8 Challenging Chair Exercises


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  58 comments   :  122,653 Views

You should not have to join a fancy gym or spend loads of money on home fitness equipment in order to build lean body mass. Using simple at home objects such as canned food, a towel, even a chair can be just as effective as using a dumbbell or resistance band. Remember the body does not know the difference between lifting a one pound can of beans or a dumbbell. As long as you are overloading the muscles, even if that overload is from your own body weight, you will build muscle strength.

A few weeks ago I shared with you all a blog on how using as simple as a towel can help us with our resistance training workouts. Today's blog is how using a simple chair can help us tone our abs, biceps, triceps, hamstrings, glutes and quads. And one of the great things about these exercises is that you can do them anywhere you have access to a chair, whether at home, on the job or waiting for a flight at the airport. I hope you enjoy.

Back, Biceps, Rear Shoulder, Core

Single Arm Double Pull

Modified Push Ups




Seated Knee Lifts with Chair

Seated Crossover Slides 3a and 3b

Single Leg Squat with a Chair

Hamstrings, Abs, Glutes

Lift Series

Adductors—Inner Thighs

Pillow Squeeze

Have you ever done chair exercises? If so, what are some of your favorites?

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  • 58
    I hate these non-Spark links! Ads all over, can't find the photos and instructions. A waste of time. - 12/6/2017   9:34:30 PM
  • 57
    I like chair yoga! I go to Silver Sneakers once a week for chair assisted exercises! Get a great workout and it keeps me doing things when my other exercise class isn't in session. Great help for my knees! - 11/6/2017   8:28:59 AM
    Good exercise list! Thanks! - 10/27/2017   2:09:41 PM
  • 55
    Thanks for the new challenges for me. - 10/9/2017   12:31:37 PM
  • 54
    I Love them all cause I can't do most of the exercises for the feet!!! :) - 8/21/2017   3:23:03 PM
  • 53
    Many of these links are broken. One goes to a recipe. - 2/10/2017   4:27:04 PM
  • 52
    I checked the search button on SparkPeople and found several of these exercises on the free videos and workouts! Due to arthritis issues, I do chair exercises often. Coach Nicole has several seated exercises that will give you a good workout! - 9/9/2016   7:41:09 PM
  • 51
    these links are almost all broken. - 10/1/2015   3:46:06 AM
  • 50
    Super! Thank you!,,, - 4/30/2014   7:18:55 AM
    have some minor injuries,so chair exercises are the way to go for me right now.Thanks! - 5/12/2013   7:59:40 PM
    I don't do chair exercise like that. Maybe I will get into them. Thanks. - 4/30/2013   9:46:06 AM
    try this link for a description of the pillow squeeze
    www.prevention.com/leg-exercises - 4/16/2013   11:23:39 AM
    I tried to go to the Pillow Squeeze page but the link was no longer active. - 3/25/2013   6:08:46 AM
  • 45
    To Sugarplum and anyone else interested:
    Sit and Be Fit comes on directv at 3:00 p.m. Great workout for all!
    - 3/11/2013   2:52:45 PM
  • 44
    Thank you-great help! - 2/12/2013   4:49:50 PM
  • 43
    I clicked on "modified pushups" and got something completely unrelated. - 7/2/2012   5:05:19 PM
    I did chair exercising a lot. It really helps plus it doesn't let you get bored! I hope more innovative exercises are introduced so that we can also have fun while working out! :) Again I'd recommend you to log on to Mobile Media City through google and check out their amazing apps for weight problems, diet plans, workouts, yoga, food recipes, baby names, baby care, and apart from these they have some on education too. Must visit. I won't ever stop myself from recommending good stuff, which has personally helped me. It's such a pity that the website is underrated. - 7/22/2011   9:17:06 AM
  • 41
    I do chair exercising alot, I downloaded to my computer via realplayer, sites like Paul Eugene- cardio
    CTV- Rosemary Conley TV =strength and cardio
    Strong Seniors Anne Burnell's blog(SparkPeople) strength and cardio

    I also use many of the chair exercises lilke the seated resistance band workout from SparkPeople. I have also purchased Chair Dancing DVD's from Chair Dancing International, they also have other seated exercise dvds to choose from.
    I have flat feet and arthritis in my knees, hips, feet and hands so standing is not an option anymore. Hope I helped some people with ideas. - 4/20/2011   5:46:10 PM
  • 40
    Always looking for exercises to sneak in at work. These just might work. Thanks! - 4/17/2011   12:17:14 AM
  • 39
    These chair excercises were a great way for my mother in law to heal after surgery. She started off slow and built her way up with her therapist. She is 83. Go Pat! - 3/27/2011   12:27:04 AM
  • 38
    On the educational channel in Spokane, WA there was a great show called "Sit and Be Fit". It was geared to slightly older people and those with arthritis but it was a decent work out. Some of the shows are available on DVD. I don't live in Spokane any more so I don't know if it is still on. - 3/26/2011   7:32:56 PM
    Nice exercises. - 3/26/2011   12:19:24 PM
  • 36
    My favourite is Coach Nicole 20 min resistance band workout. - 3/23/2011   9:57:43 AM
    I wish as a quadriplegic I could do some of these in bed. - 3/23/2011   1:00:13 AM
  • 34
    For me, chair exercises are those exercises I can't do at times as standing up.
    So, Nora-L, just pick and choose. Some of the exercises are really not for chairbound people. But I'm sure we can all find something within this set of exercises that will work for ourselves. And/or we can find some alterations that will let an exercise work with us.
    I have found a lot of interesting options in this article and the links.

    - 3/22/2011   7:16:06 PM
  • HRSZ37
    I just joined a gym..I wish I would have seen this post earlier!! - 3/22/2011   5:48:41 PM
  • 32
    I have back and knee problems from being overly sedentary (hey, the body's not meant to sit in a chair 60-70 hours a week!) and my physical therapist has me alternate floor exercises with chair exercises throughout the workday.

    I sit in my chair and slouch, then make my spine overly erect, then slouch again. Rinse and repeat 10 times every two hours or so. Really helps to stretch our your back and prevent soreness, which will make you more likely to "work out" at the end of the day!

    ...And I also keep a soccer ball under my desk to squeeze between my knees to build up strength there. - 3/22/2011   9:11:26 AM
  • 31
    I have vertigo and movement is impossible right now but these chair exercises are perfect. I don't have to go days without doing ANYTHING!!! YYAAA!!! - 3/22/2011   8:16:18 AM
  • 30
    Thanks for the exercise, I have done a few chair exercises before. I should get back to them. - 3/21/2011   1:18:35 PM
  • 29
    The ones at the Prevention web site the two times I have tried to get to them the are unavailable. - 3/20/2011   8:06:13 AM
    I do some of these already and now I have some new ones to try.
    Thanks - 3/17/2011   2:29:43 PM
  • MISSRO007
    I'm so happy to have foumd these moves! Now this is something that motivates me! I'm gonna do them too! - 3/16/2011   9:49:43 PM
  • 25
    Thank you for all the great exercises. I can't wait to try them out! - 3/16/2011   8:20:10 PM
  • 24
    I've never done chair exercises, but since I'm a mess with arthritis, I should start. Thanks for all of the good examples. - 3/16/2011   6:54:41 PM
  • 23
    At one time I needed chair exercises to do as a disabled person and keep hoping SP will provide some for those who can't walk or perhaps stand. These are great, but some kind of chair cardio routine and ST for those who can't stand would be great. - 3/16/2011   6:49:13 PM
  • 22
    I really like this one! - 3/16/2011   3:25:53 PM
  • NICOLE0233
    I usually do Chair Dips do work my Triceps and Shoulders. - 3/16/2011   1:22:37 PM
  • 20
    I liked your comment, “The body does not know the difference between lifting a one pound can of beans or a dumbbell”. I had this epiphany when I was doing walking exercises in front of my television and had doubts that what I was doing was actually exercise even though I was breaking a sweat. It came to me “Hey, my feet don’t know if I’m walking through a beautiful park or watching Oprah!”
    Work with what you have handy.
    - 3/16/2011   11:10:17 AM
  • 19
    I have a knee injury so everything that's non-weight bearing helps. Thanks! - 3/16/2011   10:43:42 AM
  • 18
    I found several exercises I want to add to my chair workout! Thanks:) - 3/16/2011   9:42:18 AM
  • 17
    Going to try these! - 3/16/2011   9:20:58 AM
  • 16
    Thank you!
    Does anyone know how to add these to my tracker?
    - 3/16/2011   8:52:01 AM
  • 15
    Thanks to the diabetes challenge i do Coach nicoles 20 minute chair workout with RESISTANCE Bands I love it and have the muscles to see results. I am buying new bands as a reward for myself. Pat in Maine. - 3/16/2011   8:31:24 AM
  • 14
    Well, that was a tad disappointing. I was excited because I thought this was about seated exercises for the disabled. Ah well. - 3/16/2011   7:57:25 AM
  • 13
    I do a silver sneakers class at the Y that is 99% done in a chair, it is a real workout - 3/16/2011   5:11:16 AM
  • 12
    Never thought to use towel, Thanks for showing us how to use one. - 3/16/2011   4:38:57 AM
  • 11
    I've done various tricep exercises using a chair. It works we'll, & I can really isolate the muscles. - 3/16/2011   2:02:17 AM
  • 10
    I like these i cn do them while im on the computer! :) - 3/15/2011   10:57:30 PM
  • 9
    I will try some of these exercises right now. - 3/15/2011   9:11:42 PM

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