Best Weight Training Exercises for Over 60 by Richard Uzelac

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Many studies show that “simple resistance exercise training”—or weightlifting—is best for people over 60. It’s more effective at strengthening bones and muscles, thickening skin, and boosting cognitive function than other types of workouts, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). What’s more, one session can be as brief as just 10 minutes!
“The aging process isn’t inevitable. You can fight it with regular exercise,” says Richard Uzelac.
The benefits don’t stop there, though. Contrary to popular belief that weight training will make you get bulky, it helps men gain or maintain muscle tone while simultaneously shedding fat. Training also makes climbing stairs or picking something off the ground easier since it strengthens those muscles too. So how do you get the most benefit? The biggest mistake you can make is doing too much weightlifting in one session. Even if you’re told to lift heavy, don’t exceed your “one-repetition maximum” (1RM) in a set of eight to 12 reps. That’s when you should stop—especially if you have joint pain or are on medication. In addition to strength training, try other exercises that target different body parts—and do them at least two or three times per week.
Related Article: Richard Uzelac’s Top 10 Fitness Tips for Men Over 60
Richard Uzelac shares his favorite exercises for anyone over 60 to try, including his top weightlifting exercises that won’t put your joints at risk.

Top Weightlifting Workouts

Legs: Walking and stair-climbing

Two of the most effective types of exercises you can do are walking and stair-climbing. Besides getting you in better shape and building on the benefits of strength training, they’re low impact, which means they won’t wear out your joints. They also help prevent falls. Plus, you can do them indoors or outdoors, so there’s no excuse not to stick to your exercise program!

Lower body: Step aerobics and hip-hop dancing

Step aerobics is another form of cardio that is great for men over 60 because it works out your body’s upper and lower halves at once. (Note: When you do step aerobics, you should only go as high as possible without hurting your knees. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and don’t go as high.) Hip-hop dancing is another great option for getting in shape. In addition to being fun to do, it helps men with balance and muscle strengthening. So whether you want to do it solo or take a class, hip-hop is a good way to get your groove on when it comes to weight training exercises for men over 60.

Upper body: Flexibility exercises and T-stretching

While flexibility is important whether you’re young or old, it’s especially critical now that you’re older. It can help prevent injuries and maintain healthy joints, bones, muscles, and tendons. And don’t think that just stretching will make it easier to do the exercises on this list. A lot of stretching can actually make the exercises harder, so be sure to warm up first before starting any of these routines. For men over 60, the most effective way to stretch is to do it in a sitting position—this allows the muscles you’re stretching to lengthen while not putting stress on your joints. You should also remember that when you stretch, you want to start with your joints and work your way out. So if you’re stretching your legs, start with your lower legs and gradually move up to your thighs and hips. Be sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and breathe normally throughout. The other type of flexibility training you should do is T-stretching. That’s when you stretch from the side of the body instead of from the front or back. For that kind of stretching exercise, you should start with the arm closest to your body, then stretch it out until it touches the other arm before coming back to the center. Repeat with the other arm.

Shoulders: Swimming and Water Aerobics

Swimming is another great way to strengthen the shoulders, especially if you’re having issues with either one of them. Start with the right arm and do 15 strokes if you’re right-handed. Next, switch to your left arm and do 15 strokes. The whole routine should only take about 10 minutes. Because swimming requires constant shoulder rotation, it helps build strength and flexibility in the shoulder joints—which can prevent injury as well as help rehabilitate an existing one. Water aerobics—which you could also call aqua-aerobics—are a good option when you’re on vacation. You can do them in the ocean, pool, or hot tub, so there’s no excuse for not trying this fun workout. While some people think of it as just a cardio workout, water aerobics is also a good way to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility.

Back: Pull-ups and Push-ups

Back exercises—especially pull-ups and push-ups—are a great way to build strength in your back, core, and chest. If you’re having difficulty doing these exercises, consider using a weight belt or chin-up bar. You can also do them at home with exercise bands that are typically sold together with gymnastic rings. If you don’t have an exercise band, use extra rope or even a door held up by a chair on each side. To do push-ups, start by putting your arms shoulder width apart and your feet together. Then slowly lower your chest toward the floor until your elbows are at 90 degrees (a little less is okay, but not by much). Then slowly push back up until you’re close to being upright again. With pull-ups, place the rings over a bar or even on the upper bar of a doorway and grab them with an underhand grip—again, shoulder-width apart. You can also face away from the door if you want to make it more challenging. Then lift yourself up as high as you can until your chin is above the rings, and then slowly lower yourself again. For an even more challenging pro tip, lift yourself up and let one hand hang down with your palm facing away from the door. Then slowly lower your body back down again.
Richard Uzelac says, “The best way to get started is to start with push-ups and pull-ups. I like pull-ups because they work the back, the pecs, and the arms. You’re also targeting multiple muscles at one time, so it helps you focus on multi-joint exercises as opposed to isolated exercises.”

Chest: Push-ups and Bench Presses

You can do push-ups on either a chair or a bench. But if you’re not comfortable doing them on a bench, consider purchasing a bench press. You can do each exercise with your regular weights or use weights that are five to ten pounds lighter than what you normally use for strength training. If you’re looking for a way to do chest exercises at home, consider purchasing a dip station or using your own chair—again, be sure to use the correct one. With push-ups, hold each one for a full ten seconds and make sure your elbows are pointing straight out to the sides. When you feel strong enough, you can do them with one hand on an exercise ball and one hand on the floor. With bench presses, focus on getting your shoulder blades back and keeping them there throughout. You should also push up with your legs rather than just your arms, if possible. Then lower yourself back down but don’t bounce when you touch down—keep it slow and controlled.

Legs: Stair-stepping and Jumping Jacks

Stair-stepping is a great way to build up the lower body. You can do it at home by going up and down a flight of stairs to the point where you just can’t go another step. Then walk down a flight of stairs, alternating the two until you feel like you’ve done enough. If you have trouble finding any stairs at all, do this inside by stepping up and down on one end of your bed or couch. Jumping jacks are also a good way to build strength in your legs, especially the glutes. Start by standing with your feet together and hands at your sides. Then jump up and spread your feet way out to the side, reach up with both of your arms until they’re straight up over your head, bend at the waist, and land with your hands on your thighs. Repeat for as many repetitions as you can before calling it quits. Even if you’ve never exercised before in your life, if you’re over 60, you should still do some kind of physical activity every single day. While that activity may not be as challenging as a triathlon, it still has benefits and can help improve your quality of life. And even if you’re over 80, you should still exercise every single day, so go ahead and get started today. It doesn’t matter if you decide to do just one exercise or all five—the important thing is that you don’t wait any longer. So get out there and start doing something every day. However, if you are currently experiencing pain or have recently had surgery, be sure to get the okay of your doctor first. Other outdoor exercises you could do include snowshoeing, downhill skiing (if you’re over 65), canoeing, kayaking, and even rowing. Even going for a hike with family and friends can be a great way to get moving outdoors, which is why cross-country skiing—especially on a groomed trail—is one of my favorite things to do in the winter. Since we all lead such busy lives, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to exercise. But whenever you go out and get moving, you’re making your life—and others—better. So go ahead and do something physical today. You may be surprised by the difference it can make in your life.


Being over 60 doesn’t mean you have to slow down, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be fit—it just means you should take care of yourself with proper nutrition and exercise. In fact, if you’re over 80 years old, you should get moving every day. Because even if your friends are telling you, they feel like they’re dying, getting a good workout is the best way to stay alive and healthy. Despite Richard Uzelac being busy with his digital marketing companies, he still finds time to exercise daily. So, walk with him on this journey of discovery about exercise for men above 60.

Richard Uzelac
Enterpreneur | Founder of Realty Tech Inc
and Go Marketing | California State Powerlifting Champion