6 super-effective tummy toners you can do with just a chair
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You've worked too hard to let your rock-solid stomach turn soft under your sweater this winter. If you're too busy to make it to the gym, you can still fit in a killer core workout using everyday objects around you—or under you. Try these toning moves that you can do with just a sturdy, high-back chair to maintain your taught tummy all year long!
Incline Hip Twist
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Place hands shoulder-width apart on the seat of your chair and walk your feet back to a plank position, bracing your abs in tight. Use your core to lift your hips up slightly, and then rotate your left hip down to tap the edge of the seat lightly, pivoting on your toes. Lift hips and return to center. Repeat, alternating sides each time, for a total of 20 reps.
Form tip: Keep your abs braced in tight as you lower your hip to the chair’s edge to avoid sagging into your lower back.
Crescent Knee Sweep
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Sit on the edge of your chair, hands outside of hips on the edge of the seat. Press your knees together, bring your legs to the right corner of the chair, and lift your heels. Brace your abs in tight and lift your legs (keeping knees bent and together) and trace a half circle so that your legs land at the left corner of the chair. Repeat, alternating sides each time, for a total of 20 reps.
Form tip: Try not to let your back round as you lift your legs, and focus on pulling your belly button into your spine as you circle your legs back and forth.
Standing Side Crunch
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Stand behind the chair with your left hand on the back, right hand behind your head. Shift your weight into your left leg, tap your right leg out to the side, keeping heel lifted, and lean your torso towards the chair. Bend and lift your right knee up (knee faces forward as you lift) and do a side crunch by pressing your right shoulder down towards your right hip. Hold for 1 count and then return to start. Do 20 reps on the right, then switch sides and repeat.
Form tip: Keep your hand light on the back of the chair for balance only (don’t lean on it!) and keep your elbow open to the side on the crunch to avoid pulling on your neck.
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Stand behind the chair with both hands on the back. Step your feet back and together, bend knees slightly, and lean forward from your hips until your chest is parallel to the floor. Slowly raise your left arm outside of your ear as you rotate your torso to the left. Hold for 1 count and then return to start. Repeat, alternating sides each time, for a total of 20 reps.
Form tip: The key to success with this move is rotating both shoulders (not just lifting your arm and turning your head) as you raise your arm—it should resemble a swimming motion—to activate both your back and abdominal muscles.
Supported Side Plank Crunch
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Bend your left elbow and place it in the center of the chair seat, directly below your shoulder, hand in a fist. Walk your legs out, stacking your shoulders, hips, and feet, until you are in a side plank position with your right hand behind your head. Rotate your right shoulder down to the chair seat and try to tap your right elbow to your left fist (your hips should remain stationary as you twist). Slowly open back up to your plank. Repeat 10 times on both sides.
Form tip: Be sure to maintain a straight line from your heels to your head in your side plank position. If your chair has a very hard seat, you may want to place a towel or pillow under your forearm for more comfort.
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Start seated on the edge of your chair, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Twist to the left and hold for 1 count, then turn even further to the left (go as far as you can) and hold for 1 count before slowly returning to start. That’s one rep. Repeat, alternating sides each time, for a total of 20 reps.
Form tip: Keep your spine as tall as you can during your rotation and exhale as you turn, pulling your abs in tighter and tighter during each twist. Inhale as you return to center.
Photos by: Vanessa Rogers Photography