You actually dona��t need any gym equipment to effectively work out the whole body. All you need is a chair (or two). See how to use the simple piece of furniture and your own body weight to tone your muscles from top to toes. Here are ten exercises you can do with a chair wherever you are. Check if you ever tried them.

1. Step up & down

Wea��re starting from the bottom a�� therea��s a huge benefit for our calves, quads and hamstrings from this simple movement. Before you start, however, make sure the chair is stable (put it by the wall, for instance). Step on the chair and pull the other knee up. Go back down and step up with the other leg, pull the other knee up.
Switch the legs with each rep. As youa��re putting your foot on the chair, make sure you put your toes first and then the heel. Make the movement dynamic and dona��t forget about proper breathing.

2. Chair single-leg squats

To work out slim thighs and well-toned glutes. Stand with the chair behind you, as if you were to sit on it. Lift one leg straight in knee a few inches off the ground. Slowly sit on the chair, and stand up with the one leg in the air all the time. If you cana��t do that, keep the leg touching the floor straight in knee. Try to spend as little time sitting as possible, just touch the seat and go back up, if possible.

3. Chair hamstring curl

A clever home exercise for slim legs and toned hamstrings. Lie on your back on the floor and put your heels on the seat of a rolling chair. Raise your hips a little, bend your knees while raising the hips and pulling the chair closer to you. Extend the legs back, but dona��t let the hips touch the floor.

4. Seated reverse curls (and hold)

An nice exercise for abs which can be performed literally everywhere, even at work. Sit on the chair, forearms loosely put on the handles, or hands on the seat beside your hips, the back nice and straight. Pull both knees up, legs bent, towards your chest. Hold up for a second (or for some longer time if you want to work on your core endurance). Go back down, but let your toes only touch the floor before you pull back up a�� this way, your abs are toned all the time and they work more effectively.

5. Seated oblique crunches

Basically, the movement is very similar to the seated reverse curls, but as you pull your knees up, pull them towards one side. It helps if you focus on lifting your feet a little in the opposite direction than the knees. You can change sides with each rep, or perform some reps on one side, and then the exact same number of reps on the other side. Keep your back straight and your belly in all the time.

6. Straight arm hip lift

Great for abs, core, and arms at the same time. Sit on the chair, put your hands firmly on the seat of the chair beside your thighs (mind you: not beside the buttocks). Keep arms straight and your knees tight together. Tone the abs to lift the hips off the seat together with lifting the feet off the floor a�� legs bent in knees. Hold on our arms only for a second, and slowly go back down. As you master the movement, you may straighten your legs and try to lift your hips and legs up this way.

7. Chair push-ups

There are several versions of the chair push-up, depending on your level of advancement:

a) Hands on the back of the chair, or on the seat for beginners.

b) Feet on the seat, hands on the ground for those who mastered classic push-ups on the floor.

c) Hands on two chairs for deep chest extension in the down stage for those who want to work harder on their chest, and the 3-chairs version to pull the bar even higher.

Whichever version you choose, make sure the chairs are stable so that youa��re safe while exercising.

8. Tricep dips

Stand with your back to the chair. Put the hands on the seat (fingers directed forward). Put your feet a little bit forward so that the legs are bent in knees, if youa��re a beginner, or straight in knees if you want to put some more pressure on the triceps. Go down as close to the ground as possible by bending your arms. Breathe in going down, breathe out going up.

9. Lat pull-ups

A fantastic clever exercise to tone our upper back without any gym equipment, but two chairs only! Sit on the floor between the two chairs (the seats directed towards you). Put your elbows on the seats, bend your knees, feet on the ground. By tensing your shoulders and upper back, go up so that the hips are lifted off the floor. Hold for a second, go back down and repeat. If the bent-knees version gets to easy, extend the legs.

10. Elevated plank

You can also use a chair to upgrade your planking. Put your legs on the seat to redirect some weight from the legs to the core and the back.

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Remember that…

Many exercises can be done without any special equipment, yet only using things youa��ve got at home. The only aspect you have to care about here is your safety. If youa��re using pieces of furniture to work out on, make sure they wona��t collapse in the middle of an exercise. Be creative when it comes to your workout.

About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of 52Challenges.com. The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.