8 Combo Chair Exercises

To build full body strength in older adults and seniors

Do you teach chair-based exercise in your group fitness classes for older adults and need ideas? Or you're looking to start a new fitness career with older adults but not sure what to do? Well, we are here to help!

Chair-based exercise is fantastic on so many levels (if you want a few reasons why, check out Trudi's Top 10 reasons why we love chair-based exercise). If you're looking for ideas and new challenges for your class, we've got eight combination exercises here that challenge the arms, the legs, and definitely the brain, for a full body workout.

These exercises are just the start of what you will learn in our Chair-Based Exercise for Older Adults online course. We've got over 300 exercises for you there, as well as example workouts, handouts, demonstrations, reasons why older adults love chair-based exercise, and all the benefits that chair-based exercise brings. It's not just for the weak and frail - a high intensity seated cardio workout is a killer on the legs and definitely not for the faint hearted! Why not check out our online course today and kick start, or reinvigorate, your fitness career teaching chair-based exercise!

If you want to see these exercises in action, scroll down to see Trudi and Carol demonstrate each exercise and show you how you can teach it to your class.

Starting position: Sitting in neutral, arms reaching straight overhead.

Movement: Circle one arm forward and other back, rotating torso to side. Lift knee as arms come back together overhead.

Technique: Keep arms straight throughout.


Starting position: Sitting in neutral, hands on shoulders.

Movement: Extend one leg forward and reach to touch toes with opposite hand.

Technique: Avoid sinking chest, keep back straight.

Variation: Reach and touch knee of lifted bent leg.


Starting position: Sitting in neutral, arms crossed with hands on outside of knees.

Movement: Press hands in together as knees push out.

Technique: Brace abdominal muscles, keep shoulders back.


Starting position: Sitting in neutral, elbows bent and hands up at shoulder level.

Movement: Extend and circle arms forward and down, leaning upper body forward. When sitting up, kick one leg forward. Circle arms again and kick other leg.

Technique: Engage abdominal muscles when leaning forward, sit up straight when kicking leg.
Looking for the whole 300 exercises?

Sign up to our Chair-Based Exercise for Older Adults online course and get the exercises all together! There is so much you can do with a chair! For strength, cardio, flexibility, mobility and core - we give you all the exercises you need to teach a great class every time!
Chair-based exercise for Older Adults online course

Starting position: Sitting in neutral, hands together with straight arms overhead.

Movement: Extend one leg forward while crunching abdominals, curling back, and reaching hands forward towards toes. Return leg down and arms overhead, then crunch and lift other leg.

Technique: Sit up tall between leg raises. Keep shoulders down and back.

Variation: Bring down one arm at a time towards foot.


Starting position: Sitting in neutral, arms held straight forward.

Movement: Raise one arm straight overhead and lift the opposite knee. Return to starting position and repeat with other arm and leg.

Technique: Keep body up tall and abdominal muscles engaged.


Starting position: Sitting in neutral, clasp hands together and hold straight overhead.

Movement: Lift knee, turn shoulders and twist torso, bringing hands down on same side as knee that is lifting. Return knee down and arms overhead. Repeat other side.

Technique: Engage abdominal muscles, keep shoulders down.

Variation: Lean back on knee lifts.


Starting position: Sitting in neutral, both arms straight forward.

Movement: Extend one leg forward, and take same arm out to side and behind body, turning shoulders to side. Return to starting position and repeat other side.

Technique: Engage abdominals as leg lifts up, keep shoulders down during rotation. Aim for full rotation and arms 180° apart.

8 Combo Chair Exercises Demonstrated

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