Need a solid workout with minimal equipment? All you need is a chair! Chair workouts are great for students: They can be done in cramped living spaces, they don’t require additional equipment, and they get your blood flowing between study sessions. For this routine, you’ll want to use a stable chair (without wheels), such as a dining or folding chair.
First, let’s start with a warm-up. Repeat the warm-up exercises for three rounds each. This should take a total of three minutes to complete.
1. High Knees (20 seconds)
In a standing position, jog in place while bringing your knees up to hip height. As a low-impact option, step instead of jog.
2. Jumping Jacks (20 seconds)
Starting in a standing position, jump your feet apart. At the same time, keep your arms straight and bring them to the side and then overhead. Jump back to your starting position, bringing your hands back down to your sides. As a low-impact option, step your feet out one at a time, alternating sides while keeping them in rhythm with your arms.
3. Squat (20 seconds)
Start with your feet approximately hip-width distance apart. Push your hips back behind you and lower down, as if sitting into a chair. Once your upper thighs are parallel with the ground, return to your standing position and repeat. For a low-impact option, don’t go quite as low into the squat.
From there, move into the exercises. Try to complete two to four rounds of each exercise, repeating them in the order they are listed. Move through the round with as little rest time as possible to keep your heart rate up. Take recovery time in between each round of exercises as needed.
1. Plank (10–60+ seconds)
Place your forearms on the chair and keep your shoulders directly over your elbows. Try not to bend at your hips, but create a straight line from your heels up to your shoulders and keep your core engaged. Hold this position 10–60+ seconds, or until you start losing your form. To make this exercise easier, perform in a high plank position with arms extended. To make this exercise more challenging, alternate lifting one leg at a time while keeping your hips level and avoiding any rotation.
2. Squat (10–15 repetitions)
Stand in front of the chair with feet hip-width distance apart. Slowly sit back, like sitting into the chair, but once you lightly tap the chair, return back to a standing position. Repeat for 10–15 repetitions. To make this exercise easier, sit all the way down into the chair before standing. To make this exercise more challenging, perform a single-leg sit to stand.
3. Elevated push-up (10–15 repetitions)
Place hands on the top or sides of the chair seat. Hands should be in line with your mid-chest, and you should have a straight line from your heels to hips to shoulders. There should be no bend or droop in the hips. Slowly lower your whole body down until your chest hovers over the chair. Press back up and return to your starting position. Repeat for 10–15 repetitions. To make this exercise easier, perform this on your knees. To make it more challenging, perform on a single leg, alternating sides with each push-up, or with feet on the chair for a decline push-up.
4. Seated leg raises (10–15 repetitions)
Sit on the edge of the chair and lean back as far as you can without resting your back on the chair. Keep your back straight and feel your core engage. Raise both legs out in front of you. Lower them down toward the floor, then back up to your starting position. Repeat for 10–15 repetitions. To make this exercise easier, place one foot on the floor and raise one leg at a time.
5. Elevated glute bridges (10–15 repetitions)
Lie on your back with your heels elevated and resting on the edge of the chair. Toes, knees, and hips should be in line with each other. Slowly press down into your heels, lifting your hips off the floor. At the top position, you should have a straight line from your shoulder to your hips to your knees. Lower back down at a controlled pace. Repeat for 10–15 repetitions. To make this exercise more challenging, perform with one leg at a time, still keeping hips level the entire time.