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Training Examples

Warm-up, resistance training, functional and balance training, exercise examples, balance and mobility, aerobic endurance and cool down
older adults rowing a boat
© CQUniversity 2021

Below are basic guidelines for exercise prescription for the older adult:


  • 10 -20mins of rhythmical continuous aerobic movement
  • Can be done seated or standing
  • Focus on large muscle groups – quads, glutes, chest, back
  • The range of motion should be easy and gradually increasing to individual limits and gentle stretching can be added
  • Social aspects can be considered in a group situation – mixing and greeting
  • Circle warm-ups can be useful – hand-holding can increase confidence and support.


  • Add reps before sets or intensity
  • Gradual progression with weight, frequency, and duration
  • Both large and small muscle groups to be trained – used in activities of daily living
  • Pain-free, the fullest range of motion possible
  • No hyperextension or joint locking
  • 48-hour recovery, longer for those with chronic conditions
  • Individualised programs important as each person’s needs will be different
  • The correct technique as much as posture and health conditions allows
  • Encourage good posture in all positions – lying, seated, standing
  • Core stabilisation should not be neglected
  • Pelvic floor work for both males and females should be included
  • Combination of compound and isolated exercises
  • Slow to moderate velocity
  • Variety is important as daily tasks like hanging clothes on the line, walking up and down stairs, carrying groceries, bending and reaching all require different muscles working together
  • The inclusion of a balance activity is important for falls prevention.

Beginner example program

Can be done at home or in a small group

training program, can be done at home or in a small group

Beginner program on the gym floor

No health conditions

Functional and Balance Training

  • Movement in all planes – up/down; forward/ backward, rotational and diagonal
  • Accelerate, decelerate and stabilise joints – movement at different speeds, stop quickly, rotate, change directions – move sideways, forward, backward, diagonally
  • Perform exercises in a variety of different body positions – seated, kneeling, lying, standing, on both or one foot
  • Change surfaces- hard, soft, use pieces of foam to exercise bare feet and to assist with balance training – different thickness and density
  • Got to start somewhere!

Exercise examples

Sit and Move sit and move Source:

Seated Functional Activity examples seated functional activity Source:

Standing Functional Activities examples standing functional activities Source:

Groups are Great example groups are great Source:

Balance & Mobility


Aerobic Endurance

Cool Down

  • 5-10 minutes
  • Static stretching phase
  • Simple mind-body activities
  • Relaxation phase
  • Catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) are elevated in response to higher intensity aerobic exercise – exercise-induced irregularities in heart rate are rare but can induce cardiac incidents in high-risk clients
  • Cooldown slowly decreases the level of these hormones in the system reducing the likelihood of cardiac events.


  • Activities of daily living are most affected by lack of flexibility
  • Better flexibility will improve posture and gait
  • Dynamic stretching in warmups to enhance the range of motion
  • Static stretching when the body is at its warmest – cooldown
  • Promote good technique and spinal alignment as much as feasible
  • Balance issues? – are there other ways to stretch eg seated in a chair.
© CQUniversity 2021
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Personal Trainer's Toolkit: Developing Fitness Programs for Older People

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