The chairs that we have at home are typically used for sitting and resting, but they can also be incorporated into your exercise routines. Chair exercises are great for those with limited mobility or stability. Besides being able to do these exercises at any time, you also get to save your money because chances are, you already own a chair in your home.
These chair exercises are separated into two categories – beginner and intermediate. You can start with the beginner-level exercises and slowly work your way to the intermediate ones. All exercises do not require heavy movement, so they are great for those living in apartments or with other people. Both levels will include exercises with weights so prepare a dumbbell with a weight that is suitable for you. You can also use water bottles or any weighted household item.
Here are the 10 chair exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Beginner exercises are great for people with weak mobility, like seniors, or people who are recovering from a leg injury. These exercises will mainly be done whilst sitting so there is not much leg movement. You can do these beginner exercises with any type of chair, including bar chairs and office chairs. You can also do some of these exercises in between studying or working, because they do not require any other equipment. These exercises are especially great for those who suffer from stiff shoulders or backs, because they can help to loosen the tension and relieve pain.
1. Seated Rotation
The first beginner exercise is called the seated rotation and you can do this without any exercise equipment. This sitting exercise will help to work the transverse abdominals and the obliques. It can also help to stabilize the pelvis and the mid-back.
To start, you will need to sit upright on your chair, with your back straight. Clasp your hands behind your head. Take a deep breath and slowly rotate your upper body towards the right. As you rotate, you should slowly exhale. Next, slowly inhale and rotate your upper body back to the centre. Slowly exhale once you have returned to the first position. While you rotate your upper body, you should pull in your abs and keep them tight. Repeat the rotation with the other side and then, alternate.
2. Leg Extensions
The next exercise is leg extensions, and it does not require any equipment. There will be some leg movement included but there is no standing. This exercise is great for those with knee and joint pains.
First, sit on your chair in an upright position, without your back touching the chair. Place your legs in a comfortable position and do not cross them. Slightly lift one leg so that the foot hovers about a couple of inches above the ground. Slowly straighten the knee and hold for one (1) second. Then, slowly bring the leg back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg and alternate legs throughout the exercise.
3. Back Fly with Tubing
The next exercise is the back fly with tubing and requires an exercise band. This sitting exercise will work the shoulders and arms.
To start, sit on the chair in an upright position, with your back away from the chair. With your arms straight out at shoulder height and palms facing up, hold your exercise band with a slight tension. Slowly pull the band until your arms are at the sides. Slowly return to the starting position and then, repeat.
4. Chair Figure-Eight
The chair figure-eight exercise can be done without any equipment, but it will be more effective if you include some weights. Make sure that the weight that you are using is not too heavy for you. This exercise is also great for the shoulders and the arms.
First, you need to sit on the chair in an upright position, with your back away from the chair. Firmly hold your weights, one in each hand, and straighten out your arm to shoulder height. Trace a figure-eight in the air and try to keep your arms straight throughout the exercise.
5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The last beginner chair exercise is the dumbbell shoulder press, and it will require some weights. You should get dumbbells that are suitable for you, but you can increase the weight as you progress. To start, sit on your chair in an upright position and make sure your back is not resting on it. Firmly grasp your dumbbells, one in each hand, and curl them to shoulder height. Slowly press them to an overhead position, make sure that they are pressed directly over the body. Slowly lower the weights and repeat.
And now we’ve moved to the Intermediate level of chair exercises, which can be done by people with better mobility and stability. While these exercises are not hard to do, they still require a little more standing and movement than beginner exercises. The type of chair that you should use for the intermediate-level exercises should be shorter and more stable, like a dining chair.
1. Chair Taps
The first intermediate exercise is called the chair taps and you will need to stand to do this exercise, but no other equipment will be needed. This exercise will work the legs and is great for warm-ups.
To begin with, stand and face the front of the chair. Slowly lift one of your knees to a height where you can touch the seat with your foot. Return to starting position and repeat with the other leg. You can do with exercise at a slower pace, or you can do the movements as fast as you can.
2. Chair Dips
There is no need for any additional equipment for this chair dips workout, and a chair without an armrest would be ideal for supporting the movements of this exercise. It will work the shoulders and triceps.
First, make sure that your chair is stable. Sit on the weight of the chair’s seat and place your palms on the sides of your hip. Shift your weight to your palms, and gently lift your lower body forward and off the chair. Bend your knees and your elbows, and then slowly lower your upper body. You should be able to create a 90-degree angle with your arms. Slowly straighten out your arms to return to the starting position and repeat the movement. You can increase the difficulty of the exercise by straightening and extending your legs.
3. Chair (Box) Squat
The next exercise is called chair squats and it is great for those who want to do squats but are worried about their stability. Like regular squats, this exercise is great for your legs and can improve your joint health.
To start, stand in front of a chair, with your back facing the chair. Position your feet at a hip to shoulder-width distance. Slowly lower yourself to the seated position, keeping your back straight and abs tight. Slowly stand back to the starting position, pushing through your feet. Repeat the movements.
The sit-to-stand exercise is similar to the chair squat but with a slight twist. You can do this exercise without any equipment but using weights would be better.
First, sit on your chair while holding your arms straight towards the front. You can also do this while holding weights. Breathe in and slowly stand up, exhaling as you stand. Breathe in again and slowly sit back down on the chair, exhaling as you move down. Try to engage your muscles and control your movement as your stand and sit. Repeat the movement.
5. Elevated Push-Ups
This elevated push-up exercise is a lot advanced than the rest but works for your arms, shoulders, and pecs.
You will need to start in a plank position, with your legs elevated and on the seat of the chair. Your hands should be under your shoulders. Bend your elbows and touch your chest to the floor, making sure to keep your triceps close to the body. Do a regular push-up motion and straighten your elbows. Continue the exercise as you would on a regular push-up. Repeat the movement, while keeping your core tight and back flat.
Some exercises may be more challenging than others so do them to the best of your abilities. It is okay to start slowly with fewer reps and work your way to more reps at a faster speed. As with other exercises, you should do a proper cool down after your routine. Remember to stay hydrated and maintain your health with a proper diet, and if and if necessary, complement your diet with one or two supplements such as multivitamins, or any other vitamins you might need.