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8 Amazing Chair Exercises to Firm Up Anywhere

A vacation can clear your mind but take a toll on your body—who wants to hit the hotel gym when there’s a lounge chair calling your name? To help you stay fit when you’re away from your everyday routine, LA–based trainer Mike Donavnik designed this do-anywhere plans that firm nearly every muscle. His secret weapons: a chair and a wall. “They can increase your range of motion, change your angle, or boost your stability so you can do a tougher 
version of a move,” he says. It all adds up to a bigger challenge, so get ready to feel the burn. But don’t worry—you’ll be done in less than 15 minutes, leaving you plenty of time to chill.

How it works: Do 1 set of each move in either routine in order; repeat the circuit twice more. To increase the intensity, jump rope or jog in place for 1 minute between each exercise.

Total Time: up to 15 minutes

You will need: Chair

1. Side-Lunge Pulse

A.

Stand with inside of right foot on a chair and left foot on the floor beside it, about 2 feet away; legs extended. Clasp hands in front of chest. Bend left knee, pushing hips back.

B.

Rise up as you lift right leg to hip height, then pulse it down and up twice. Return to starting position and repeat. Do 15 reps, then switch sides to complete set.

Sets:

2

Reps:

15

2. Push-Up Hydrant

A.

Get in plank position with hands shoulder-width apart on a chair, and raise left leg to hip height behind you. Bend elbows straight back, lowering chest toward the chair, as you bring left knee toward left elbow.

B.

Push up and extend left leg to return to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10

Mistakes and Tips:

If your butt is fried after the first set of these push-ups, keep both feet on the floor for the next one.

3. T-Stand Drive

A.

Stand an arm’s length away from a chair. Bend forward, place left hand on the chair, and extend left leg to hip height behind you; bend right elbow and hold right hand in front of shoulder.

B.

Rise up as you lift left knee to hip height in front of you and rotate torso left, bringing palms toward each other in front of chest. Return to starting position and repeat.

Sets:

1

Reps:

15

4. Dip and Crunch

A.

Sit on a chair with knees bent and feet on the floor; place hands on edge beside hips with fingers pointing forward. Scoot butt forward so it’s just in front of the chair and lift toes. Bend elbows straight back, lowering butt toward the floor.

B.

Extend arms as you bring right knee toward chest. Lower right foot to starting position; repeat, this time lifting left knee.

Sets:

1

Reps:

20

5. Wall-Sit Shift

A.

Stand with your back against a wall, and take a big step forward with each foot. Extend arms overhead and bend knees 90 degrees, moving feet forward or back if necessary so knees are over ankles.

B.

Shift weight to left leg as you extend right leg at hip height in front of you, and lower left arm to shoulder level. Tap right foot next to left as you raise left arm to starting position and immediately repeat.

Sets:

2

Reps:

12

6. Single-Arm Push-Up

A.

Stand a few feet away from the corner of two walls. Lean forward and place left hand on the wall, heels slightly lifted. Put right hand behind back, palm facing away from you.

B.

Bend left elbow. Push up to starting position and repeat.


Sets:

2

Reps:

12

Mistakes and Tips:

A corner gives you a bigger range of motion; if you don’t have one in your room, just don’t bend your elbow as much.

7. Wall Split Squat

A.

Stand with your back against a wall and take a big step forward with left foot. Shift weight to left leg, press bottom of right foot against the wall, and bend elbows, bringing left arm forward and right arm back.

B.

Bend left knee as you switch arm positions. Return to starting position and repeat.

Sets:

15

Reps:

2

8. Plank Push

A.

Get in plank position an arm’s length away from a wall with feet wider than shoulders. Raise left arm to shoulder height in front of you and press hand against wall. Hold for 20 seconds; then switch sides to complete set.

Sets:

2

Reps:

1

Mistakes and Tips:

To increase the challenge, bring your feet closer together or raise your opposite leg (lift your right leg and your left arm) to hip height behind you.

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