Eight Chair Exercises

Chair exercises allow anyone to work out. Elderly, wheelchair-bound, and those with spinal injuries can all benefit from exercising while sitting.

Chair workouts create a whole new world for those whose exercise routines have been previously limited by wheelchairs, balance issues, spinal injury or old age. While a chair may eliminate most standing exercise options, chair motion choices are endless. Here are eight excellent exercises that will work the entire body from a sitting position: three are for the lower body, three are for the arms, and two will work the upper back.

You can use dumbbells or exercise bands to increase intensity, but if you are a beginner you should spend the first few sessions using only your own limbs and focusing on form. While these exercises do not load the hip joint, and will therefore not osteoporosis directly at the hip, they load other joints and will improve overall density as you grow stronger.

Start with 10 to 12 of each exercise. Go through all eight exercises and then repeat one or two more times according to your personal stamina. Adding more repetitions or moving more fluidly from exercise to exercise may result in decent cardiovascular benefits as well.

1. Sitting Leg Extension: Raise one leg at a time, straight out in front. Focus on flexing all the muscles in the front of the upper thigh. Exhale on the way up; inhale on the way down. To increase intensity, use an ankle weight.

2. Leg Curl: This is one of several chair exercise options that utilizes the chair from either a sitting or standing position. To work the back of the thigh, scoot toward the front of the seat. Alternately pull each foot back under the chair, curling under and flexing the hamstrings. If it is possible to stand, you may hold the chair's back for balance while lifting one leg at a time toward your bottom.

3. Kegels & Inner Thighs: Start with your feet and knees together. Open and shut your knees. Pause for a moment when your knees are together to focus on drawing the flex up into your pelvic floor muscles. Not only should you consciously contract your thigh muscles but also the muscles that control urine flow. Click this for more info about doing kegels correctly.

4. Reverse Fly: Lean slightly forward and slowly "fly" your arms down toward the floor and back up, squeezing the shoulder blades together as if trying to squish a banana between the scapulae. Work from the shoulder joint, keeping the elbows frozen but not locked. The more you are able to bend forward toward the knees, the more the upper back will respond. Remember to look up; don't look down because wherever you head goes, your spine will follow suit.

5. Seated Row: Sitting up straight, reach toward your knees and then pull your elbows back. Inhale as your arms are in that 45-degree angle, nice and straight, and exhale as your arms come back and the elbows bend. Imagine squishing that ripe banana again.

6. Shoulder Press: Also known as a military press, start your hands near the shoulders, palms forward. Raise the arms until they are straight above, hands high. If you have shoulder impingement or general pain with lifting, don't raise your hands directly over your head. Instead raise to a 120-degree angle with your torso.

7. Triceps Kick-back: Lift your elbows up behind your body, staring with your fists near your ribs. Freeze your elbows in place and lift your hands to behind you, concentrating on the back of your upper arm. Use muscle, not momentum.

8. Biceps Curl: Allow your arms to hang down, and then curl each arm at the elbow so that your hand lifts toward your shoulder. Squeeze the muscles in the front of the upper arms as hard as possible. The hand does not need to touch the shoulder. Focus on the flex versus the fling.

Exercising in a chair is the perfect workout solution for many limited individuals. This simple series of exercises can be adapted.Play around with pulsing at the top, lowering slowly, alternating or doing both limbs together, and holding the flexes. Here is a link to some good stretches.


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