Immobilization due to hospitalization and major surgery leads to an increased risk of morbidity, disability and a decline in muscle function especially in frail elderly individuals. In fact, many elderly patients fail to regain their level of function and self-care before admission to hospital. Given that reduced lower limb muscle strength and loss of skeletal muscle mass (i.e. sarcopenia) have been associated with functional impairments and disability with aging, attempts to counteract this process seem highly relevant. In recent years, strength training has emerged as an effective method to induce muscle hypertrophy and increase muscle strength and functional performance in frail elderly individuals. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that strength training is an effective method to restore muscle function in post-operative patients and in patients with chronic diseases. Despite this, strength training is rarely used in the rehabilitation of hospitalized elderly patients. The current knowledge on this topic will be the focus of this review.