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Cardio and Toning Workout Using a Chair

Why Are You Sitting? Do This Calorie-Crushing Chair Workout

Too cold for a run? Gym too pricey? No problem. You can burn major calories at home using a simple sturdy chair. So get off your butt and do this total-body toning and cardio workout. Repeat this 10-minute circuit three times, resting when you need to.

Begin and end with a 5-minute warm-up and cooldown.

Exercise Time
Step-Ups With Knee Kick 1 minute
Tuck Jumps/Tricep Dips With a Bridge Lift 30 seconds each exercise for a total of 1 minute
Sumo Squat Jumps 1 minute
Plank Walks 1 minute
Superman Jumping Jacks/Ab Lift 30 seconds each exercise for a total of 1 minute
One-Legged Seated Squats 30 seconds each side for a total of 1 minute
Balancing Core Kicks 1 minute
Mountain Climbers 1 minute
Step-Up Side Leg Lifts 30 seconds each side for a total of 1 minute
Plow Kicks 1 minute

Keep reading to learn how to do each move.

1. Step-Ups With Knee Kick

  • Stand facing the chair with feet hip-width apart. Step your left foot firmly on the seat and then straighten the leg as you kick your right knee up.
  • Gently return the right foot to the ground and step the left foot back onto the floor.
  • Repeat with the other leg by stepping the right foot onto the seat, straighten the right leg and kick the left knee into the air. Step the left foot back on the floor, and then the right.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete as many reps as you can for one minute.

2. Tuck Jumps/Triceps Dips With a Bridge Lift

  • Rest your palms firmly on the seat of the chair, shoulder distance apart. Lean into your hands and step your feet back a few inches.
  • Pop off the balls of your feet for a small jump and then pop up jumping both knees into the chest, straightening the arms and driving the hips as high as you can over the shoulders. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  • Turn around so your back is facing the chair and place your hands on the edge of the seat.
  • Walk your feet out so your hips are off the chair and your knees are at 90-degree angles.
  • Drop your hips down, bending the elbows behind you, then straighten the arms, and lift the hips as high as you can, squeezing the glutes at the top. Repeat for another 30 seconds.
  • Here's a video demonstrating both moves.

3. Sumo Squat Jumps

  • Stand behind the chair with your feet wider than the hips, toes pointing out. Rest both hands on the back of the chair.
  • Keep holding the chair as you bend the knees out wide, lowering the hips into a sumo squat (aka, wide squat), and then straighten the legs, pushing off the chair and exploding into a jump.
  • Land with the feet in the starting position.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete as many reps as you can for one minute.

4. Plank Walks

  • Begin in plank position with the toes resting on the seat of the chair.
  • Walk your hands back toward the legs of the chair, keeping the legs straight if you can so your body is in an upside down V position, and then walk them back out returning to plank position.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete as many reps as you can for one minute.

5. Superman Jumping Jacks/Ab Lift

  • Rest your belly on the seat on a folded towel and extend your arms and legs straight out.
  • Contract the back side of the body by lifting the arms and legs and arching slightly. Extend your arms and legs wide in the air and then bring your arms and feet together, as if doing a jumping jack.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete as many reps as you can for 30 seconds.
  • Remove the towel and sit on the chair with arms clasping the sides of the seat.
  • Press into the hands, straighten the arms, and bend the knees into the chest, balancing with the hips hovering over the seat.
  • Hold like this for 30 seconds to really work the core.

6. One-Legged Seated Squats

  • Sit on the edge of the chair extending the arms in front of you for balance. Lift the right foot off the floor and extend the right leg in front of you.
  • Press into the left foot to lift the hips off the seat, rising up a few inches, keeping the standing leg slightly bent. Slowly lower the tush back to the chair.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete as many reps as you can on this side for 30 seconds and repeat for another 30 with the left leg lifted.

7. Balancing Core Kicks

  • Sit on the chair, resting your palms on the front edge. Lean your torso back slightly as you lift both legs in the air, bending the knees into the chest.
  • Slowly extend the legs out straight, then draw the knees back in.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete as many reps as you can for one minute.

8. Mountain Climbers

  • Come into plank position with the palms resting on the seat of the chair.
  • Draw the right knee into the chest and as quickly as you can switch legs, hopping the left knee in and jumping the right foot back.
  • Continue like this, running in place in plank position for one minute.
  • Here's a video demonstrating proper technique.

9. Step-Up Side Leg Lifts

  • Stand with the left side of your body facing the chair, hands clasped behind your head, elbows out to the sides. Step your left foot onto the seat.
  • Straighten the left leg to stand on the chair and as you reach the top kick your right leg out to the side.
  • For a little oblique work, draw your right elbow down toward your outer thigh.
  • Release your right foot back to the ground.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete as many reps as you can for 30 seconds and then repeat for 30 more on the other side.

10. Plow Kicks

  • Lie on your back in front of the chair. Scoot yourself close enough so you can rest the soles of your feet on the seat and hold the two front legs of the chair. Rock from side-to-side to bring your shoulder blades together. Press into your feet firmly to bring your hips over your shoulders. This is one way to do a modified version of Shoulderstand.
  • From this position, slowly kick your right foot and then the left, resting the toes on the floor above the head coming into Plow pose position.
  • Then return your right foot back to the chair and then the left.
  • Continue like this for 30 seconds, and then switch so you're leading with the left leg for another 30 seconds.
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