4 Exercises to do at Home with Only a Chair and your Staircase

woman exercising on a chair

Some of us can’t make it to the gym for exercises because of last-minute commitments, a snowy weather or perhaps because of one in a million excuses we tell ourselves to stay home and watch Netflix. Many of us, because of the coronavirus pandemic, have completely forgotten what it’s like to set a foot outside – let alone at the gym. 

If you fall in either category, exercising and staying fit couldn’t get any easier with our 4 ways to keep fit, without leaving the comfort of your home. So, let’s get grinding with these fun, family friendly workouts.

Thigh Stretch

Before working out, it is important to stretch your muscles and warm up your body to avoid potential injuries. Starting from the feet and working your way up, thigh/quad stretches are a good method to get your bottom half warmed up.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Standing upright with your feet side-by-side, place a chair with the backrest in front of you.
  2. Placing your right hand on the backrest, for stability, bend your left knee and pull the ankle with your left hand, towards your back. Your right leg must remain straight.
  3. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  4. Return to standing position.
  5. Repeat the exercise 3 times, alternating between each leg.

Split Squat

Split squats help build overall strength, one leg at a time. This means your body works unilaterally and these types of exercises can be used to fix imbalances between left and right-side muscle groups. In addition, it helps you develop balance and coordination, starting with the quadriceps and up to the abdominals. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand in upright position, feet hip-distance apart, with your back facing a stable chair or sturdy stool or bench, approximately an arm’s length away.
  2. Your back should be kept straight, your hips facing forward and your core engaged at all times, throughout this exercise.
  3. Picking your right foot first, place it on the chair behind you, with either the top of your foot or the ball of your foot and your toes lying on the chair (whichever feels more comfortable for you). Your left leg should remain straight.
  4. Transferring your body weight to your left leg, bend your left knee and lower your body downward, until your left knee aligns with your left toes. If you find yourself losing balance, you may consider shifting your front foot slightly forward.
  5. Gently push upward with your left quad and glute to regain your starting position.
  6. Repeat this exercise 15 times, before alternating to the other foot.

Chair Triceps Dip

The triceps dip is designed to work on your arm, chest and shoulder strength. If you haven’t got a chair, this can be done using a stable low-elevation surface, such as your bed frame, coffee table or a bench.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find a stable chair, bench, step or suitable alternative.
  2. Sitting on the edge of the chair, extend your legs forward, feet roughly hip-distance apart. Grip the front edges of the chair, adjacent to your hips. Maintain a straight back.
  3. Lift your body by pressing into your palms, transferring the weight onto the chair, and shift slightly forward until your behind is cleared off the edges of the chair. Your arms and your back should remain straight, and your thighs parallel to the ground.
  4. Lower your body towards the floor, by bending your elbows at about 90-degree angles. Your body weight should be transferred to your arms and not your legs. 
  5. Engaging your triceps, gently push yourself back up to the starting position.
  6. We’d recommend starting with 10 repetitions!

Stairs Climbing

Not every home is created equal. If you have the benefit of having stairs at home, this workout will come in handy. If not, don’t fret, as you can still get this exercise done with a slight tweak. It promotes an all-round engagement of muscles and improves cardiovascular endurance, much like the StairMaster machine at the gym.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. If you’ve got stairs at home, jump to Step 2. If you haven’t got stairs at home, we’d recommend finding a solid box with a flat surface, roughly 15 to 20cm in height, on which you can comfortably stand. (Note: the box should lean against a wall, to prevent it from moving)
  2. Throughout this exercise, it is important to maintain a solid core, control your breathing and to keep your arms and legs engaged.
  3. To start with, climb up and down the stairs for 1 minute at moderately slow pace. If you’re using a box, simulate going up the stairs, by placing your right foot on the box, followed by your left foot. And bringing them down, one foot at a time – repeat these steps.
  4. To increase the difficulty, you can increase the pace at which you climb up and down the stairs. If you’re using a box, you can begin by placing your right foot on the box while your left foot remains on the floor, before simultaneously switching and placing your left foot on the box and your right foot on the floor. You can switch at a faster pace to increase your heart rate.
  5. For further effects on your quads and core muscles, you can choose to add weights as you climb the stairs. You may use ankle weights, carry light dumbbells or alternatively, you may carry a sports backpack with light weights added inside.

Conclusion

Whilst we’ve highlighted four ways to stay fit when staying at home, there are countless other methods to getting in shape and staying healthy, with or without equipment. If you’re just beginning to work out again, after a period of idleness, we’d recommend following your own pace, not aiming to over push yourself – as this can lead to serious injuries. Above all, working out at home should be fun and is a great time to bond with family. So, stretch, breathe and enjoy the grind!

 

 

 

 

 

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