10 chair exercises to strengthen legs


Chair exercises are great for your lower body. You can be seated or use a chair as a support to workout. Here are some chair exercises to strengthen your legs.

Working from a desk is quite common, but it should not be an excuse for a lack of time for exercise. Even if you are seated, you can work your lower body. You can always grab a chair and start working out. Chair exercises can focus on the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, and help to make your legs strong. Let us tell you some of the best chair exercises for strengthening your legs.

What are chair exercises?

Workouts that can be done while seated in a chair are called chair exercises. Their emphasis is on strength, flexibility and endurance, says bodybuilder and fitness trainer Chitharesh Natesan.

What are the best chair exercises to strengthen legs?

Chair exercises aren’t just for beginners. Exercises using chairs can be helpful for people of any age, even though they are beginner-friendly. Those who are healing from injuries, have restricted mobility or are looking for a low-impact exercise will find them especially helpful, says the expert.

Woman doing chair exercise
You can exercise by using a chair. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some of the exercises for legs:

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1. Seated leg lifts

• Sit upright in your chair.
• Straighten one or both your legs and hold it for a few seconds.
• Lower the leg or legs without letting them touch the floor.

2. Chair squats

• Stand in front of the chair with feet shoulder-width apart.
• Lower your body down like you do while sitting then stand back up.

3. Seated marching

• Sit with your feet flat on the ground.
• Lift one knee toward the chest and then lower.
• Repeat with the other leg.

4. Calf raises

While seated, lift your heels off the ground, raising onto your toes then lower back down.

5. Seated side leg lifts

• Sit right on the edge of your chair.
• Lift one leg to the side, then lower.
• Repeat on the other side.

6. Chair lunges

• Stand facing the chair.
• Take a step back with one foot and lower into a lunge, then return to the starting position.

7. Chair step-ups

• Keep one foot on the seat of your chair.
• Step up onto the chair and then back down.

8. Seated bicycle crunches

• Sit on the chair with hands behind your head.
• Bring one knee toward the opposite elbow, alternating sides.

9. Seated leg circles

Extend one leg and make small circles with your foot in one direction, then the other.

10. Seated heel taps

• Sit down with your feet flat on the floor.
• Lift one foot and tap the heel on the ground, then switch to the other foot.

These workouts focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, among other leg muscular groups. They contribute to increased muscle flexibility, endurance and strength. Frequent practice helps to improve stability, mobility, or overall lower body function, says Natesan.

Woman doing chair exercise
Maintain a good posture while doing chair exercises. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

The chair exercises seem to be easy, but there are some dos and don’ts to be followed:


• Maintain a good posture throughout the chair exercises.
• Engage your core for stability.
• Perform a warm-up before starting chair exercises.
• Begin with a comfortable number of repetitions then increase it gradually.
• Listen to your body and modify the chair exercises as needed.


• Avoid slouching or leaning excessively.
• Don’t use momentum; focus on controlled movements.
• If you experience pain, stop doing the chair exercise.
• Don’t hold your breath; remember to breathe consistently.

Whether you are working from home or office, all you need is a chair to do these exercises.


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