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This Is The One Workout Anyone Over 50 Needs To Be Doing

Resistance Bands

I’ve never been great at exercising regularly, but I recently found a tool that makes it easy and convenient: resistance bands! Today I’ll be telling you all about them, starting with an overview of what resistance training actually is and why it’s so important (especially for us “mature” adults). ;-)

I’ll also share some good reasons why you should give resistance bands a try, and I’ll show you 7 easy exercises you can do with them!

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Resistance Bands

What Is Resistance Training?

Resistance training is any deliberate exercise that challenges your muscle strength against external resistance. Resistance training helps build strength, tone muscles, and can even strengthen bones.

Because our muscle strength declines as we age, resistance training is especially important for those of us over 50. Maintaining muscle strength over time is crucial for preserving the ability to do the ordinary daily activities that many of us take for granted!

Essentially, resistance training can help preserve your independence as you get older. And in my opinion, there’s no easier or more convenient way to do it than with a set of resistance bands! :-)

4 Reasons Why You Should Exercise With Resistance Bands

Resistance Bands

1. It’s Safe

In terms of safety, resistance bands offer a couple of advantages over alternatives like weight machines and free weights. First, there’s no risk of dropping a heavy weight on yourself accidentally. (That’s an especially good thing for those of us with somewhat clumsy tendencies.) ;-)

Second, resistance band exercises are low-impact and very gentle on joints. The risk of joint injury increases as we age, so the gentler the exercise, the better.

Resistance Bands

2. It’s Affordable

Why pay for an expensive gym membership or pricey exercise equipment when you can buy a few resistance bands instead? You can get a full set of them for around $10, and that’s all you need to start building muscle strength!

Resistance Bands

3. It’s Portable

You can exercise with resistance bands almost anywhere! You can bring your bands with you when you travel, or even take them to work and use them at your desk!

Resistance Bands

4. It’s Customizable

You can exercise nearly every area of your body using resistance bands, so you get to customize your workout based on your individual goals. And most resistance band sets include several different resistance levels, so you can use the stretchier ones for a gentler workout and the stiffer ones when you want more intensity.

Resistance Bands

Types Of Resistance Bands

There are two main types of exercise bands (although there’s quite a bit of variety within each type):

  • Type 1: LoopsLoop bands are essentially giant rubber bands. They’re small, inexpensive, and easy to use.
  • Type 2: Tubes With HandlesTube-style bands with handles are a bit more versatile because you can attach them to doors and other surfaces.

7 Resistance Band Exercises To Try

When you buy a set a resistance bands, it usually comes with an instructional guide of some sort, like a booklet, eBook, or online video. Check it out and give those exercises a try, or try some of my favorites exercises below! (You can even do #7 and #8 while sitting at your desk!)

Resistance Bands

1. Bicep Curl

For Type 2 Bands

Stand with both feet on the band about shoulder-width apart. Hold one handle in each hand, arms extended towards the floor, palms facing forward. Curl your hands up toward your shoulders, keeping your elbows tucked to your sides. Slowly lower your hands back to the starting position.

Resistance Bands

2. Squat

For Type 1 Bands

Position the band around your lower thighs, just above your knees. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart with your feet pointing slightly outward. Bend your knees into a squat, with your hips back and your knees over your toes. Slowly straighten back up to standing.

Resistance Bands

3. Chest Fly

For Type 2 Bands

Secure the center of the band to something secure behind you. Face away from the band, holding one handle in each hand. Hold your arms straight out to the side with your palms facing forward. Stand with one foot about 12″ in front of the other, and position yourself far enough forward that there’s tension in the band. This is your starting position.

Keeping your arms straight with elbows slightly bent, slowly pull the handles to meet in front of your body. Then slowly return your arms back out to the starting position. (When you’re ready to do another set, stand with the other foot in front.)

Resistance Bands

4. Lat Pulldown

For Type 2 Bands

Securely anchor the center of your resistance band somewhere in front of and above you (like at the top of a door). Stand with one foot about 12″ in front of the other, holding one handle in each hand, arms extended toward the ceiling at a slight diagonal. Stand far enough back from the anchor point that there is tension in the band. Keep your chest lifted, back flat, and core tight. This is your starting position.

Slowly pull your hands down and back to shoulder height. Hold for a moment, engaging your back and shoulder blades. Then slowly extend your arms back up to the starting position.

Resistance Bands

5. Crunch

For Type 2 Bands

Anchor the center of your band to something low behind you (like under a door.) Lie on your back with your head pointed toward the anchor point, with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Hold the handles above your shoulders, then crunch up and push the handles forward, keeping your arms alongside your legs.

Your shoulders should come up off the ground, but keep your neck relaxed and push your lower back against the floor. Hold for a moment, then return your hands to your shoulders as you lie back down.

Resistance Bands

6. Bow & Arrow

For Type 1 Bands

Hold the band in both hands, then straighten your left arm out in front of you and keep your right hand near your right shoulder. Rotate your chest and shoulders to the right slightly, like you’re holding a bow.

Keep your left arm sturdy and slowly pull your right arm back, keeping your entire arm level with your shoulder. Hold for a moment, then slowly release your right arm. (When you’re ready to do another set, use your right hand as your anchor and pull back with your left.)

Resistance Bands

7. Russian Twist

For Type 1 Bands

Hold the band tight between your hands and extend your arms out in front of you. Suck in your stomach and slowly rotate towards the right, keeping your core, shoulders, and hands aligned. Slowly return to the starting position, then repeat on the left.

What sort of exercise(s) do you do to stay fit?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Just one word of caution. If you have osteoporosis, I was told not to bend or twist. I have had therapy for osteoporosis with the bands and I like them a lot. It isn’t strenuous and I faithfully do my exercises twice a day.

    I really like your website. Thank you for all your information.

  • Love this. I really hate to exercise with a passion. I think these are exercises I might actually be able to physically do. I’m not athletic at all and have certain physical limitations as to what my body will let me do. I just need to locate some of these bands. My dad uses one and had a hard time finding one when he had one break.

  • Hi Jillee,
    I used to be a gym bunny, spending hours in the gym, then a swim and a sauna four or five times a week (before or after work, depending on my rota) sadly that went awry after an industrial accident.
    As part of my career, I was involved in Health and Safety and even with the ‘user friendly’ resistance bands I would unequivocally insist having hair tied up. If your hair is long enough to tie up, then it should be tied up, rare though accidents might be a woman had half her head scalped in gym equipment some years ago. If that wasn’t bad enough she then had to endure years of skin grafts and had to wear a wig, her hair will never re-grow as the machine ripped out the hair folicles along with the skin.
    So please, if using these bands and any other gym equipment always have your hair tied up, safely out of the way.
    Keep the ideas coming Jillee, many thanks x

    • That depends entirely on where you’re at now. I suggest to start with a very small amount of reps – maybe only 5 on each side. Do as many you can to push yourself, but avoid pain and discomfort. Simply increase the amount of reps as you get stronger! :-)

  • I have used Bodygym purchased two years ago. It’s a complete set of resistant band and a bar. The band attaches to each end of the bar. The exercises are on both sides of the bar. One side for upper workout, other side for lower workout. also comes with a dvd and a travel bag (very convenient) Don’t remember what I paid, but you can go to bodygym.com for more info. I have to say that this is the most convenient, easy,complete,versatile and fast workout I’ve ever done…………………..

  • I am confined to a wheelchair because of a crushed knee and broken femur. I cannot walk at all. I need exercises for muscle strength. I cannot get on the floor but can do something lying on my back in the bed. Help!

    • Hi Elaine! I would suggest doing a google search for “resistance band exercises,” and just scrolling through until you see an exercise that would work for you. There are so many out there! :-)

  • Great post Jillee! Resistance bands are awesome and you are so right, very versatile! I train regularly in a gym but they are my go to whenever I travel or just don’t feel like making the trek.

    My motto is you’re never too old AND just keep moving! Started lifting two years ago (at 55) and have never been stronger or healthier in my entire adult life.

    Love you!

  • Good morning, Jillee! May I please inquire what you use to anchor the bands to the door with, only so I don’t end up with a flying missile. It also appears that you are using a sturdy weather proof door instead of a wooden door to hold your weight? Which would you suggest?

    • Hey Karen – some resistance band packages come with an aid that allows you to hook the band on the other side of the door. Doesn’t have to be a heavy door – I use my inside door all the time!

    • Joanne is right- any door will do the trick! This door was just the easiest to take photos of :-) My resistance bands came with a loop and ball that you insert in the door, but you’ll get instructions with whatever set you buy.

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