Strength Training Exercises For Seniors With Lower Body Disabilities

senior-fitnessWhen it comes to improving one's fitness and health through an exercise regimen, opportunity is always knocking at the door.

Whether you are young, old, disabled, or capable there are always ways to improve your fitness through weight lifting. Many elderly tend to shy away from weight lifting as they deem it to hard or stressful on their bones. This is a crucial mistake.

As a former geriatric healthcare giver I have witnessed men and women show their passion for weight lifting well into their seventies. The key is to find out where you can improve and do it a rate that is both comfortable and beneficial to your body. Here are five of the best weight training exercises that are especially suitable for the elderly disabled.

Shoulder Press

The shoulder press or overhead press is one of the oldest and most simple weight lifting exercises to perform. It can be done with dumbbells or a bar and is great for working out your deltoids (shoulders), triceps, and even your trapezius muscles. This lift can be performed standing or sitting down and is great for those with lower body disabilities who still want to stay in shape with lifting.


A convenient and simple exercise that just about anyone can do, shrugs target your trapezius muscles like only few other exercises can. This particular exercise can also help you improve your grip as the heavier you go with your weights the stronger your grip must become just to hold the weights. This is another great exercise that can be performed without much difficulty by the elderly and those who are disabled in the lower body.

It is recommended that those who have arthritis problems in their hands use dumbbells when doing this exercise because those can be done while sitting down, they help improve your grip just as much as using a barbell, and if you lose your grip you can more easily drop them to the floor where they won't hurt you or anyone else.

Side Bends

This seems to be a forgotten exercise even amongst the most physically capable people. Side bends are performed with dumbbells and target your obliques the most while slightly working a few of your other core muscles. No matter how old you are or what your handicap may be it is important to try and maintain a strong core to help your posture, balance, and enable you to perform daily activities without much stress as you age.


If you are lower body does not allow you to hold your legs in the air for crunches, bicycle kicks, or other similar core exercises, have a partner assist you by holding your feet as you raise your upper body off of the floor. If you are using a leg holder/sit-up bench have a partner help you set your legs so that you are comfortable and fully capable of performing the movement with proper technique. The sit-up bench is better if you want to hold a weight to your chest as you rise because of increased stability but it is important to only do what is safe and comfortable for you.

Lat Pulls

A major exercise that targets the majority of your back muscles, lat pulls are often over looked by the elderly as they tend to focus more on arms and stomach. Lat pulls are performed sitting down and pulling the hanging bar down to your upper chest or behind your head to your upper back/trapezius muscles. One of the safest and simple exercises out there, lat pulls are a vital exercise to have in your routine if you are disabled.

Cheryl Swanson is a passionate caregiver and devoted political advocate for those with disabilities, particular older disabled adults. In what little spare time is left, she freelances for the rollator supplier

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