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Surprisingly Effective Chair Workout for Legs and Core (VIDEO)

By Sarah Purcell August 19, 2020 Health and Fitness

I start most of my private clients with 10 minutes of breath awareness. It’s amazing that we breathe automatically. What is not automatic is how our body changes shape to accommodate the pressure and volume change in our torso.

Please watch the video and follow along with me as I guide you through this process. You’ll discover where you easily change shape in your body when you breathe. Through this work, you’ll see how to optimize your breath for exercise. We’ll also explore how your exhale can help you find your reflexive core.

Core and Leg Work in a Chair

Let’s grab your towel and hold it around your knees. You may use a strap as an alternative. We will practice using our arms to create tension in the towel and sit up just a little taller. Can you bend your elbows as you pull on the towel?

Now do a small hip hinge forward. Then return to upright. Remember that a hip hinge is when your entire torso travels as one piece, forward and down. Your spine will not change shape.

Move Your Legs

Using your hands, you can then guide your legs into various movements. For example, your hands can guide your legs into circular motion which involves both your hips and your ankles. With your hands’ assistance, you can move your legs in and out and side to side.

Leg Extension

Flex your right foot, bringing your toes toward your head. Then gently slide your right heel along the floor to straighten your leg. Can you do this without losing your centered posture with equal weight on each sitting bone?

Now exhale, and envision a marble travelling from your pubic bone to your belly button. Does this help you stabilize your pelvis? You can hold the side of the chair to help keep your pelvis centered.

Now do the same thing on your left side. Repeat this exercise six times on each side.

Lunge on a Chair 

To do a lunge while using a chair for support, tuck your tail a bit in order to help you get your pelvis in neutral. Squeeze your glutes a bit and press down through your feet as if you were going to stand or hover off the chair.

This activation is enough to get your muscles working – you do not need to hover unless you are feeling adventurous today!

You’ll come back to this step and do the left side after you do Activation, and Hip Flexion.


Can you reach your hands to the sides of your knees without flexing your spine? If not, try a little hip hinge to help you get to that position. Hold your hands on the outside of your knees. Press your hands into your thighs and your thighs into your hands. This is an isometric hold and is a great way to build strength and stability.

Hip Flexion

Try lifting your knee to touch your hand as your hand comes toward your knee. This strengthens your hip flexors. Alternate tapping your hands to each knee or thigh in turn. Repeat 6 to 8 times on each side.

Lunge on the Left Side

Repeat your lunge, on the left side. Then follow with seated hip hinge, five times.

Final Adventure

Let’s hinge forward and use an exhale with the marble travelling up and behind our belly button and see if we can use our bum as an elevator and hover just a bit off the chair. You can steady yourself with your arms on the chair, but ideally you will follow me in the video and hold your arms out in front of you.

Take a moment at the end to move your arms and legs and come back to notice your breathing.

I hope you enjoyed this lower body work from your chair. If you are interested in standing work, you can join my Facebook Community, Osteoporosis Movement Community, or browse my YouTube Channel.

Have you tried chair movements before? What effect have you noticed on your joints and their range of motion? Have you done any of the exercises in this video? Please share in the comment box below!

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The Author

Sarah Purcell is a mother, wife, yogi, Pilates teacher, business woman, and lifelong learner. Sarah's journey through menopause has guided her to support women across the globe with healthy and empowered aging.

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