Sit Down to Tone Up!
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Injured? Stuck at the office? You don't have to give up on your workout. In fact, you don't even have to leave your desk! These sneaky seated moves offer a total-body cardio and strength workout. Not convinced? Give it a try! Your burning muscles will be your proof.
How it works: Do 1 set of each exercise back to back, with little to no rest in between moves. Do the full circuit 1 to 3 times total, depending on your schedule, or spread it throughout the day (1 round in the morning, 1 round at lunch, and 1 round in the afternoon) for an instant, calorie-burning energy boost.
You'll need: A sturdy chair (no wheels and a sturdy back).
Sneaky Buns and Guns
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You wouldn't know simply by looking at it, but this small-range-of-motion exercise is great for firing up the inner thighs, glutes, and triceps. Plus, it's easy to do at your desk!
How to do it: Start on the edge of the chair, knees bent and together with feet flat on the floor, hands just outside of hips, and elbows slightly bent. Squeeze knees and "cheeks" together tightly while pushing down with hands, extending elbows (you'll sit taller, but you should never leave your seat). Release. Do 30 quick reps in a row.
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Jumping jacks are great for cardio—but they can be tough to do in the middle of the work day or with a lower-body injury. This seated variation is just enough to spike your heart rate and burn calories without leaving you drenched in sweat.
How to do it: Sit tall with knees bent and together, feet pointed with toes lightly touching the floor, elbows bent and arms open to sides with palms facing forward. Quickly open legs out to sides, flexing feet, landing on heels, and extending arms overhead. Return to start. Do 30 quick reps in a row (the faster your tempo, the harder you'll work).
Leg Lift and Twist
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Reps: 20 per side
Target and tone your quadriceps, inner thighs, and abs with this Pilates-inspired seated strengthener.
How to do it: Sitting tall on edge of chair, extend right leg out straight with foot on the floor, arms crossed over chest. Brace abs in tight and rotate torso to the right as right leg lifts to left knee, squeezing knees together. Return to start. (Try timing your breathing for better abs activation too—focus on exhaling during the twist and lift, and inhale as you return to start). Do 20 reps, and then repeat on opposite side.
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This low-impact version of a side skater blasts calories while engaging the core, inner thighs, arms, and shoulders.
How to do it: From the edge of your chair, bend right knee out to the side, extending left leg out straight to the side, toes pointed. Extend arms straight and lean forward slightly, reaching left arm to inside of right foot, raising right arm up behind body, twisting through torso. Quickly switch sides. Repeat as quickly as you can for 30 alternating reps.
Hinge and Cross
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Strengthen your back and abs—all while keeping your lower body engaged—with this toning move.
How to do it: Sit tall with knees bent and together (focus on squeezing inner thighs together for more muscular activation), toes pointed, hands behind head. Brace abs in tight and hinge back until just shoulder blades are lightly touching the back of the chair. Bring body forward, crossing right elbow to the outside of left knee. Return to start. Repeat for 20 alternating reps.
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"Run" from your chair and you'll not only get a nice cardio boost, you'll also engage your abs, arms, and legs (plus, this may be the safest way to run in heels!).
How to do it: Sit with legs extended, toes pointed, arms bent by sides. Brace abs in tight and hinge back until just shoulder blades are lightly touching the back of the chair, lifting legs low in front of you. Bend left knee into chest, turning right shoulder in towards knee, pulling left elbow slightly back, then quickly switch sides. Repeat as quickly as you can for 30 alternating reps.