This 5-Minute Workout Can Be Completed From Your Chair

Try this quick routine during a work break or in front of the TV.

You’re reading Move, the nudge we need to get active, however makes us happiest and healthiest.

We all know regular exercise is good for our body and mind, but feeling short of time can hold many of us back.

The good news is that a regular workout of just five minutes can make a difference – and once you get moving, you might even be tempted to try a longer stint.

Personal trainer Dom Thorpe has created a quick, full-body session to get you started. The entire routine can be completed from a chair, meaning you can easily incorporate it into your day, whether you’re having a quick break from work or you’re watching TV.

“Use the following seated exercises to give yourself a full-body workout, which can be done using a wheelchair, office chair or any other chair you can find,” Thorpe explains.

“If you don’t have dumbbells to hand, use cans of food (0.5kg each) or bottles of water (1litre = 1kg) which you can adjust accordingly to your needs.

“Perform in a circuit format, carrying out each exercise for 30 seconds before moving onto the next. After completing all exercises, repeat the circuit one more time.”

Seated Ab Crunch

Dom Thorpe

Stomach and hip flexors (works the rectus abdominus and iliopsoas)

  • Perch your bottom on the edge of the chair and lean back into the chair to support your upper body.

  • With the hands gripped firmly on the sides of the chair, raise both knees towards the chest and slowly return them to the starting position.

  • Perform with one leg at a time if two legs is too challenging.

Seated Back Extension

Dom Thorpe
Dom Thorpe
Dom Thorpe

Works the lower back (erector spinae)

  • In a seated position, stabilise yourself by spreading the legs and putting the feet flat on the floor.

  • With the hands at the temples and the elbows spread wide, gently lower the upper body forwards until you’re parallel to the ground, before returning up to a seated position in a controlled manner.

  • Try to contract the back muscles at the top and push the ribcage forwards.

Seated Overhead Tricep Extension

Dom Thorpe

Works the back of the arms (triceps)

  • Sit well back in your chair with the back fully supported. Hold one or two weights in your hands and start with the arms fully extended above your head.

  • Gently lower the weight behind your head stopping just before you make contact with the back of your neck.

  • Extend in a controlled fashion to return to the starting position.

Seated Single Arm Row

Dom Thorpe
Dom Thorpe
Dom Thorpe

Works arms and back (biceps, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius)

  • Using one elbow for support by resting it on your knee, hold a dumbbell in the other hand and perform a rowing motion in a controlled fashion.

  • Ensure that the elbow is fully extended at the bottom of the row and pull the weight tightly into the ribcage at the top of the movement.

  • Draw the shoulder back and bring the shoulder blades together. Repeat the set with the other arm.

Sit and Press

Dom Thorpe
Dom Thorpe
Dom Thorpe

Works lower body, shoulders and back of the arms (quads, hamstrings, glutes, deltoids and triceps).

If required, simply perform the upper body portion of the movement from a seated position.

  • Sit with your bottom perched on the edge of the chair and your heels directly beneath your shoulders.

  • Using weights, hold them in a comfortable position at around shoulder height with your elbows directly beneath the weights.

  • Push upwards into a standing position with the arms fully extended above your head, ensuring that the lower body movement happens simultaneously to the upper body movement.

  • Perform this movement in reverse to return to the starting position.

Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features encouraging you to add movement into your day – because it’s not just good for the body, but the mind, too. We get it: workouts can be a bit of a slog, but there are ways you can move more without dreading it. Whether you love hikes, bike rides, YouTube workouts or hula hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.