The At-Home Total-Body Chair Workout

This customizable workout builds up muscle strength and flexibility.

Photo via iStock.

The options for keeping our cardio workouts fresh and engaging are numerous, but sometimes we can get into ruts where strength training is concerned. Routines beyond free weights at the gym do exist, so we asked trainer Turiya Newsome, from the newest BodySmith Studio in Logan Circle, to share her favorite 20-minute at-home workout for those days you want to mix it up. She focuses on muscle strength, endurance, and stretching to improve flexibility. All you’ll need is a chair.

How to Perform the Workout

Warmup: To loosen the muscles, warmup for five to ten minutes. Newsome suggests stairs (walking or running), jumping jacks, marching in place, and cross-toe reaches to target the specific muscles you’ll be using in her workout.

Workout: Two to three sets of eight to ten reps for each exercise.

Chair squats: Perform squats in front of your chair and tap your butt on the chair before standing up again.“Keep your weight in your heels to avoid letting your knees extend over your toes,” says Newsome.

Chair dips: Push your chair against the wall and do chair dips to work your triceps and abs.

Standing hip extension: Holding the back of the chair for balance, target your hips and lower back with standing hip extensions. With your feet hip-distance apart, shift the weight to your right
foot, and extend the left leg behind you, then lift and lower your left foot, squeezing
your hamstrings and glutes.

Wall sits: 15- to 30-second intervals of wall sits for a total of two minutes.

Butterfly crunches: Perform crunches with the soles of your feet pressed together in a butterfly position.

Oblique crunches: With your hands behind your head, perform crunches by bringing your right elbow to
meet your left knee. Bring the left elbow to meet the right knee.

Glute bridges: Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor and hip-distance apart. Engage your abs
as you slowly lift your hips off the floor, pressing through your heels.

Cool down: Stretch.

How to Cater the Workout to You

If chair squats are too challenging, try placing your chair by a table and resting your hands on the table. Or, if you want to give yourself an extra push during the chair dips, straighten your legs. You can also increase or decrease the number of reps/sets you perform during the workout.

The Verdict

“This is a fun and challenging in-home workout that targets glutes, hamstrings, triceps, abs, hips, lower back, inner thighs, obliques, chest, and shoulders,” says Newsome.

She recommends completing the routine two to three times a week, with 24 hours of rest in between each workout.

We liked the simplicity of this workout, and the fact that it could be easily completed in less time than it takes to watch our favorite How I Met Your Mother episode. Plus the variety of ways to perform each exercise allows you to customize the workout to your personal comfort level.