Many people think it is important to get to the gym in order to obtain good health or strong muscles, but it is not true at all.
You can emulated lots of gym exercises at home using the most basic things, for example, you can use a leather couch to do back hyperextension, bed for box jump and etc.
In this article, we will be discussing various chair exercises you can do at home or anywhere else. Of course, some of these exercises will require other equipment, such as, dumbbells and resistance band.
We will be dividing this article, into several sections for each muscle and as chair is a very versatile tool for muscle building we will be covering almost all the muscles.
Chair exercises for Triceps
Dip exercise is probably one of the best way to train your triceps, but most of the people don’t have the strength to go to a dip bar right away.
Such people and people training at home can use a chair to perform dips. It might not be the same effect, but it will make your triceps muscles strong.
How to do dips on a chair:
- The distance between your hands totally depends on your comfort. Try different hand position and choose the one which gives maximum stretch to the triceps.
- The distance of your feet from the chair will decide the difficulty level of the exercises.
- Keep your upper body straight while going up and down.
- Ideal depth is the one, when your upper arm is parallel to the ground.
- Don’t go too low if you have shoulder problems.
After doing dips on a single chair for sometime, you can move to double chair dips. In this, your feet should be off the ground (on a chair).
The advantage of doing dips using two chairs is that it allows you to add weights. If you have plates at home then you use them or dumbbells will also do.
Triceps extension allows you to train the long head of the triceps. There are two ways with which you can do triceps extension: single arm and double arm.
Single arm extension is probably the more complicated and difficult one. But, it is useful when you are working out at home and don’t have heavy weights.
How to do single-arm triceps extension:
- Put the dumbbell behind your head with one arm.
- Make sure that your elbow is pointing to the ceiling.
- You can use the other hand to support the elbow.
- Slowly bring the dumbbells up while breathing in.
- While going down try to give a stretch on the triceps.
Double arm overhead triceps extension:
There are few things you must keep in mind. Firstly, always try to point the elbows to the ceiling, keep them as perpendicular as you can.
While going down you must give stretch to both the triceps and while coming up squeeze the muscle, but don’t lock the elbows, especially when you are using heavy weights.
Triceps kickback is a good exercise for your arms, but most of the people do it incorrectly or in a least efficient manner.
For example, many people lean a little bit while doing this exercise. This interferes with the range of motion.
The correct way to do a triceps kickback is by bending forward so much that your upper arm becomes parallel to the ground.
Why is this important? When you start with that position, your entire range of motion is against the gravity, which creates lots of tension on your triceps.
Plus, being in that position helps you squeeze better at the end. A chair is the best tool you can have to do triceps kick backs.
Your knee should be on the seat and your hand should be on the top rail. Many people like to do both arms at the single time.
It creates a problem as you are not able to focus on each muscle properly, and you tend to get over with it as soon as possible, which is not the right way.
Body triceps press using chair
You might have seen people doing triceps press on a barbell sitting on a smith machine, but assuming you don’t have access to smith machine, a chair will also do.
Although, it trains the entire arm a little bit, but its main focus is on the triceps. To make the chair stable make sure to keep it against the wall.
With such exercises it is easy to get injured, so it is better to go slow and use a chair which you can grip better.
How to do triceps press properly:
- Start with the push up position with your hands at the two ends of chair.
- Slowly lower your body down until a point when your head touches your seat. Breathing out.
- At that point you should feel a good stretch in your triceps, if you don’t, change the hand position.
- Using only your triceps, lift your body up which breathing in.
It is equivalent to skull crushers, but in this we are using the body weight as the load. Make sure to keep your body straight, like a wooden plank, It will put more tension in the muscles.
Seated bent-over two arm kick back
We have previously discussed how we can do single arm kickbacks using chairs, but many people prefer to two both arms at the same time.
For those people this exercises is perfect and time saving. In fact, doing two arms together means increase in heart rate and quicker exhaustion of muscles.
How to do seated bent-over two arm kickback:
- Sit on the chair with dumbbells on your side.
- Bend till your chest touches your knees.
- Lift your elbows in such a way that your upper arms is parallel to the floor.
- Push the dumbbells back while breathing in.
- While the dumbbells come back breath out.
Chair exercises for legs
Bulgarian Split Squat
It is a nice exercise to train your legs when you are at home. All you need is a chair and dumbbells(optional). This is specially useful when you don’t have heavy dumbbells.
As all the load of your body is directed towards only one leg, even light weighted dumbbells are enough for an intense workout.
How to do Bulgarian split squat properly:
- Keep your body straight while going up and down for maximum gains.
- Keep your front foot far enough, so that while going down your front knee doesn’t cross the toe.
- While pushing your body up from a squat position use only the heel part of the front foot.
- Don’t curve your shoulders.
This movement is usually used as an auxiliary exercise. Auxiliary exercise are also known as assistance exercises and they are usually preceded by a compound movement.
It helps you train almost the entire lower body. From your hamstring to the glutes, each and everything gets covered.
Leg extension with resistance band
Leg extension exercises is kind of an isolated exercise for your quads. You can do this using a dumbbells also, but resistance band is neater.
You have to tie one end of the resistance band on the front leg of the chair and the end on your leg. All you have to do is perform the extension movement.
You can do two legs at the single time, but there are problems with it. Firstly, you have to get an extra resistance band and secondly focusing on one leg is better.
As this is not a leg extension machine, doing leg extension properly takes much focus. Make sure to give the quadriceps a nice squeeze.
While going back, you don’t have to take you leg back to the staring point(bottom). Instead, go down only half the way as it will maintain tension in your muscles.
Seated calve raise with dumbbells
Although, seated calve raises doesn’t target any different muscles than the standing calve raises, but it is generally a good idea to target a muscle from different angles.
Now, like standing dumbbells calve raise you can change the direction of your toes to get the maximum effect. For example, you can do it in three ways.
First, keep you toes parallel to each other, than pointing towards each other, and then pointing away. Initially, you can start without the weights too.
If you have no dumbbells or very light weight dumbbells you can use your hands as a load. Press your knees down with your hands while trying to push your calves up.
Dumbbell step up
It looks quite a simple exercise, and yet it is very good if you want to build strong legs. And yes, it also required proper form and stance.
You need to keep your body straight and your core engaged for the maximum gain. Make sure that your are not slouching.
Many people like using barbell for this exercise, but that can cause your shoulders to curve forward. Plus, keeping dumbbell at the sides is much comfortable.
If you are doing this on a chair make sure to use a chair with relatively low height and do it on a floor which is not slippery, or do it on a carpet.
To balance the stress between the two legs, alternate between them. You can do one leg at a time, but that while exhaust you and your even set will always be less energetic that the previous odd set.
Seated band hamstring curl
For this exercise you would need a resistance band and a place where you can tie it. You sit on the chair with one end of the resistance band on your leg and another on the leg of the sofa or a table or anything heavy.
You can do one leg at a time or both legs simultaneously. Doing both legs together means you’ll have less resistance of each leg, making this exercise less efficient.
Secondly, you have you raise your knees a little bit, like about 2-3 inch for being able to do the perfect leg curl.
More the distance between the two end of the band the difficult it will become because there will be more tension in the string. Make sure that both your chair and the other object is steady at one place.
Chair exercises for back
You might have seen people doning superman pose in your gym or on video. It is exactly like it sounds, you have lie on the floor while stretching your legs and arms out.
But, doing this on a chair takes it to a whole new level because the more portion of your body is off the ground the difficult it becomes.
While doing it on the floor you tend to place your body on the ground, but on a chair, there is no option for that.
It is an amazing exercise for your back and core. It is basically a Yoga pose, so apart from physical benefits it also has mental benefits.
Always make sure to stretch your arms as far as you can and curve your back in a way so that maximum portion of your body is off the ground.
Single arm dumbbell row
Dumbbell row is one of the best upper back exercise, when you do it properly. The problem with most of the people is that they don’t do it correctly.
Most of the people keep too much distance between their hand and knee(on a bench). While doing it on a chair you have no option, but to keep them close.
This gives your body an incline stance, doing dumbbell row this way helps to engage your lats and other upper body muscles properly.
You must also make sure to check whether the right muscles are being used. If you are just going through the motion it won’t be beneficial.
Barbell roll out
This again is a good exercise for your core. If you have curved back then you should definitely do this exercise. Most of the people doing this with their feet on the floor.
Which is alright on its own, but if you want to take it to the next level, a bench/chair is what you need. You need to keep your feet at an elevated position.
When you roll out from there, your entire core goes under tremendous stress, so if you have a back problem, you must try to avoid it.
If you workout at home and you don’t want to spend a good amount of money on barbells, then you can buy an ab wheel. It does the same job. Even better.
Remember to keep your knees a little short from the end of the chair, if you go till the extreme, it will become difficult to pull your body back.
No, this is not a salutation, instead this is an exercise which mainly targets your lower back and hamstrings. But, it is a complicated one.
Actually, it is a combination of Romanian deadlift and bending I guess. Because you are pushing your butt backward while bending forward till your upper body is horizontal to floor.
But, this makes it a hams-back exercise, and if you only want to target your back(lower), then you need a chair and a resistance band or a barbell.
How to do good mornings on a chair:
- Sit on the chair with straight back.
- Put the barbell on the trap muscles.
- Start bending forward slowly putting all the stress on the lower back.
- Go down as deep as you can, till you are able to control the weight.
- Now, slowly come back to the beginning position using only the lower back muscles.
Chair exercise for shoulder
Shoulder press is an exercise for your front and middle deltoids.
Many people like to do it standing, but it takes some part of the attention away from the muscles you are targeting.
When you are sitting down comfortably with your back being supported by the chair, it becomes more easy to concentrate on squeezing and stretching of the deltoids.
Secondly, to get extra squeeze many people tend to go to back, which can cause rotator cuff problem.
You should keep your elbow aligned with your hip and not the shoulders.
You should not go all the way up or touch the dumbbells as it takes the pressure away from the shoulders and brings triceps into picture.
Lateral shoulder raise
Lateral shoulder raise is a very common exercise for the middle deltoids, but it can cause serious damaged to your shoulder if not done properly.
Many trainers will tell you to internally rotate the dumbbells, so that your pinky finger is above your thumb. This actually helps to target middle delts properly, but it can lead to injuries.
It is better to keep your wrist in a supinated position, it might not allow you to work on mid-delts properly, but it is surely better than getting injured.
Or, you can just bend a little forward, this will place your mid-delts in the line of the force and this is totally risk free.
Secondly, do this exercise with bend elbows. You might have to use heavy dumbbells to have the same effect. It is the simple concept of lever.
Rear delt flys
Rear delt fly is one of the very few exercises that really targets your rear delts and for a well rounded shoulder you need to work on all the 3 delts.
It can’t be considered as a simple exercise, a slight deviation from the proper technique can divert the tension from the rear delts.
There are a few things that you can keep in mind to do this properly. Firstly, use a light weight dumbbells because your rear delts aren’t used to of picking heavy.
Using heavy weights will bring the other muscles in picture. Plus, when you are raising the dumbbells up keep your chest as close to the knees as possible.
We have a tendency to lift our chest up to give us the momentum, which is not desired if your want maximum gains.
Bent over dumbbell rear delt raise with head on bench
That is one heck of a name for an exercise and it says it all. Why is it better than the normal rear delt flys? Probably, because it allows your head to stay static.
So that you can’t use the momentum of your body to complete the reps. You got to keep your head at the same place and without moving any other body part just use your rear delt flys to lift the weights.
As I have said before, using heavy weights will bring more stronger and often used muscles into the picture.
To get the maximum gain, you need to hold the dumbbells at the top contracted position for sometime and come down slowly without any jerks.
Don’t forget to arch your back or bend your knees. Bending knees and arching back will make your body more stable, so that you can concentrate on the targeted muscles properly.
Chair exercises for biceps
Concentration curl is one of the best exercise for your biceps, which targets both of your short and long head of the biceps, but only if you do it probably.
To do it properly you have to keep two things in mind, go to the bottom and squeeze at the top. If you are not going to the bottom, then you are not training your long head properly.
Don’t open the elbow fully, as it can create the risk of injuring it. This specially holds true when you are using very heavy dumbbells.
To put on mass, you need medium to heavy weights and the rep count should be around 10-12 reps. But, if you are going for strength do no more than 8 sets with very heavy weights.
One-arm incline preacher curl
It can be considered a kind of concentration curl, but in this you are using chair to stabilise your arms. You need two chair for this exercise.
One chair/table/stool is for you to sit and the other will act as a preacher bench. Sit on a chair with the other chair’s back facing you.
Tilt the chair, so that it is sort of incline to you and mimic the preacher bench.
Chair exercises for abs
Seated leg pull in
Seated leg pull in is a good beginner exercise for your lower abs. If you have’t done any lower ab exercises before, then instead of jumping directly to leg raises you can start with this one.
In this all you have to do is sit at the end of the chair with your legs stretched in front and pull your legs close to your body and make sure to squeeze at the end.
The significance of sitting at the edge of the chair is that you don’t get any support for your thighs, which creates lots of tension on the leg muscles.
While doing leg pull in you have to remember two things. Firstly, you have to keep the abs under tension for longest possible time.
When your legs are stretched in front of you and it is creating tension in your lower abdomen, you should hold it there for few seconds.
Secondly, you have to squeeze your abs to get maximum gains. You must keep in mind the more difficult to make it the better results you will get.
Crunch with legs elevated
There is a huge difference between a normal crunch and a crunch in which legs are elevated. When your legs are elevated your abs are pushed from bottom.
When you crunch in that position, you get a very nice squeeze in your abdomen muscles. But, only if you do it properly.
Just lifting the leg about ground is not enough, until you are getting a nice squeeze from in the lower part of abs.
When you keep your feet on the ground, make sure that your butts are close to the leg of the chair, that way you’ll get a nice squeeze.
Lot of people keep the heels at the edge and their hips are at a distance from the legs of the chair. That way you are getting no additional benefit at all.