Flexibility isn’t something only some people get to experience. You can absolutely improve your range of motion and ease of life with just a few staple exercises! And guess what? You can do so without even getting down on the floor. All you need for these stretching routines is a chair!
So, whether you’ve been sleeping in funky positions, sitting at a desk for far more hours than you wish, or simply feel tight, crunchy, and stiff, these flexibility exercises are for you.
And they are especially for you if you have always identified as inflexible. This beginner full range flexibility training is accessible to nearly everyone and every age. (Older adult approved!).
Note: This workout routine can be done anytime, but you may have more success and ease if you have already done some kind of physical activity. Perhaps you try these after a walk (or any other warm up for greater results.
#1: Elevated Hamstring Stretch
Gently place the heel of your right leg onto the seat of your chair while standing. Keep your toes and right knee facing the ceiling as you slowly start to hinge forward at your hips.
Your hamstrings (the back of your thigh) are the target here. When you feel a stretch, stay and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds before switching to your left leg.
#2: Elevated Hip Flexor Stretch
If lunges are too intense for you, this elevated hip flexor can give you a good stretch. Gently place the sole of your foot onto the seat of your chair while standing. Lift the heel of the back foot, tuck your hips slightly, and slowly bend both knees until you feel a stretch down the front of your hip.
Your Psoas (your hip flexor) is the focus here. The more you draw your hip bones up towards your ribcage, the deeper the stretch. When you feel a stretch, stay and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.
#3: Standing Quad Stretch
Stand behind your chair with one hand on the back of your chair for balance. With your outside knee bent, catch your foot. Do your best to avoid arching your back, and instead, draw your bent knee in towards your standing leg with your hips neutral.
Your quadriceps (front of thigh) are the focus here. When you feel a stretch, stay and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.
#4: Elevated Downward Dog
Stand behind your chair, facing the back of your chair. Place your hands on the back of your chair, and slowly walk your feet back while sending your hips back. Your body should eventually be in a position that resembles the number “7” or elevated Downward Dog position. Slowly allow your chest to drop down to the ground as you press your hips back.
You may feel this stretch in several places: hamstrings, back, shoulder, lats. When you feel a stretch, stay and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
#5: Seated Glute Stretch
Take a seat on the front edge of your chair so that both feet are firmly planted on the floor. Draw your left foot onto your right knee into a “Figure 4” position. Slowly relax into this position and allow your right knee to drop down towards the floor. You may gently rest your hand onto your inner thigh to assist this. You may also lean forward to deepen the stretch.
Your glutes (outer hip) are the focus here. When you feel a stretch, stay and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds before switching to your right side.
#6: Seated Spinal Twist
Take a seat on the front edge of your chair so that both feet are firmly planted on the floor. While sitting tall, place your left hand onto the outside of your right thigh and twist to the right. Place your right hand onto the back of the chair for more leverage and to help you twist even more.
As you breathe, continue to lengthen your spine and sit tall while twisting further. Stay in twist and breathe deeply for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.
#7: Seated Neck Stretch
Take a seat on the front edge of your chair with feet hip-width and firmly planted on the floor. While sitting tall, drop your right arm down to hold the side of the chair. If this is uncomfortable or not possible with your chair, you may also place your right hand under your hip (sit on your hand). While keeping your shoulders dropped down from your ears, gently drop your left ear down to your left shoulder.
Your neck and top of your shoulder are the focus here. You may stay or gently rest your free hand to the side of the head as the weight of your hand and gravity support a deeper stretch (do not pull down on your head). Stay and breathe deeply for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.
These stretching exercises cover your major muscle groups from head to toe. Remember that you have the power to create more ease in your body with these 7 stretches you can do right from your chair!
You might also be interested in: At-Home Cardio Workouts [That Go Way Beyond The Treadmills]
7 Best Flexibility Exercises For Beginners:
- Elevated Hamstring Stretch
- Elevated Hip Flexor Stretch
- Standing Quad Stretch
- Elevated Downward Dog
- Seated Glute Stretch
- Seated Spinal Twist
- Seated Neck Stretch