The In-Office Chair Workout

All you need is a basic chair to perform this quick fitness routine.

Using your office chair, you can perform a series of modified or challenging exercises, such as the decline pushup, shown here. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

We all know the dangers of sitting in our office chairs all day, so why not turn that simple piece of furniture into a workout tool? City Fitness trainer Amanda Schmidt has created a set of seven exercises, all performed using a basic chair, that you can fit in on your lunch break or even during a long conference call.

Note: Be extra careful if using a chair with wheels. Lock the wheels if possible, or use a steady chair instead.

How to Perform the Workout

10 to 15 pushups: To perform incline pushups, place your hands on the seat and do a pushup, keeping your core tight and avoiding an arched back. For the more difficult decline pushups, place your feet on the chair and your hands on the floor.

10 pistol squats on each leg: Stand with your back to the chair and extend one leg in front of you. On your standing leg, put your weight on your heel and slowly sit back onto the chair in a controlled manner. Stand up and repeat.

10 to 15 tricep dips: Sit on the edge of the chair, fingers wrapped around the edge of the seat. Lift your hips off the chair and use your arms to dip up and down. Bring your feet closer to the chair for an easier dip, or extend them farther to challenge yourself.

1 minute of knee raises: Stand facing the chair with one foot on the seat. As quickly as you can, run in place lifting your knees high and alternating foot taps on the seat. Build up your endurance and try to sustain the movement for a longer period each time, building up to a full minute.

10 to 15 hammer curls: Grab the back of the chair with one hand on either side. Bend your arms to curl the chair up and down. Keep your core tight, hips tucked in, and spine straight.

10 to 15 chair hip bridges: Lie on your back in front of the chair, place one foot on the seat, and raise the other foot toward the ceiling with a straight leg. Both arms should remain on the floor by your sides. Keep your hips tucked under, navel drawn in, and glutes tight as you lift your hips up off the floor. Pulse up and down on one leg. Switch legs and repeat.

1 minute hollow hold: Sit sideways on the chair with one arm wrapped around the back of the chair. Start with your legs bent and your chest close to your knees. Then lean backward and pick your feet up off the floor. Try to hold the position longer each time, building up to a full minute.

How to Cater the Workout to You

The height of the chair can affect the ease of the workout, so opt for a higher chair to make the workout easier or a lower chair for more of a challenge.

For an even greater challenge, perform these exercises in a circuit, repeating the full list two to three times.

“This facilitates circulation and puts more of a demand on the cardiovascular system,” says Schmidt.

If the feel workout feels daunting now, Schmidt recommends picking a few of the exercises to try when you have some downtime. If you are sitting at the airport, for example, bust out a few tricep dips. Eventually you can work up to a full workout.

The Verdict

“The chair workout can be done in less than 30 minutes and targets all the right spots: chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core,” says Schmidt.

We loved that this workout got us moving around during the day, and we felt more energized after lunch, rather than falling into our usual post-lunch daze.

For more workouts, visit Well+Being’s Fit Check page.