Leg Exercises With Chair For Developed Lower Body

On this list, I’m going to show you some excellent chair exercises for your legs. People are willing to underestimate the benefits of chair-based practices, but they are powerful bodyweight moves to strengthen the entire lower body.

What will you learn here?

  • List of strength exercises, how to do them, and what they target.
  • How to workout with a chair.
  • Sample workouts.
  • Other at-home training tips.

Training tips

  • Use a chair that has no arms so that you have enough room.
  • Always use a chair that is stable to avoid following. It’s better to pick a heavy one with an extended basement.
  • To enjoy the benefits and avoid injuries, always do the movements with the correct form.
  • Get the full range of motion (ROM) for particular moves. For example, if you do squats, go as deep as you can.
  • For squat-like exercises, the previously mentioned ROM depends on the height of the chair. If you are a beginner, get a taller chair, so the range of motion will be shorter, but the moves will be easier to do. As you get better, choose shorter furniture to lengthen the action.
  • When you create your workout, pick more leg exercises that strengthen your entire lower body.
  • Try to perform the movements as continuously as possible. Don’t “rest” long at the bottom, or the top.

Exercise Guides

#1 Chair squat

The bodyweight squat is among the most beneficial activities to strengthen all the leg muscle groups. It's a safe and natural move. However, total beginners or seniors may find it hard to complete a full bodyweight squat. With the help of the chair, we can shorten the range of motion, so it's going to be safer and more comfortable.

  • Stand in front of the chair with a shoulder-width apart.
  • You can hold your arms in front of you, or place them behind your head.
  • Slowly with aligned back, lower your bottom until they slightly touch the chair.
  • Pause for a moment, and with the power of your thighs, push yourself back to the starting position.

Note: With different stances, you can target various parts of your legs. Narrow position works outer thigh while wide stance the inner thighs.

#2 Jackknife squat

Jackknife squat

If you can do numerous chair squats, the next step is to increase the range of motion. This exercise is close to the full bodyweight squat, but with a bit of help since you hold a portion of your upper body weight.

  • Face forward the chair, bend forward and put your hands on the seat with arms straight. Keep your back straight.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width.
  • Bend your knees and squat until your buttocks almost touch the ground.
  • Stop for a second and press yourself back without momentum.

#3 One leg chair squat

The pistol squat is among the most thought bodyweight leg drills. With the help of the elevated surface, we can perform a half squat, which is a beneficial progressive move.

  • Stand at the chair with a narrower stand. This way, it's going to be easier to keep your balance.
  • Lift one of your legs and straighten it.
  • With aligned back, lower yourself until your butt barely touches the chair.
  • With the power of your leg, push yourself back to the start.

#4 Bulgarian Split Squat

The split squat is an effective single limb move to gain the power of your legs and core.

  • Stand with hip-stance. Keep you back straight and shoulders backward.
  • Install one of your feet on the chair behind you. You can lay the top of your foot or the ball of your foot. Try, which helps you to keep your balance better.
  • If you feel an imbalance, modify your front feet. After some practice, you will know the proper stance.
  • Lower your leading legs until your thighs get parallel to the floor. Your rare leg gives some help, but try to use your front limb.
  • Stop for a moment.
  • Push yourself back.
  • After the required repetitions, change your feet.

#5 Seated Leg extensions

Extensions target the top of the thighs, and quite easy to perform. So, you may want to use ankle weights after some time.

  • Sit with a straight back and your feet on the floor.
  • Lift both of your legs until they're straight. Keep your hams on the seat.
  • Hold them for a moment.
  • Lower your legs without touching the floor.
  • Repeat.

#6 Step Up

Be careful with this exercise. It requires solid furniture.

  • Stand in front of the chair with a somewhat narrow stance.
  • With one foot, step on the seat. Your thigh is parallel to the ground. If it's necessary, modify your position.
  • With the power of your leading leg with a controlled technique and without momentum, push yourself up.
  • At the top, when both of the feet on the seat, stop for a moment.
  • Slowly step back to the floor to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

#7 Side Step Up

This is a bit harder step-up variation that strengthens the outer thighs well.

  • Stand next to the chair and plant your foot on the seat. Your thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your posture aligned.
  • Without the help of your opposite leg, push yourself up until your working leg is fully stretched. Your non-working leg is in the air.
  • Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

#8 Seated calf raise

The number of chair exercises we can do for calf muscles is limited. But, here are a few ideas.

The easiest variation is when you simply sit on the chair with aligned posture and raise both of your calves as high as you can. To add additional resistance, put one of your legs on the other and do single leg seated calf raises. You can do these leg exercises while sitting at your desk. The most effective versions are when you stand.

#9 Bridge

The bridge is an excellent exercise to strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, spine muscles. The traditional flour bridge is itself perfect, but by placing our feet on something elevated, we can turn it to be more challenging and leg focused.

  • Lie on the floor and set your heels on the seat. Your thighs are right-angled to the floor. Your arms are next to you.
  • Lift your hips until your torso is straight. If you do it right, you will feel the contraction in your glutes, hamstring, and lower back. Stop for a moment.
  • Slowly lower your hips until your bottom barely touches the floor.
  • Repeat.

Chair workout for leg strength

The number of activities, reps, and sets depending on your fitness level, weight, etc. so it’s hard to suggest a program that fits for all. The best is if you try these chair exercises so you will know how many reps and sets you can do.

Let’s say you are a beginner with an average weight so that you can handle your body weight quite well. I’d do the following.

  • Chair squat: 3×20
  • Jackknife squat: 3×10
  • Extensions: 3×20
  • Bridge: 3×10
  • Seated calf raise: 3×20

And here is an example for someone familiar with bodyweight training.

  • Jackknife: 4×25
  • Pistol squat: 3×max
  • Bulgarian split squat:×4×15
  • Bridge: 4×15

To sum up

It’s interesting to see how useful a piece of furniture can be for lower body training. These chair strength exercises for legs at work or home are effective moves to develop all your lower body muscles. Try, and you’ll feel how effective they are.

Written by Imre

Imre has been working out for over 20 years. He likes all sorts of strength training and boxing. Since he's a busy father he works out only at home.