Chair Fitness?

Author: Shannon Miller

Shannon Miller stretching with chair

Stretching is something we can do just about anywhere, anytime.

Start your day, end your day, or get away from your day with some good stretching.

If you’re looking to mix up your routines a little, though, grab a chair!  And the chair isn’t just for sitting, so don’t get comfortable.

Check out these chair friendly stretches:


Ballet Stretch – I picture myself in a pink leotard and tutu at a ballet studio, music soft in the background, and me warming up for my solo.  There’s just something whimsical about this stretch, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be a ballerina to get something out of it!

  • Stand several feet from a chair. Ballerina Chair Stretch
  • Rest your leg on the chair, keeping your base leg perpendicular to the floor.
  • Rest your left hand on your hip.
  • Keeping a long neck and shoulder down, stretch your right arm up and over a full side stretch.
  • Focus on lengthening your right side.
  • Hold 15-30 seconds.  Repeat on opposite side.


Standing Hamstring Stretch – Throughout my gymnastics career, I had many hamstring injuries.  Most could have been prevented by paying a little more attention to when and how long I was stretching.  Most importantly, when stretching, proceed slowly and do not bounce.

  • Slowly lift your right leg onto a chair.Standing Hamstring Chair Stretch
  • Hold onto a wall or other sturdy object to help with balance.
  • Slowly lean forward until you feel the stretch, keeping a straight back.
  • If you like, reach forward with your hands but do not put pressure on your knee.
  • Hold 15-30 seconds.  Repeat on other side.


Seated Hip Opener – Be patient with this stretch.  Many of us forget to stretch our hips and they may be quite stiff.  It’s also perfect for that gluteus maximus!

  • Begin sitting up tall in the chair.Seated Hip Opener on Chair
  • Place your left ankle on your right knee.
  • With your back straight, bend forward from your hips until you feel the stretch.
  • Hold 15-30 seconds.  Repeat on other side.


TIP:  So, whether you’re at home trying to get a few minutes away from the kids or at the office trying to get away from your co-workers, remember these stretches this week and give them a try.  Chairs aren’t just for sitting anymore! 

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