You Can Do This Full-Body Workout With Just a Chair

When you can't make it to the gym, don't fret — your chair workout is here! With these eight exercises, you can work out from the comfort of your home, hotel room, office or local park. You don't even have to buy an expensive set of DVDs or purchase bulky fitness equipment.

To get an effective full-body workout, all you need is a chair and your body weight.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com

Grab a chair (or bench or step or anything else similar in height and stability) and get ready for a full-body workout you can do almost anywhere. You have two options: Run through all these exercises as laid out below (meaning you'll do all three sets before moving on to the next exercise) or doing one set of each exercise before repeating the circuit three times.

Say goodbye to those excuses not to work out — and get ready to sweat!

Move 1: Triceps Dips

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do triceps dips with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. Sit on a chair with your butt and hands on the edge of the seat and your fingertips facing the front of the chair.
  2. Extend your legs in front of you with your heels on the floor. Scoot your butt off the chair so you can almost touch your butt to your fingertips.
  3. Lower your body so your butt almost touches the floor and your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Keep your body tight as you push into the chair and press your body up to the starting position.

Reps: three sets of 10 reps

Read more: 8 of the Best Exercises to Tone Your Triceps

Move 2: Incline or Decline Push-Ups

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do incline push-ups with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. For incline push-ups (a slightly easier variation), place your hands on a chair (make sure the chair is stable or against a wall for stability) with your feet behind you. For decline push-ups (the more advanced option), start with your fee on the chair and hands on the floor.
  2. Hold your body stable in a high plank position.
  3. Squeeze your elbows into your sides as you lower your body down until your chest touches the chair or nears the floor.
  4. Keep your body in a straight line and push up into the top of your plank.

Reps: three sets of 10 reps

Move 3: Bulgarian Split Squats

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do Bulgarian split squats with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. Begin by stepping a few feet in front of the chair. Keep your right foot on the ground and place your left foot behind you with the top of your left foot resting on the seat of the chair.
  2. Lower straight down, ensuring that your right knee stays behind your right toe. Lower down as far as possible into a lunge.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and drive up to the top.

Reps: four sets of 12 reps

Tip

For a more advanced version, hold a dumbbell in each hand or a medicine ball or kettlebell at the center of your chest.

Read more: Why Bulgarian Split Squats Are Better for Your Butt Than Lunges

Move 4: Seated Abdominal Pull-Ins

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do seated abdominal pull-ins with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. Sit on your chair and hold onto the sides for support. Raise your legs up to hip height and tuck your knees into your body.
  2. Straighten and extend your legs in front of you and bring them back into your chest with your knees bent.
  3. Repeat this exercise in a fluid motion.

Reps: three sets of 15 reps

Move 5: Step-Ups

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do step-ups with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. Place your right foot on top of the chair and squeeze your glutes as you step up onto the chair, driving your left knee into the air.
  2. Make sure to keep your left hip in line with your right hip.
  3. Lower down with control and switch sides.

Reps: three sets of six reps on each leg

Tip

To make this move harder, hold a dumbbell in each hand at your shoulders or hanging down by your sides.

Move 6: Incline Plank With Knee Cross

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do an incline plank with knee cross with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. Place your forearms on the seat of the chair with your feet out behind you (you're in a plank now).
  2. With a solid core and tight glutes, drive your left knee up toward your right armpit.
  3. Hold for two counts and lower down.
  4. Switch to the opposite side, driving your right knee toward your left armpit and lower down.

Reps: three sets of six reps on each leg

Read more: The One Plank Variation Your Ab Workout Has Been Missing

Move 7: Side Plank Pulses

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do side plank pulses with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. Place your right forearm on the seat of the chair.
  2. Extend your legs out to the side and stack your left foot on top of your right foot, keeping both legs straight.
  3. Slightly dip your right hip toward the ground, and then bring it back to the start.

Reps: three sets of 12 pulses on each side

Tip

Similar to a traditional plank, the side plank on the chair breaks up your abdominal routine by adding an alternative angle to the way your muscles are firing.

Move 8: Toe Taps

Follow this demonstration to learn how to do toe taps with a chair.
Image Credit: Collette Stohler/LIVESTRONG.com
  1. Face the seat of the chair with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place one foot on top of the seat and quickly switch feet so that the other foot is on top of the chair.
  3. Repeat this movement as quickly as possible so that you're alternating legs and tapping your foot on top of the seat of the chair.

Reps: three sets of eight reps on each leg (16 total, alternating legs)

Tip

Finish off your workout with this calorie-torching cardio drill.

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