An Upper Body Workout From the Comfort of Your Chair

If you use a walker, wheelchair or have difficultly standing upright for prolonged periods of time, exercising can seem challenging. Luckily, you can work all the important muscle groups from the comfort of your chair. This article is one in a series of total-body, bodyweight moves. This article will focus specifically on the upper body. If the following movements feel easy, increase the level of difficulty by incorporating light free weights. 

Chest Flies

  • Sit tall and take a deep breath in to relax your shoulders.
  • Elevate your arms in front of the body at shoulder height. Take a deep breath and open the arms as if you're preparing to give a big hug. Squeeze the shoulder blades together, holding for 2-3 counts then relax. Repeat 5 times.

Chest Press

  • Take a deep breath and remain tall in your seat with shoulders back and the chest up.
  • Gentle clasp your hands together in front of your chest so the elbows and forearms are parallel with the floor. Gently squeeze your hands together to tighten the pectoral muscles. Hold this clenched position for 5 seconds then release. Repeat 5 times.

Shoulder Press

  • Continue to sit tall and elevate the arms so the elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle.
  • Push the arms up overhead, lightly straightening at the elbows. Hold for 1-2 counts then return back down to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Trunk Rotations

  • Keep the shoulders back and clasp the hands behind the head. If you can't comfortably reach behind your head, lightly touch the finger tips to your ears.
  • The goal of this move is to rotate only your trunk, not your hips. In order to successfully do this, image your hips are planted in the seat and cannot move. Carefully rotate your head, neck and torso to the right. Hold for 1-2 counts then return to the starting stance. Repeat the same movement on the left side. Continue this back-and-forth sequence for 10-12 repetitions.