How to Exercise to Gain Muscle Over 60

Mature man lifting weights
A mature man lifting weights in a gym. (Image: Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images)

It is never too late to grow stronger by developing a strength training exercise program. There are advantages to gaining muscle as you age, such as a lower risk of osteoporosis, less frailty due to healthy muscles and bones, and greater mental and emotional health. Strength training exercises are easy to learn and can be done at home or a gym. Creating a regular exercise routine to gain muscle is one of the best things you can do as you age.

Step 1

Get motivated and choose a program. Decide whether you will work out at home or a gym. Visit a gym and ask about members over 60 before you join; it is best to choose a facility that understands the needs of individuals in your age group. If you plan to build muscle at home make sure that you have free weights to use for your exercises -- even light dumbbells will be sufficient -- and a comfortable space to work out. Hire a trainer to help guide you through initial exercises; you will benefit greatly from the help of a professional.

Step 2

Exercise three to five times per week for 30 to 60 minutes per session. Start with a warm-up that includes a five-minute walk, 10 squats, 10 wall pushups and 10 toe stands. Once you have mastered these exercises you can begin adding weights to your routine.

Step 3

Alternate muscle groups each day to avoid becoming sore or tired. Good exercises with free weights for the upper body include the bench press, bicep curls, military press, barbell rows, and back squat. Do one to three sets of eight to 16 repetitions of each exercise.

Step 4

Put on ankle weights to gain muscle in your lower body by doing the following exercises: knee curl, seated leg presses, calf raises, and knee extensions. Pick up barbells to do lower body exercises including deadlifts, seated calf raises and lunges.

Step 5

Cool down after each session by stretching your entire body. Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Make sure that you stretch your chest, arms, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, neck and back.


Choose a healthy diet to complement the hard work you are doing to build muscles. Do cardio exercises, such as brisk walking or swimming, in addition to weight training.


Speak to a physician before beginning a program over the age of 60. Ask questions at the gym if you do not know how to use a machine.

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