Take your home workouts to the next level with bodyweight chair exercises! Similar to a bench in a traditional gym, you can use a chair in a variety of different ways to get an absolutely killer bodyweight chair workout. Whether it’s your arm, elbow, knee, or feet on the chair, your core has to be rock-solid and strong in order to perform bodyweight chair exercises. Let’s just say that chairs are not just for sitting on! In this article, we will show you 10 killer bodyweight chair exercises to challenge your home workouts.


Effective Bodyweight Chair Exercises

While demonstrated with a bench, all the following 10 exercises can easily be performed on a chair. But before trying these bodyweight chair exercises at home – safety first!

Flip your chair over and tighten all the screws and nuts.

The last thing we want to happen is for your chair to collapse during your workout! Once everything is tightened, flip your chair back over and place your chair in the middle of an open space in your home. Place a yoga mat in front of your chair, or just ensure that you have proper flooring that is not slippery in front of you. Make sure there is enough space around your chair to move. Some of these exercises require you to lie on your back with your feet on the chair, so you at least need that much space in front of the chair to exercise! All of these exercises + tons more are included in our Sample [P]rehab Fitness Home Edition Program Exercise, which allows you to workout from the comforts of your home with minimal to no equipment!


Are You Looking For A Way To Stay Fit From Home?

fitness home program the prehab guys bodyweight chair exercises

Sometimes it may be difficult for you to get to the gym. Whether it be access issues, lack of time due to job demands, or membership fees! [P]rehab Fitness Home Edition is a physical therapist-designed program that includes various workouts and training support with minimal to no equipment! The beauty of this program is that you can honestly perform it anywhere. All you need is yourself, some space to work, and motivation! To gain access to our Prehab Fitness Home Edition, click HERE! 


Single Arm Scapula Push Up On Elevated Surface

Sample [P]rehab Fitness Home Edition Program Exercise

This is a very advanced version of your traditional scapular push up, a foundational exercise for serratus anterior strengthening. The key with this one is to allow your scapula to sag then push the scapula away from you pushing your chest away from the floor. Avoid moving at the elbows as you perform this exercise. Make sure the motion is coming from your shoulder blade. If this is too hard, we recommend starting with two hands or even learning to protract and retract your scapula with the exercises in the article below!


Decline Push Up

Sample [P]rehab Fitness Home Edition Program Exercise

Once you’ve mastered the scapular push up, try incorporating that into a normal push up! The goal is full scapular protraction at the top of the push up. To make things even harder, put both of your feet on a chair behind you for decline push ups! Not only are you pushing more of your body weight, but the shoulder angle on a decline push up will target the pecs more than the triceps.


Copenhagen Sideplank With Leg Drivers

This is a very advanced version of your classic Copenhagen side plank.  To build up your strength and tolerance to this variation, check out the regressed version below! A 2019 study by Haroy et al found that just adding one variation of Copenhagen planks decreased the risk of injury by 41% in a group of semi-professional soccer players.


How To Master Supersets


Incline Adductor Side Plank

Sample [P]rehab Fitness Home Edition Program Exercise

Unlike a traditional side plank that primarily targets the hip abductors, this variation targets the hip adductors. You accomplish this by first getting into a normal side plank position with your top foot in front of your bottom foot and your elbow on the chair. Engage your adductors and push your top foot hard into the ground. Then take your bottom foot off the ground so just your top leg is holding your body up in the air. The adductors are oftentimes a neglected muscle group when it comes to lower extremity training because let’s be honest, it’s not as sexy and fun as training muscles like the glutes or quadriceps! If you have groin or adductor discomfort, give the article below a read!


groin prehab exercises bodyweight chair prehab guys


Single Leg Elevated Psoas Marches

Psoas marches should be a staple in any hip flexor [P]rehab. Rarely in exercises do we actually try to target the hip flexors with strengthening exercises. Typically psoas marches are done standing to work against gravity and with a mini band around the toes to provide additional resistance. This is a more advanced variation because we must use our core and opposite side hip extensors and abductors to stabilize while using our hip flexors to lift our knee to our chest. However, because we are working across gravity in a supine position without any additional resistance, it may be a good place to start for someone who is in relatively good shape, but just experienced a hip flexor strain.


Single Leg Hip Thrust

Sample [P]rehab Fitness Home Edition Program Exercise

The hip hinge is one of the fundamental movement patterns. Both hip thrusts and bridges are the same hip hinge pattern, the only difference is putting either your foot or your back on the chair! In both variations, using bodyweight is many times enough. But if you want to make each exercise even harder, try the single leg version of each. Placing your foot on top of the chair increases the knee flexion demand of the exercise, which makes it a great way to hit the hamstrings!


Prehab Membership The Prehab Guys

The Prehab membership is the anti-barrier solution to keeping your body healthy. Access state-of-the-art physical therapy, fitness programs, and workouts online in the comforts of your own home or gym! Taking control of your health with exercise & education from the palm of your hand has never been easier. Get access to 50+ programs, 100+ unique workouts, and 3000+ exercises to build your own workout routines. Trial it for free, and learn how to get out of pain, avoid injury, and optimize your health with [P]rehab!


Bodyweight Chair Exercises: Sidelying Extra Range Hip Abduction

Popularized by booty fanatics across the world, the sidelying hip abduction is a great exercise to target the gluteus medius and the lateral hip as a whole. For an at-home setup, you’ll want to position yourself on top of two chairs. Your elbow should be on one chair and your knee should be on the other. Raising yourself on chairs allows you to go into a greater range of motion at your hip, maximizing the hypertrophic stimulus!

fitness gunnar peterson prehab guys bodyweight chair exercises



Dips on a chair are a great use of body weight to target the triceps. However, there are concerns that the shoulder extension and internal rotation of the shoulder joint can push the head of the humerus forward, possibly leading to anterior instability or even subluxation. While these claims are definitely valid, the role of the rotator cuff is to stabilize the head of the humerus within the glenoid fossa of the scapula, preventing this anterior translation – even at extreme ranges of motion. Thus, in order to properly perform this exercise, ensure that you have:

  • Adequate shoulder extension and internal rotation ROM


  • Strong scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff muscles


  • No history of anterior shoulder instability or “shoulder dislocations”


Closing Thoughts

No matter where you are, as long as you have you and your body, you can engage in exercise! We hope this article has provided you with some examples of how you can continue to engage in exercise from your own home. Moreover, if you are looking for a more specific program for full body fitness from your home, check out the link below!


[P]rehab Fitness Program Home Edition

fitness home program the prehab guys bodyweight chair exercisesFitness is not about using such a high intensity that you are unable to get off the floor afterward. We are all about hard work, however, we want to make sure you are able to work out across the lifespan both safely and effectively. The number one reason why people no longer participate in an exercise program is due to injury, let’s prove that statistic incorrect by using a fitness program with the intended goals of getting you in shape while avoiding injury! To do so, the first 4 weeks are meant to load your tissues to create a movement base this ready to take on the next 8 weeks. Let’s also make sure that we are not just addressing the physical you but are helping you become healthier by giving you methods to decrease your internal load via positive self-talk and gratitude practices.


About The Author

Michael Lau, PT, DPT, CSCS

[P]rehab Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer

michael lau the prehab guysMichael was born and raised in Northern California but now currently resides in Sunny SoCal ever since attending the University of California, Los Angeles as an undergraduate majoring in physiology. After his undergraduate studies, he received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from cross-town rival the University of Southern California. As a licensed physical therapist with a strong background in strength and conditioning, Michael likes to blend the realms of strength training and rehabilitation to provide prehab, or preventative rehabilitation, to his patients. A common human behavior is to address problems after they become an issue and far often too late, which is a reactionary approach. He believes the key to improved health care is education and awareness. This proactive approach-prehab-can reduce the risk of injuries and pain in the first place. He is a huge proponent of movement education and pain science. Clinically, he has a special interest in ACLR rehab and return to sport for the lower extremity athlete.





Disclaimer – The content here is designed for information & education purposes only and is not intended for medical advice.

About the author : Michael Lau PT, DPT, CSCS


  1. Jeff Ramey March 31, 2020 at 5:08 am

    Thank you guys, so much! This is great information and these are great tools to help us increase fitness, enjoy a greater quality of life and prevent injury! Thank you all of for everything! Also, to ask a question: When it comes to calisthenic-type exercise…do we need to rest the muscle groups that we worked for at least 48 hours before we work them again or is that only when we work our muscles to volitional fatigue? The basis for asking is I am wondering if I can engage in calisthenics that incorporate/cover the whole body/all the major muscle groups on back to back days without a day of for “recovery”?

    • Michael Lau April 6, 2020 at 11:49 am

      we appreciate the kind word! For the most part, you should be able to train on back to back days. But training every day, even if it isn’t traditional muscle building and more ‘calesthenic type exercise”, isn’t recommended. your body DOES not rest! Go for it and listen to your body and how it feels!

  2. Kendel Lallyson December 24, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    This is very true! Will consider this moving forward :)

  3. Derek Langendorfer October 15, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    I appreciate this SO much you guys!! I was hit by a Jeep last December, and am now in the hospital for a totally unrelated reason, but nonetheless jonesing to get back into shape, and particularly focusing on calisthenics, so this is right up my alley, and you guys are so thorough and your explanations are so down-to-earth and well-spoken! Thanks again, keep it up!!! Inspiring!!!

    • Team [P]Rehab October 19, 2021 at 5:59 am

      Hello Derek!! We are sorry to hear about your accident. We hope that you are having an excellent recovery and doing well! Thank you so much for your positive response, and we wish you all of the best!!!

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