more load over time impossible. This therefore prevents one of the key principles of resistance training, progressive overload. Progressive overload is where the exercises are made incrementally more difficult over time.

How To Implement A Strength Training Plan With Resistance Bands

The implementation of these style of resistance band exercises is really important. This requires building a full body resistance training plan that will allow you to build strength throughout the entire body. Doing resistance training twice a week will be the sweet spot to generate enough stimulus for it to be effective for the vast majority of seniors. Our application, Programme, is capable of building these sessions based on your equipment and training experience, getting rid of a barrier to entry (planning sessions) and allowing you to just do the exercise.

The 6 Fundamental Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

The tall kneeling single arm pull is an example of a horizontal pulling variation that seniors can use to great effect. It will be a way to work the muscles of the upper back but also require a lot of core engagement. When pulling, the motion of the elbow is extremely important, it needs to move downward throughout the pulling motion so that the hand finishes next to the belly button.

The banded deadlift is one of my favourite variations for beginners and seniors. It is important to start with a low resistance band that can almost feel like it is easy to move against. This can help with the learning curve of the deadlift and provide the first taste of resistance in the movement pattern.

The banded deadlift is a great way to load the straight leg hinge movement pattern for beginners and seniors a like. Using a band with minimal tension to start is a must. It will allow you to see if you can move through the hinge successfully with some resistance and maintain good positions.

The banded pull down is another effective pulling variation with a resistance band, it allows you to get the first taste of the vertical pull movement pattern. This movement pattern is great for shoulder health and mobility in seniors so it is important to move through and the band provides the perfect first step.

The quadrupled banded extensions allow us to add resistance to the glutes. This style of exercise may look relatively simple but will require a great deal of stability and control to perform with precision. These sorts of exercises are perfect building blocks to more complex exercises in the future and there effectiveness should not be underestimated.

The pallof press is an example of the many extremely effective core exercises that can be performed with resistance bands. Resistance bands are one of the most effective tools when it comes to targeting the muscles of the core, they can be used to target all the different types of core movement patterns (resisting rotation, anterior core, rotation) and the Pallof press is just a single example. That being said, it is my favourite to use with beginners and seniors as it can help build the core in a way that makes deadlifting and squatting with load much easier.

If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you – based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle.

This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

Sean Klein


Programme is a workout app that plans every workout for you

Programme learns from your past workouts, training experience and available equipment to create your optimal workout plan that adapts to your progress.