Workout Plans > The Chair Exercises You Can do Sitting Down
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The Chair Exercises You Can do Sitting Down

6th Aug 19


When it comes to exercising, sitting down might not be the first thing that comes to mind. What many people don’t realise, though, is how much more you may be able to do with the added support that a chair has to offer you. It can make the impossible seem possible, as well as providing a safe and secure way to make sure you can get in that all-important exercise from the comfort of your own home. Sometimes, that’s just what the doctor ordered, and chair exercises can be just the thing.

We’re here to talk you through some of our favourite chair-based exercises in one chair workout so that you can really make the most of what you’ve got. No matter where you are in your exercise, or in life, these exercises start with easier and lower impact exercises for those with lower mobility, medical issues or perhaps just difficulties exercising and spans right the way through to some more strength-based exercises for more advanced exercisers or people who progress from the earlier moves.

Let’s get started!


The first of our chair exercises to get you started nicely is marches. They’re a great way to get things started gently and get the blood pumping, while still getting your heart rate up little by little. That’s vital for your blood pressure and your cardiovascular health in general, as well as helping improve lung function. One leg at a time, and as high as you can comfortably go, lift each leg before lowering again. Make sure you don’t slam your feet down too quickly. The slower you go at first, the better the muscle contraction. Build up speed as you go on.

Leg lifts

Woman exercising on a chair

Keeping with lower body chair exercises first of all, next up we have leg lifts. This one is completely up to you and what you find comfortable to exercise. The general idea is to raise your legs at the same time until they are pointing straight out in front of you, or higher if you can hack it! You can choose to do it either straight-legged or bent at the knee. Try both and see what fits your preferences best.

Calf raises

Moving on from that, we have calf raises. You can do these one of two ways, depending on what suits you best. The first way is to stay seated, and just raising your feet so that you are on your tiptoes and then back down again. It’s great for all of the muscles and joints below the knee, and even your ankles will see the benefit from this one. If it’s not doing much for you, try adding some weight to the exercise. Light weight equipment like dumbbells are a good idea at first, but if they aren’t around, even try a large book or whatever else you can find.


People doing shoulder presses

You can do this one with both arms at the same time or alternating depending on what’s most comfortable for you. Your shoulders are a great muscle group to keep active for the best mobility, so don’t forget about them. (try some shoulder stretches to get you ready if need be). Put your arms out by your sides again, but with a bend at the elbow so your hands/knuckles point upwards. From there, push one or both arms straight up until your arm is straight. Slowly bring them back down until you get back to the right angle and repeat. Do it for as long as you need to, depending on your own chair workout.


It’s important not to forget about working your core, and twists are a great way to do it! The best way to do it is to put your hands behind your head and rotate your body 45-90 degrees to each side. Keep it slow and steady again to make sure everything is safe and in control. Your core strength is always good to build, helping to improve your balance and your overall strength, in and out of your exercise!


Woman doing dumbbell flyes

Not forgetting about your upper body, there are more chair exercises you can do to help areas like you back, chest shoulders and arms too! The first one here is flyes. You need to hold your arms pointing outwards at your sides, like a T position. When ready, bring your arms together while keeping them straight until they meet in front of you. Keep things slow and steady to get the most from it, and you’ll see the benefits in no time!


Now, this one is probably the most difficult to do at the best of times, but it’s one of the most functional and the best way to keep everything in check. Repeatedly standing up and sitting down again is a great way to keep everything in working order. Your body weight as a whole is something that isn’t always utilised, so you doing these helps build strength in your whole lower body.

So those are our chair exercises in a nutshell! They’re all effective for different things, and you can do them all on a daily basis. They’re a great way to keep everything in check and make sure you’re as fit as you can be. The advised amount of exercise is 150 minutes per week, so try and aim for that, even using these as a key part of it.


Take a look at our limited mobility exercises for some more ideas too. dumbbells



Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.