Medicine Ball Workouts for Seniors

Muscle mass can naturally decline as we get older which can lead to loss of overall strength, balance, and ultimately independence. This is why strength training is so important for seniors. Not only can strength training help prevent muscle mass decline, but it can also help increase bone density, and may even ward off chronic diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis. This is where medicine ball workouts come in!

So why strength train with medicine balls? Medicine balls are effective strength training tools that can help provide resistance in a full-body workout. You’ll be able to target major muscle groups from your arms and legs to your core. Medicine balls can also help improve your coordination and are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. If you’re ready to start strengthening your muscles then check out these medicine ball workouts for seniors.

A quick tip: when choosing a medicine ball make sure it’s not too heavy that your movements are out of control. If you lose control by the end of the exercise, then that indicates the ball is too heavy. You want to ensure you can maintain slow, controlled movements throughout. Medicine balls are available in varying weights from 1-pound to 30-pounds so make sure you choose a suitable weight for your fitness level.

Tricep Extension

Strengthening your triceps is essential for building upper body strength. The tricep also helps with movement in your shoulders and elbows which is vital for daily activities.

To perform a tricep extension, you can stand or sit in a sturdy chair. Hold the medicine ball in both hands and lift the ball straight up overhead. Keep your arms straight and next to your ears.

Next slowly bend your elbows, bringing the ball behind your head until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Then, pull the ball back up without locking your elbows and then try to repeat for 10 repetitions. During this exercise, ensure your back is straight and your abs are engaged.

Chair Squat

A squat is a movement we do daily from sitting down and standing up from a chair to getting in and out of a car. This is why practicing squatting is essential.  A squat exercise will help you build strength in your hips, thighs, and glutes and ultimately, will help you perform these simple daily tasks with ease.

To perform a chair squat with a medicine ball, begin by standing in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the medicine ball with both hands and stretch your arms straight out in front of you. Next, begin to bend your knees and send your hips back until you’re sitting in the chair. As soon as you touch the chair stand back up. Try to perform 10 repetitions.

A quick tip: this exercise can certainly be performed without a weighted medicine ball if you find it too difficult. If that’s the case start without the ball and then once you build up strength begin adding the weight.

Chair squat

Knee Lift

This exercise will help strengthen your upper body and can help with balance and stability too. Begin by holding a medicine ball in both hands and raise your arms straight up over your head.

Next, lift your left knee to waist level while simultaneously bringing the arms down and touch the ball to your knee. Lower your knee and bring the ball back up overhead. Then repeat with the opposite side. Continue alternating for five to 10 repetitions.

A quick tip: you will need good balance for this exercise. If it’s too difficult start with just the knee raises and then add in the upper body movements after.

Senior woman holding medicine ball in the air

Seated Rotation

A seated rotation is a great exercise that will help strengthen your core. Strengthening your core will help improve balance and stability, as well as posture, body strength, and help make daily tasks easier.

Begin by sitting up tall in a sturdy chair. Hold the medicine ball at chest level. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows out to the sides. Next, rotate your torso as far to the left as you can comfortably, while also making sure your hips and knees stay facing forward. Return to the center and then repeat but this time rotate to the right. Continue alternating and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.

Chest Press

A chest press is a great exercise that can help strengthen your chest and arm muscles. This is important for improving posture and upper body stability as well as your ability to breathe deeply. Strengthing these muscles will also help you with day-to-day tasks such as picking up groceries and pushing doors open.

Begin by sitting up tall with your feet flat on the floor in a sturdy chair. Tighten your core muscles and then lift the medicine ball to chest level with your elbows bent. Next, push the ball forward while straightening your arms and then pull the ball back in. Try to repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.

senior woman doing chest press with a medicine ball

Overhead Press

An overhead press will work many of the large muscles in your upper body such as the chest, shoulders, and arms. Upper body strength is important for seniors because it can help improve your flexibility, mobility, and range of motion. It’s also essential for everyday activities like lifting, reaching, pushing, and pulling.

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent. Next, hold the medicine ball in both hands at chest-level. Push the ball and your arms up, overhead, and then slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position. Try to repeat for 10 repetitions.

senior man doing overhead press with a medicine ball

Ball Tap

The ball tap exercises can help strengthen your core and help improve balance and stability. Begin by sitting in a sturdy chair and place the medicine ball in front of both feet. Sit up tall ensuring your back is straight and your abs are engaged.

Next, lift your left foot and tap the top of the ball and then lower your foot back down. Repeat with the right foot and continue alternating for 10 repetitions.

medicine ball, dumbbells, and yoga mat

Thigh Squeeze

This exercise can help strengthen your inner thighs. This can also help contribute to stronger knees which in turn, can make you less prone to injury.

To perform a thigh squeeze, begin by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Next, place the medicine ball between your thighs. Then, press your thighs together and hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then relax. Try to repeat for 10 repetitions.

woman smiling with medicine ball under arm

Bicep Curl

Bicep curls are great exercises to help strengthen your biceps. This is essential for being able to perform daily tasks such as picking up a grocery bag or lifting a laundry basket.

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent. Next, hold the medicine ball with both hands down in front of you while keeping your arms straight. Next, bend both arms upward, bending at the elbows, and bringing the ball to your chest. Slowly return the ball to the starting position and then try to repeat for 10 repetitions.


This exercise is great for strengthening the shoulders. Shoulder mobility is very important for performing daily activities such as reaching and lifting.

Begin by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold the medicine ball straight overhead and engage your core. Then, move your arms in a clockwise movement and draw a circle in the air.

Allow your core to twist during the movement but make sure your feet stay flat on the floor. Try to repeat for 10 repetitions going clockwise and then repeat for another 10 repetitions going counterclockwise.

Woman standing with medicine ball

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa is the Junior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat. She aspires to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating foods that nourish her body, but she isn't afraid to indulge in a little chocolate here and there! Clarissa loves cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with her dog. In her free time, you'll find her relaxing in her hammock or curled up on the couch reading a book.