Strength training for older women not only increases muscle mass and power but also helps to reverse bones loss. Even if you're anywhere from 80 to 90 years old, you can do weight-bearing exercises to counteract atrophied muscles, replace bone tissue and improve your balance. To develop your chest muscles, or pectoralis muscles, you can perform exercises using weights, resistance bands or even your own body weight.
Exercise With Weights
To build your chest muscles, you can perform traditional weightlifting exercises, such as chest presses and flyes. For example, you can do flat dumbbell flyes. Start by lying supine on a bench. Hold two light dumbbells, extending your arms to your sides with your elbows slightly bent. Your palms should be angled in toward each other and facing the ceiling. Plant your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at right angles. Lift the weights upward, drawing your hands toward each other. Envision a bear hug in slow motion. Gently allow the dumbbells to touch each other at the peak position above your chest and then slowly lower them to the starting position. Perform 10 to 15 reps for one to two sets.
Resistance Band Exercise
You can also perform chest presses with an elastic band -- from either a seated or standing position. In general, bands are safer than free weights. If you drop a band on your foot, it won't crush your bones. To do chest presses with an elastic band, start by looping the band around the back of a sturdy chair. Sit in the chair and grasp the handles at the ends of the band. Position your hands by your chest with your elbows bent and tucked in. Exhale and push your hands directly forward, fully extending your arms without locking your elbows. You should feel your pectoralis muscles contract. Hold the peak position for a second and then return slowly to the starting position. If you perform the chest press from a standing position, loop the band around your own back at chest level. Perform one to two sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Bodyweight Resistance Exercise
A convenient chest-strengthening exercise you can do at home is a wall push-up. Stand at an arm's distance away from a wall. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the wall directly in front of your shoulders. Bend your elbows and inhale, lowering your body weight toward the wall. Keep your legs and back straight. Inhale and push your body away from the wall on a count of two, fully extending your arms. Avoid locking your elbows. Perform 10 reps for two sets, resting for one to two minutes between sets.
Because they don't require weights or even movement, you can do isometric exercises for your chest anywhere and at any time in your day. By contracting your pectoralis muscles and holding them in one position, you can strengthen them. To do this, start by standing before an open door and centering yourself at the edge of the door between the right and left sides of your body. Put your hands on either side of the door at chest height, elbows flared out and pointing to your sides. Your hands and arms should appear as if you're praying. Press your hands against the door as if you're trying to squeeze it. Hold this position for 30 seconds, feeling the tension in your chest muscle. You can even do this exercise while sitting and watching television. Put your hands in prayer position and press them against each other to develop your chest.