11 Quick Chair Exercises That Work as Well as Going to the Gym | Working Mother

11 Quick Chair Exercises That Work as Well as Going to the Gym

Save yourself the trip—or costly gym membership—by trying these workouts from the comfort of your own home.

When you started the journey into motherhood, you didn’t realize just how busy life was going to get. These days, carving out some “me time” is almost impossible, let alone making it to the gym.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can get in better shape without spending too much time working out, we’ve got some solutions for you. You can do this training program anytime and anywhere, even in your office. All you need is a stable chair or a bench. It works your entire body in as little as 10 minutes. Just follow the instructions below and take a 10-second rest between the exercises.

1. Arm Circles

Sit on the chair with your back straight, legs bent at the knees 90 degrees and feet planted on the floor. Touch your shoulders with your fingers, and without moving any other parts of your body, roll your arms backward continuously in a circular motion. Make 40 arm circles dynamically.

Arm Circles

Arm Circles

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

2. Bent Over With Arm Lift

Sit on the edge of the chair and lean forward while keeping your lower back naturally arched. Your palms should be facing each other. Raise your arms straight out to your side. Pause and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 25 times.

Bent Over with Arm Lift

Bent Over with Arm Lift

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

3. Triceps Dip

Put your hands to the edge of the chair, shoulder-width apart. Slide your bottom off the chair and hold yourself up with arms straight. While keeping your back close to the chair, slowly bend at the elbows and go as low as you can. Return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 20 times.

Triceps dip

Triceps Dip

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

4. Chair Plank

Place your forearms on the chair, hands touching each other. Extend your legs with your toes on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles. Make sure that you maintain a straight line from your head to toe without lifting or sinking your hips. Hold the position for 45 seconds.

Chair plank

Chair Plank

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

5. Seated Hip Thrust

Sit on the edge of the chair, with legs bent at the knees 90 degrees and toes touching the floor. Hold the chair or the armrest with your hands for support. Lean back about 45 degrees—or as much as the chair allows. Pull your legs towards your chest. Extend your legs straight out in the air. Pull your legs back again towards your chest, then drop your feet without them touching the floor. Repeat the exercise 20 times.

Seated hip thrust

Seated Hip Thrust

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

6. Russian Twist

Sit on the edge of the chair, lift your legs, bend your legs at the knees and lean slightly back without rounding your spine. Bend your arms so your elbows are level with the bottom of your ribcage. Pull your navel in and twist slowly to the left. Inhale and twist to the right. Repeat the exercise dynamically 30 times on each side.

Russian twist

Russian Twist

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

7. Leg Lift

Sit on the edge of the chair, with legs bent at the knees 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Hold the chair or the armrest with your hands for support. Lean back, keeping your spine straight. Lift both legs up toward your chest, keeping your legs bent at the knees. Then lower your legs to the floor. Repeat the exercise 30 times.

leg lift

Leg Lift

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

8. Quick Feet

Sit on the chair with your back straight. Bend your legs at the knees and “run" on the spot with short, quick steps as fast as you can for 45 seconds.

Quick feet

Quick Feet

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

9. Chair Squat

Stand in front of the chair with your legs shoulder-width apart. Squat down like you are sitting on the chair but without actually touching it. Maintain a proper position: back straight, knees above the feet, weight on the heels. Keep your hands together, arms bent at the elbows. Straighten your legs to go back to the starting position. Repeat the movement 20 times.

Chair squat

Chair Squat

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

10. Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand in front of the chair. Put your left foot on the chair behind you. Bend your right leg at the knee until the left knee almost touches the floor. Keep your back straight, arms on the hips. Straighten your right leg and go back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 20 times, then change legs and put your right foot on the chair behind you. Repeat the exercise 20 times on this side as well.

Bulgarian split squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

Courtesy of Nora Szanto

11. Squat Calf Raise

Stand behind the chair, lightly touching the backrest with your hands. Put your weight on your toes and lower your hips so that your legs are bent at the knees around 90 degrees. Stand on your tiptoes as high as possible without changing the position of your hips or knees and hold it for one second. Lower your heels, then go back to your tiptoes. Repeat the exercise 25 times.

Squat calf raise

Squat Calf Raise

Courtesy of Nora Szanto


Nora Szanto, mother of two, is the founder of the Busy Moms' Fitness & Recipes app, which is an accessible, simple and easy way for mothers to fit a workout and healthy recipes into their hectic days. Shape your body and track your transformation right from your cell phone in just 10 minutes a day.

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