10 Standing Core Stability Exercises For Seniors

What Are The Best Standing Core Stability Exercises For Seniors?

Core stability exercises are important for seniors to prevent and treat lower back pain. They also help with balance and can help with fall prevention.

However, many seniors have difficulty with traditional core stability exercises that require getting on and off the floor.

Watch the video below to learn 10 standing core stability exercises for seniors that don't require getting on and of the floor.

Why Do Standing Core Stability Exercises?

As previously mentioned, many seniors have difficulty getting on and off the floor to do traditional core stability exercises.

Additionally though, in real life, we primarily use our core to stabilize our spine and maintain our balance in a standing position.

Therefore, it makes sense to exercise the core muscles in same manner that we functionally use them.

The 10 exercises below start from the easiest and progressively become more difficult. So, you may or may not be able to do them all.

Just do the ones that you feel safe doing.

Furthermore, even if you can do them all, you don't need to do them all every day.

Just pick 2-3 of the exercises below each exercise session.

10 Standing Core Stability Exercises For Seniors

  1. Standing Pelvic Tilt
  2. Standing Bridge
  3. Standing Bird Dog
  4. Single Arm Carry
  5. Single Arm Overhead Carry
  6. Deadlift
  7. Single Leg Deadlift
  8. Squat
  9. Arms Overhead Squat
  10. Arm Overhead Lunge
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Standing Pelvic Tilt

This exercise is a standing version of the lying pelvic tilt.

pelvic tilt core stability exercise

The pelvic tilt is one of the most common core stability exercises taught to seniors in physical therapy.

To do the exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart.

Engage your core muscles and roll your pelvis underneath of you while tucking your tailbone.

standing pelvic tilt core stability exercise for seniors

This helps flatten the curve in your lower back and taking the pressure off of your lower back facet joints.

It also opens the spaces where the nerve roots exit your spine.

This is helpful if you have degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis.

You can do this as a standing core stability exercise.  Ideally though, try to make it a habitual posture that you use whenever you're standing.

Standing Bridge

This exercise is to simulate a lying down bridge.

bridge exercise

Bridges are great exercises, but for seniors who can't get on the floor, this a good standing alternative.

Stand with feet hip-width apart.

Bend your knees and push them in front of your toes while squeezing your glutes.

Lean backwards as if you were doing the limbo, but don't go very low.

Standing bridge cores stability exercise for seniors

Only lean back as far as you feel safe and comfortable going.

It's a good idea to do this standing in front of a couch or with your back to the wall, just in case you fall backwards.

Always keep safety in mind first!

This standing core exercise strengthens the abdominals, glutes, and quadriceps.

It also stretches your quads and hip flexors.

Standing Bird Dog

This exercise simulates the kneeling bird dog done on all fours.

bird dog core stability exercise

To do the standing version, lean forward slightly and extend one arm forward while lifting the opposite leg backward.

standing bird dog core stability exercise for seniors

Many seniors have trouble balancing on one leg though.  If that's the case for you, hold on to a chair or another sturdy object.

standing bird dog core stability exercise for seniors

The standing bird dog engages the core muscles while also promoting stability and balance.

This in turn can help with fall prevention in seniors.

This exercise also mimics functional movements like leaning forward to reach for something in front of you.

You'll notice that the first 3 exercises above don't require any equipment. Therefore, you can do them just about anywhere.

For the next 7 standing core stability exercises, you'll need some dumbbells.

If you don't have access to a gym, I'd recommend buying a pair of adjustable dumbbells since you'll need more weight for some exercises and less weigh for other exercises.

Single Arm Carry

The single arm carry helps with side to side trunk stability.

To do this exercise hold a fairly heavy dumbbell in one hand.

Use your trunk muscles on the opposite side to prevent your trunk from tipping over toward the dumbbell.

Walk down the hallway carrying the dumbbell in your hand.

Walking single arm dumbbell carry standing core stability exercise

Turn around, and carry the dumbbell back to the start in the other hand.

This exercise challenges balance and stability while strengthening the quadratus lumborum and oblique abdominal muscles on the side opposite of the dumbbell.

Single Arm Overhead Carry

To further challenge your core, hold the dumbbell overhead in one hand.

Keep your core engaged and walk slowly in a straight line just as in the previous exercise.

Walking single arm overhead dumbbell carry core stability exercise

This exercise helps with both shoulder and trunk stability.


Many people think deadlifts are bad for your back.

However, if you ever pick anything up from the floor, then you do a version of a deadlift.

To do a deadlift properly, hold dumbbells in front of thighs.

Push your hips backward while keeping your back straight and knees slightly bent.

Lower the dumbbells towards floor.

The deadlift is a great standing cores strengthening exercise for seniors

Then squeeze your glutes to push your hips back forward to return to a standing position.

Make sure to keep your lower back straight and activate your abdominals and glutes.

Start with light weights using strict form.

Then progress to heavier weights as able staying in the 10-15 rep range.

Single Leg Deadlift

Stand on one leg with a dumbbell in the opposite hand.

Hinge at hips and lower dumbbell towards floor while extending free leg behind you.

Single leg deadlift exercise

Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to return to standing position.

In addition to strengthening your core, the single leg deadlift improves balance and stability, which are crucial for preventing falls in seniors.

Start with light weights (or no weight) and gradually increase as you build strength and confidence.


The squat is the best leg strengthening exercise for seniors. However, it's also a great standing core stability exercise.

To do the squat for core strengthening, it helps to use weights.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Lower hips back and down as if sitting back into a chair.

Senior Strength Training Exercises - Squat with weight

Keep your lower back in a neutral position and core engaged.

Return to standing position by pushing through your heels.

There's a myth that squats are bad for knee pain, but when you do squats correctly, they're a great exercise for people of any age.

Arms Overhead Squat

Hold a dumbbell, barbell, or dowel rod overhead with both hands.

Perform a squat as described above while keeping arms overhead.

Overhead dumbbell squat exercise

The arms overhead squat adds an additional challenge by raising the center of gravity, thus requiring greater core stability.

Single-Arm Overhead Lunge

Hold a dumbbell overhead with one hand.

Step forward into a lunge position while keeping the arm extended overhead.

Return to starting position and take a step forward with the opposite leg.

Perform a walking lunge while holding the dumbbell overhead.

Overhead dumbbell lunge exercise

Then switch arms and repeat.

This exercise combines shoulder stability, legs strength and balance all in one.


So those were the 10 standing core stability exercises for seniors.

Keep in mind that some of these exercises do require a little bit of balance, so only do the ones that you feel safe doing.

Need Help To Improve Core Stability

If you're in the St. Louis area and need help to strengthen your core, improve your balance, or relive pain, we'd be happy to help you.

Just tap the button below to request an appointment with one of our specialist physical therapists.

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