Seated Full-Body Workout Routine (for all fitness levels)

Seated Lateral Raises

If you can’t get up easily or you’re chair-bound, you can still get a great full-body workout with seated exercises. A chair workout could be for you if you have a lower body injury or if you are simply feeling unstable on your feet. Regardless of the situation, give this seated workout a try and see how simple it is to exercise right from your chair.

Getting Prepared

Not everyone will be able to work their legs. You may have a lower body injury or you may simply be unstable on your feet. If so, just focus on what you can do; for example, do the upper body and core exercises.

And, while you can do this seated workout without weights if necessary, you’ll see much better results if you have access to resistance bands and some light dumbbells.

Always start with a nice warm up before getting started. You can begin with arm circles or by bending your elbows and pumping your arms back and forth like you would if you were running (or any other movement that gets your circulation going). If you opt for something like arm circles, start with your arms straight out to your sides and stretch through your fingertips. Do small forward arm circles, getting progressively larger as you go, finishing off with large forward arm circles. Do ten arms circles in the forward direction and then reverse the movement and do ten in the opposite direction, going from larger circles to smaller ones. Repeat this warm-up three times.

Seated Workout Routine

Seated Upper Body Workout Options

You can work your upper body at home or at the gym with equipment. For our purposes here, we will do a home workout with resistance bands and dumbbells. With the resistance bands, you can always move your hands closer along the band to make the exercise more difficult if you don’t have a thicker band to go to for more tension.

Resistance Band Over and Backs

This is an excellent way to loosen up the shoulder girdle, chest, and forearms. Grasp a lightweight resistance band at each end and fully straighten your arms out to the sides so the band crosses in front of your chest. Without bending your arms, lift them up so the band goes over your head and then back behind you as far as you can go. Feel a great stretch throughout your chest and shoulder areas. Bring the band all the way up and forward again to return to the starting position. Do 20 repetitions.


Seated Upper Body Workout

Using your resistance band, again grasp it at both ends with your arms out to your sides. Now, pull the band apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together to bring your arms back. Hold the squeeze for a count of five and release. Repeat 15 times.

Banded Chest Press

Seated Chest Press

Now, place the resistance band behind your shoulder blades (or the chair) and around the sides of your upper arms while grasping both ends of the band. Your arms should be shoulder height and bent at the elbows. Next, push your fists forward and toward the center of your body in front of you (keeping them straight as you squeeze your chest muscles to bring your hands together). Hold the squeeze for a count of five and release. Repeat 15 times.

Banded Lat Pull

This will require a bit of stability as you will hold the band up over your head with one hand while pulling it down to your side with the other. Start by holding the band in the middle, above your head, with your hands about 12 inches apart. While keeping your left arm straight, bend your right elbow and pull it back toward your shoulder blade. Hold the squeeze for a count of five and then bring your right hand up to meet your left above your head. Repeat the sequence on the left side. Do 10 repetitions for each side.

Dumbbell Triceps Overhead Extension

Seated Dumbbell Kickback

Holding a lightweight dumbbell in your hands, bring your arms straight up so they are next to your ears. Slowly allow your elbows to bend behind your head until you feel a nice stretch in your triceps. Using the triceps, straighten your arms to bring the dumbbell back up to straight overhead and repeat for 10 – 15 repetitions.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Lean slightly forward in your chair with a dumbbell in your right hand, elbow bent so your upper arm is parallel with the floor. Squeeze your triceps muscles to straighten your arm out behind you. Hold the squeeze for a count of 5 and repeat 10 – 15 times. Repeat the sequence on the left side.

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Seated Upper Body Workout

With a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward, bend your arms and bring your hands up next to your ears. This is your starting position. At the same time, push both hands upward over your head until your arms are straight and the dumbbells touch above you. Slowly lower them back to the starting position and repeat for 10 – 15 repetitions.

Side Lateral Raises with Dumbbells

Seated Lateral Raises

This shoulder move works the outside heads of your shoulders. With your arms straight down by your sides, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing the chair. With just a slight bend in the elbow, slowly raise both arms straight out to your sides until they are parallel with the floor and hold this position for a count of five. Control the descent as you move your arms back to the starting position. Repeat 10 – 15 times.

Biceps Curls

Using a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward, bend at the elbows to lift the weight toward your shoulders. Keep your upper arms and wrists in a fixed position and only use your forearms and biceps to move the weight. Squeeze the muscles at the top of the movement for a count of five and then slowly let the weight back down until your arms are straight again. Repeat 10 – 15 times.

Seated Core Workouts

Although many of the movements in this seated workout above will engage your core, you can also specifically work your core while seated with the exercises below.


Put your hands lightly behind your head and be careful to use your abs, not pulling on your head as you do this movement. Lift your thighs slightly off the chair if you can as you contract your abdominals to crunch forward.

Side Crunch

With your hands lightly behind your head, bring your right elbow down to your right side and squeeze as hard as you can for a count of five. Repeat 10 – 15 times on the right and then do the same on the left.

Seated Lower Body Workouts

Leg Lifts

Seated Lower Body Workouts

This will work your quadriceps (fronts of your legs), your hips, and your abdominals. Practice lifting one leg at a time and holding your foot off the ground for a count of five. Return to the start and repeat. Do 10 – 15 repetitions on each side. As you get stronger, try straightening your leg before lifting it and holding the lift longer.

Glute Squeezes

Another great exercise you can do from a seated position is the glute squeeze. Simply squeeze your glute muscles as hard as you can for a count of five and then release. Repeat 20 times.

Banded Leg Extension

This will work the quadriceps (front) muscles of your legs. Wrap a band around both feet so there is enough tension to get a good workout. Keep the left foot on the floor (and on the band) as you raise your right leg off the ground by straightening at the knee. Squeeze the quadriceps muscles in the front of your leg to lift it and hold the squeeze at the top for a count of five. Return to the start and repeat for 10 – 15 repetitions on the right side before moving to the left.

Seated Side Heel Taps

While your legs are banded, instead of unbending your leg at the knee with a forward movement like you did with the leg extension, simply keep your leg bent, pick up your thigh, and move your leg out to the side (while the band is around your ankle). Hold the side position for a count of five and return to the start. Do 10 – 15 repetitions on the right side before repeating the process on the left.