How To Build Muscle After Age 70: 10 Ways to Build Muscle Mass

Jordan Robinson
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Strength Train

Strength training is an essential to maintaining muscle mass. You have to exercise most of your major muscle groups with enough weight and exercise consistency for muscle development.

If you’re over 70, the preferred method of strength training for muscle preservation is to lift weights. The easiest way to do this is with resistance band exercises. The reason is that weight resistance is redundant when you already have a lot of muscle mass. The resistance bands are a great way to build muscle.

You should aim for at least three full-body workouts a week. Working out every other day will give your muscles enough time to recover and adapt to the new weight and movements. You can use the included exercises in the exercise chart in this guide. There are two different exercises for each muscle group and the suggested number of repetitions and sets for each muscle group.

Incorporate Balance

Aging often equates to decreased flexibility and a loss of muscle strength, however, there are steps you can take to slow down the process. If you are balancing age with busyness, incorporating some balance exercises into your life can help rescue some of the declines that come with growing older.

Balance exercises are helpful when it comes to improving your balance and stability, and they are also effective when it comes to keeping your muscles active. When your muscle is active, you are more likely to build muscle.

Adding balance exercises to your routine does not have to take up a lot of your time. For example, you can take breaks from your day and do some exercises, such as facing the wall, practicing your balance and walking sideways, when you get stressed out and need a release.

If you are thinking about working out, you can even slip them in with your regular routine. For example, you could do lunges and balance steps instead of traditional lunges. As a bonus, you may even improve your coordination and agility along with building some muscles.

Maintain Proper Form

Proper form is very important in any exercises for building muscle. But it’s usually difficult for novice older adults to obtain, especially when performing strength training exercises. When you’re younger, your brain is more adept at helping you find the proper alignment for specific movements. As you get older, however, it’s easy to lose focus and let your form deteriorate.

The key to proper form is to concentrate on the details. Part of that concentration involves being in tune with your various muscle groups. For example, you should feel a good stretch when you do a hamstring exercise. Or, when doing a triceps exercise, you should involve your elbow. In these cases, you know that it’s time to stop if you experience any intense pain.

You should concentrate on your form too, which is ultimately connected to the effectiveness of your exercise. If you don’t have proper form while you exercise, you may be wasting your time.

Work on Stability

As you age, you’re more likely to suffer from falls. Many times, falls are caused by losing or tripping on uneven surfaces. A less-than-stable body adds to that problem because your bones, muscles, and joints need to cooperate to keep your balance.

Once you have three or four reps of 8-15 lbs, you can shift to doing the exercises one arm at a time to isolate the single limb. This gives your weak opposite limb a chance to catch up to your stronger limb.

It’s both good for you and fun to challenge yourself by trying to lift the heaviest set of free weights at the gym. It can help motivate you to get stronger, too. But with a day job and having a family to support (and little to no time), it’s hard to find the time to work out as much as you’d like.

Now, it’s totally understandable that you’re pressed for time and can’t spend hours in the gym, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid working out. If that’s the case, you can always work around it by incorporating some effective bodyweight workouts into your daily life.

Keep Up With Cardio

Walking, running, swimming, cycling, and many form of aerobic workout are amazing for your body. Even if you are in your 70’s or older, do not think that you can’t work out anymore.

Adopting a cardio program is the most efficient way to build muscles.

=> When you do cardio, you burn a lot of calories. It’s really hard to burn calories when you lift weights. A lot of calories would have to turn into a lot of protein that will be broken down into amino acids. Then, these amino acids will be used to repair the muscles which is why weight or strength training is not such a good way at this age to build muscle mass.

=> Another advantage of cardio workout is that when you are doing it, it stimulates the body to regenerate and to produce new enzymes, hormones, and blood vessels. This is very essential to maintain the health of your muscles (source).

=> Third, cardio helps you burn more calories throughout the day. After your workout session, you would have burned hundreds of calories. Muscle tissue consumes calories 24 hours a day. It is like metabolism booster.

=> Lastly, cardio helps you maintain a healthy cardiorespiratory fitness, which also known as oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. This means good heart health which is important for all of us.

Wear Good Shoes

Walking around in a pair of comfortable shoes made with poor quality materials is a recipe for pain and injury.

If you’re used to wearing sneakers or athletic shoes all the time, consider switching to a pair of shoes made for walking in and going on hikes instead.

Sneakers are great for running and working out, but they’re also not made to provide stability when you’re walking up and down hills or over rough terrain.

When you are gearing yourself up for your fitness goals, it’s also not too late to take proper care of your feet. You’ll need them for a long time. So what do you do if you’ve never invested in a good pair of quality shoes in the past?

Here are some things to consider and pay attention to when purchasing your next pair of shoes:

{1}. Look for shoes that are super lightweight, made from breathable fabrics, and lined with moisture wicking material. Those are the features of the shoes that you want to invest in.
{2}. If you’re buying a new pair of athletic trainers, go for the barefoot style. You will feel more connected with the ground and get better balance.


In a study in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers found that the average age of death for people who played competitive sports was just shy of ninety, while those who were sedentary averaged age eighty-five. Among those who were physically active, the degree of activity didn’t seem to matter. Every activity was beneficial.

In that report, published in 1998, researchers analyzed thirteen past studies on the question of how exercise affects the elderly. They found that regular exercise reduces the risk of dying from heart disease and cancer. It increases life expectancy by as much as four years. And regular exercise can even help you live longer if you’re already frail or even disabled.

As you age, you naturally lose muscle mass. If you maintain your muscle mass, you slow the loss of muscle, which can contribute to fat loss and maintenance of bone health.

As we’ll discuss shortly, it’s also a good idea to avoid muscle wasting from inactivity. So think about ways to keep moving even if it’s not vigorous exercise or regular visits to the gym. Walking a few laps around the park every day can slowly add up to a decent amount of activity.

Pair Exercise with Good Nutrition

Weightlifting has a bad reputation for building muscle on older bodies, but you can build muscle at any age if you know how.

Build muscle by training, but don’t neglect nutrition. Cutting out soda, fast food, high-fat and processed foods will make it easier to build muscle and can significantly cut fat. It’s hard to build muscle when your body is full of fillers and chemicals.

Exercise with a purpose. While you may think that the goal of working out is just to exercise, there is a greater benefit you receive from each type of exercise. From jogging to weightlifting, each activity has a heart rate that is optimal for building muscle and burning fat.

Getting enough sleep is important to building muscle as well. When you’ve got enough rest, your body has the chance to recover and rebuild. When you don’t rest and your muscles get too sore to work out, it’s harder to build muscle.

Focus on Posture

Most people recognize that good posture is healthy. But many people don’t know the effects and importance of good posture.

Good posture helps make sure that your bones are held in the right position and that your joints are stable. Poor posture, on the other hand, can cause pain and injury. That’s why it’s important to always keep your best posture when you work out.

At this age, one of the common poor posture is scoliosis. This happens when the spine curves and the shoulders turn in towards the center of the body.

Many people who have scoliosis exercise in the wrong position, which makes the problem worse. A good example of this is the person that leans forward when doing his or her exercises. This tightens the abdomen while at the same time, it puts a lot of stress on the lower back, increasing the curve.

Another common mistake is maintaining a folded position for a long time. Examples are when doing push-ups and crunches. Pay special attention to the way you sit and to the way your body is positioned at all times.

The first few weeks that you exercise, stretching after each session is a good way to improve the quality of your posture. To get even better results, work with a good trainer or a physical therapist.


Sports, Cardio and Resistance Training.

Starting at 70, you shouldn’t put as much stress on muscles as you did when you were younger. Stretching is very important.

You can build muscle by adding simple exercises to each day. Shoulder and arm rotations, leg lifts, light dumbbells or water bottles are a few simple suggestions. Experiment with different ways to get a good workout each day.

Play sports as often as you can. Golf, tennis, badminton, and volleyball are all excellent choices. If you don’t play sports, head to your local track or trail and get moving. Keep it varied and do what feels good.

Cardio is also important, even (or especially) as you age. Evolve your cardio, adding strenuous exercises and greater intensity a few times a week.

Resistance training gets harder to do as you age, so be sure to move slowly. Increase repetitions, sets, and weight as you get stronger.

Lift light weights, but you should be able to identify muscles that are being used to lift. If your muscles start shaking and you think you’ve overdone it, actually you’ve probably just hit the right weight for your age!

Partial or full squat

Which is better for your knees?

Squatting is a great exercise but it can also be painful for your knees at times. If you have previous knee issues, stay away from full squats and stick to partial squats. My medical recommendation is that if you have knee issues, do partial squats or calf raises instead of full squats.

The degree of knee and leg pain you feel during the exercise depends on your anatomy, knee condition, training experience, and exercise technique. The best way to determine whether this exercise is right for you is to try it out in the gym. If you feel a great amount of pain, stop the exercise immediately and adjust your technique.

So why would partial squats be better for the knees that full squats?

When performed correctly, squatting to 90 degrees puts less pressure on the knees than full squats. By limiting the range of motion, you also reduce the compressive forces on the knees. A partial squat also takes stress off the patellar tendon that experiences the highest forces during full squats.

Nevertheless, it is extremely important to squat with proper form. Form is one of the most important elements in preventing injury during this exercise. So be aware of these two things in order to do a partial or full squat safely.

Bicep and tricep curls

  • Picking up light hand weights, you will flex your fists toward your shoulders for the bicep curl, and toward your hips for the tricep curl.
  • Picking up light hand weights, you will flex your fists toward your shoulders for the bicep curl, and toward your hips for the tricep curl. Arm circles – Holding the weights with both hands, making a bullseye with your arms in front of the chest, circle the right arm clockwise, then do the circling motion in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Holding the weights with both hands, making a bullseye with your arms in front of the chest, circle the right arm clockwise, then do the circling motion in a counter-clockwise direction. Chest press – Lying on your back, you will push the weights straight up and together for the chest press.
  • Lying on your back, you will push the weights straight up and together for the chest press. Leg lifts – Laying on your back, you will raise each leg while holding the weights, then lower each leg while holding the weights.
  • Laying on your back, you will raise each leg while holding the weights, then lower each leg while holding the weights. Leg press – Sitting on a chair holding the weights, place each leg against a wall, your foot flat on the floor. Focusing on one leg at a time, raise and lower it.

Shoulder press

This is a chest exercise but adding dumbbells or a barbell on a secure bench will make it work your shoulders. You can do this one sitting down or standing up.

To do the sitting shoulder press, sit on a bench with your back straight, hips squeezed, and feet flat on the floor. Hold the dumbbells in your hands with your arms hanging down at your sides. Lift the dumbbells just above your shoulders. Then straighten your arms and lift the dumbbells over your head. Bring the weight back over your shoulders. Next, start to bend your elbows and lower the weight slowly until your arms are even with your ears. Next let the weight drop back down to starting position and repeat.