Resistance Band Training for Seniors

Posted · 9 Comments
Senior Fitness

RBT for Seniors

Muscles are dumb. They do not recognize a dumbbell from a resistance band or from simply lifting your own body weight. However, what does happen is the body responds and adapts differently to different training tools.

These different adaptations are why training on a daily basis with a flat, continuously-looped resistance band becomes important. Resistance band training for seniors will develop certain components of functional strength, like balance, mobility, usable strength, better than using free weights like a dumbbell, barbells, kettlebell, medicine ball, barbell, or a sandbag.  Plus a band’s  unmatched light weight, portability and low cost make it very convenient for seniors to exercise right at home.

Why Should Seniors Consider Resistance Band Training?

  1. The lightweight construction of a band allows exercising to take place anywhere, anytime. Therefore, strength training does not require driving to a local fitness center or having to go to a special class. Instead, bands allow seniors to train anywhere they choose, including the privacy of their own home.
  1. Resistance bands provide a large resistance variability.  As a result, one single resistance band can provide approximately 40 pounds of variance which, in turn, allows individuals with varying strength levels to train with the same bands.  The Band Chart breaks down the resistance level of each Quantum Band
  1. Resistance band training allows seniors to perform exercises in multiple angles and planes. This not only develops better functional core strength, but also allows them to train in multiple standing postures to help train balance and coordination.  Both are key components of function that we start to lose as we age.
  1. Flat continuously-looped bands, which are what I recommend when it comes to resistance band strength training for seniors, allows anyone to train any aspect of general fitness including strength, flexibility, and cardio endurance. As a result, there is no need to purchase additional training tools on what can, at times, be a tight fixed budget.

Print Flexibility Poster

  1. Elastic resistance becomes more challenging the further the band is stretched. This is referred to as an “ascending resistance” versus the resistance created by free weights which is referred to as a “constant resistance”.  This unique ascending resistance provides seniors with several important training benefits that may not be as important for a younger age fitness enthusiast when it comes to keep joints feeling good.

6 Key Resistance Band Exercises for Seniors

  1. Front Squat
  2. Incline Chest Press
  3. Seated Row
  4. Push Press
  5. Split Squat
  6. Pull a Part

Changing Band Resistance Quickly

There are two ways to decrease band resistance when using bands. One is to decrease starting tension by positioning yourself closer to the band attachment site.

The other way is to decrease band resistance is by using a smaller band. Both of these options can be quickly manipulated during the rest/transition time, while performing a band strength circuit.

The fact is bands allow seniors to make quick changes in resistance based on their energy levels.

How to Set Up Your Workout

For the most effective resistance band training, I recommend using time-based, versus rep-based sets. This allows individuals to focus on the exercise  and effort, versus having to count reps.

I recommend a 30-second work time, followed by a 30-second rest/transition time when first starting out. Following this exercise interval sequence, perform one exercise for 30 seconds, before resting and preparing for the next exercise.

I suggest starting with the above mentioned exercises and performing all six before taking a one-minute rest and repeating the sequence. Attempt to perform two or three total rounds of these 6 exercises.

As strength and familiarity with the exercises improve, individuals can advance this workout by increasing workout time to 40 seconds and decreasing rest/transition time to 20 seconds for each exercise.

However, I recommend starting with a smaller yellow super-micro or red  small band to ensure you are performing the exercise safely and with optimal movement quality.

Tips for Seniors on Choosing Their Resistance Band

Having worked in both a physical therapy environment as well as a fitness environment, I have determined which bands work best for the senior population.

The key is to make sure that you can initiate an exercise with a slight tension already placed on the band. You should also be able to complete a full range of motion knowing the resistance will become more demanding at the end of exercises versus the beginning.


Best Band Package For Seniors

Starter Fitness Package

Starter Fitness Package - Seniors


Meet Dave

Dave Schmitz, PT, CSCS, PES has been writing, teaching and training how to implement resistance band training for rehabilitation, general conditioning, and performance since 1996. He is the founder & co-owner of Resistance Band Training— the leading band provider worldwide.

Along with being a co-author of the Amazon best seller, Total Body Breakthroughs, Dave is also the author and producer of numerous fitness & nutrition articles, E-books, DVDs. His passion is focused on trainers, clients, and athletes improve their body’s ability to handle momentum, gravity and ground reaction forces using elastic resistance. Dave also consults online with several high schools, universities, private performance training business and is also on the board of experts for the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA).

9 Responses to "Resistance Band Training for Seniors"
  1. David Smith says:

    Thanks Dave. I am 80. Lifting iron since I was 16. Following your routines and I have regained a great deal of flexibility.

  2. Dave Schmitz says:


    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  3. feenyman99 says:


    I am 66 and in very good shape (my 26 year old son makes me play 2 hours of tennis with him every evening :-).

    I also do 4 simple resistance band exercises regularly…
    – Chest Press
    – Seated Row
    – Curl
    – Overhead Press

    It takes me 20 minutes.

    Do you see any problem with me doing those several days in succession, rather than every other day?


  4. Dave Schmitz says:


    Thank you for the comment. I don’t think doing those exercises regularly is an issue but I would suggest considering adding in
    others like front squats, pull a parts, split squat, a pillar and triceps press to complete a program that hits your entire body. Plus as a tennis player I think you and your son would benefit from 13″ dynamic stabilizer training. It would help your foot speed on the court.

    Something to think about.


  5. John says:

    Hi Dave,
    I can’t open the link to the program for some reason. Could you please repost it?
    With thanks,

  6. Dave Schmitz says:


    That was a program I was promoting for someone else. Unfortunately I don’t have control of that link.



  7. Omer says:

    Hello Dave, If I added curls and triceps to this routine for 3 rounds 3 times a week be sufficient for streghth training? …I power walk on alternate days 5 miles twicw a week and an 8-10 miler once a week.

  8. Camdyn says:

    Because there s tension throughout the exercises, you have to stabilise your body. This helps with coordination, balance and it can also help you to involve more muscle groups.

  9. RBT-Site-Admin says:

    It depends on your fitness level. That’d be a good start but make sure to switch up your routine ever now and then to work different muscle groups.

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