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The Best Arm-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

Maintaining muscle and strength is key in warding off the effects of aging.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

If you're a senior, then you likely know that building and maintaining muscle and strength is key in warding off the effects of aging. Sculpting and preserving muscle will boost your overall quality of life. As a trainer, I suggest performing strength training a minimum of two to three times a week as part of your fitness routine. A key part of that includes focusing on the absolute best arm-strengthening exercises for seniors.

In addition to your legs and core, a crucial area of your body to strengthen is your arms. You use your arms for everything in your day-to-day life, and grip strength is also highly correlated with mortality. According to a review published in the Clinical Interventions in Aging, there's sufficient evidence that defines grip strength to be a "predictive biomarker" of fractures, bone mineral density, general function and strength, sleep, cognition, depression, disease status, and as previously mentioned, mortality.

If you want to build up your arm strength, then here are a few exercises you can incorporate into your workouts. Grab a set of dumbbells, and perform three to four sets of the following moves. And next, don't miss The Best Leg-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors.

Dumbbell Hammer Curls (x12 reps)

dumbbell hammer curl illustration

To set up for dumbbell hammer curls, hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip. Both hands should be facing each other. Pull your shoulders back as you curl the weights upward, flexing your biceps and forearms. At the top of the curl, squeeze hard, then create resistance on the way back down.

Zottman Curls (x12 reps)

Zottman curls will help build up your biceps and forearms. To perform the exercise, curl the weights upward. At the top of the motion, turn your palms to face down before lowering the dumbbells, maintaining some tension in your forearms. Then, flip your palms to face up as you curl the weights toward your body.

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Farmer's Walks

illustration of farmer's walk exercise

Begin your farmer's walks with a heavy dumbbell in each hand by your sides. With a tall chest, tight core, neutral spine, and braced abs, start walking for 25 to 50 feet. Once you complete the distance, turn around, and walk back to the start.

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Dumbbell Triceps Extensions (x12 reps)

Dumbbell triceps extensions will have you lying flat on your back on a workout bench or on the floor. Press the weights up so that your palms face each other. With straight shoulders, bend your elbows back so the weights lower down toward your body. As soon as your forearms touch your biceps, reverse the motion, flexing your triceps to finish.

Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions (x10 to 12 reps)

overhead dumbbell triceps extension exercise, arm-strengthening exercises for seniors

Last but not least, wrap up with overhead dumbbell triceps extensions. For this move, you'll work with a single dumbbell. Press it up overhead. With a tall chest and tight core, bend at the elbows before lowering the weight down behind your head until your biceps touch your forearms.

Get a solid tricep stretch at the bottom, then extend your elbows back up, flexing them hard at the top before performing another rep.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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