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The Best Workout for Stronger Muscles After 60

No CrossFit required.
FACT CHECKED BY Jessie Van Amburg

At ETNT Mind+Body, we probably sound like a broken record at this point. But the fact remains that exercising regularly, no matter your age or ability, is an essential part of living a longer, healthier life. This is especially important in your 60s and beyond to combat age-related muscle mass reduction, joint stiffening, balance issues, and more.

That's why as a trainer, I frequently recommend older clients to incorporate regular strength training into their fitness routine. Strength training helps people build muscle, lose fat, and get stronger. For older folks, this ensures that they're able to stay mobile, independent, and healthy for a long time.

If you're in your 60s, you can absolutely lift weights or work on other kinds of strength-training exercises. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults, no matter their age, do muscle-strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week. (This is in addition to the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise they recommend.)

Meeting that target might seem daunting if you're new to strength training. That's why I created a full-body workout that will help you get stronger muscles. It's designed to meet the needs of people in their 60s and up. And all you need are some light weights (about 5 to 10 pounds will suffice).

The focus of this workout is on building strength, not necessarily bulking up. You'll notice that each exercise asks for six to eight reps, using a lighter dumbbell. This is different from other kinds of workouts, which often ask for five reps at a higher weight. But since older folks might struggle with joint issues, doing more reps at a lower weight helps you get strong without putting too much stress on your joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Ready to get started? Be sure to perform all of the sets and reps of one exercise before moving onto the next. You're just a few moves away from stronger muscles. And for more workout ideas, don't miss: Slim Down and Get Toned With This 25-Minute Walking Workout.

Kettlebell deadlift – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

how to do a kettlebell deadlift
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Stand in front of the kettlebell with your feet outside of the weight. Push your hips back and squat down low enough to grab the weight. Make sure your shoulders are in line with the handle and that your torso is straight.

Keeping your core tight and shoulders down, pick up the kettlebell by pushing through your heels and hips. Stand tall and flex your glutes at the top. Reverse the motion to put the weight down before performing another rep. For more workout tips, don't miss: One Trendy Celeb Exercise Trick You Can Try at Home, Says Trainer.

Incline dumbbell bench press – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

incline bench press how to
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Lay flat on an incline bench and grab a pair of dumbbells. Hold them above your chest with your arms fully extended. Pull your shoulder blades back and down into the bench and begin lowering the weight down towards your chest. Get a good chest stretch, and then press it back up, squeezing your pecs and triceps at the top. Read more: These Walking Workouts Will Help You Get Lean, Says Trainer.

One-arm dumbbell row – 3 sets of 8 reps each arm

one arm dumbbell row drop
Tim Liu

Position yourself parallel to a bench so one hand and knee are firmly pressed into the bench. Grip a dumbbell with the opposite arm and begin the motion by pulling the dumbbell towards your hip, squeezing your lats and upper back at the very end of the movement. Straighten your arm afterwards and get a nice stretch at the bottom before performing the next rep. And don't miss: Build Muscle and Get Lean with This 4-Move At-Home Workout.

Dumbbell split squat – 3 sets of 8 reps each leg

Holding a pair of dumbbells, get into a split stance with one foot forward and one foot back. Lower yourself under control until your back knee touches the ground, then push yourself up using the heel of the front foot. Perform all reps on one side before switching over to the other.

Dumbbell hammer curls – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Grab a pair of dumbbells with both hands facing each other in a neutral grip. Keeping your shoulders pulled back, curl the weight up, flexing your forearms and biceps the entire time. Squeeze hard at the top, then resist on the way down. (Want more workout ideas? Check out: The Secret Exercise Trick for Getting Rid of Knee Pain, Says Top Trainer.)

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