6 Couch-Potato Exercises You Can Do Sitting Down


You've heard the blather all before. You're a couch potato. You sit too much. It's bad for your health. You're gonna get fat. But hey, you're entitled to some TV time to watch your favorite shows, enjoy a movie marathon, catch the news on the hour, and flip through that endless line-up of late-night shopping channels, right?

That's true. But the hecklers who abhor the couch-potato lifestyle are partly right as well. The average person spends at least 9 hours a day sitting, and that's in the car and at work. Add your precious TV time to the mix, and you could be sitting 10 or more hours a day. The fact of the matter is that if you sit around too much, you're going to gain more weight.

Need proof? About 70 percent of all adults in the United States are already overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it doesn't have to be that way. What if you could camp out on the couch and still get some exercise? It would be a pretty sweet deal. And it's totally possible with these six couch-potato exercises you can do sitting down.

1. Seated Jumping Jacks

Traditional jumping jacks are a standard part of many athletic program warm-up exercises. But you don't have to be training for the next big game to benefit from this full-body cardiovascular exercise. Just get moving from your seat. Sit on the edge of your seat, arms extended horizontally. Raise them over your head in jumping-jack fashion while you open and close your legs at the same time. Try to sustain a steady pace through an entire commercial, and you'll be building cardiovascular endurance and burning calories from the couch.

2. Abdominal Twists

coach potatoThe gym rats might be waiting in line for the abdominal twist machine or a weighted medicine ball to work their midsection, but you won't if you're holed up at home on the couch. And you can still do the same kind of exercises. Sit on the edgeof your seat, and cross your arms. Breathe in, tighten your abs, and twist to the right at the waist. Breathe out, return to the starting position, and repeat for the left side. You'll strengthen your abdominals and core stabilizing muscles with this exercise. Test your comfort level with a few reps, and then see if you can perform a set of 20 or more abdominal twists at a time.

3. Leg Extensions

Seated leg extensions will work your thighs and hip flexor muscles, and you don't even need to get off the couch. Sit on the edge of the couch, and grip the front of the cushion with your hands at your side. With one leg on the floor, extend your other leg until it's straight. Then slowly raise it until it's parallel to the floor. Flex your foot as you extend this leg to include your lower leg and ankle in this exercise. Hold your leg in position for three to five seconds, then repeat with the other leg. Then seen how many leg extensions you can perform during the next movie marathon.

4. Arm Circles

They been used as a conditioning warm-up in martial arts and aerobic classes for generations. You can actually tone your arms and develop muscular endurance with arm circle exercises. And they're actually harder than you might think. Sit up on the couch and extend your arms so they are straight and parallel to the ground. Then move your arms in tiny circles, keeping them straight. Mix it up by making larger circular motions. And see how long you can keep it up before your arms and shoulders get tired.

5. Captain's Chair Leg Lifts

This is another favorite exercise gym-goers do to target their abs and core, but it can easily be adapted to do from home on the couch. Sit on the edge of the couch, feet on the ground, and grip the front cushion with your hands. Lean back slightly and slowly raise your knees to your chest. Hold the position for a few seconds. Then slowly lower your legs back to the ground. To make it more challenging, don't let your feet touch the ground after each repetition.

6. Seated Press-Ups

Seated press-ups are an excellent exercise to strengthen your triceps and shoulders. In the gym, people do variations of this exercise with a dip machine or triceps extensions with free weights or a machine. At home, all you have to do is sit on the edge of the couch, palms down, and try to lift yourself off the couch like you were going to get up. Engage those muscles and hold for a few seconds. You can make the exercise more challenging by lifting yourself up for a few seconds.

Bonus Exercise – The "Bottom Shaper"

couch potato exercises

OK, so the name of this exercise is a polite way of saying, “Squeeze your cheeks.” You can actually tone and strengthen your backside while sitting on the couch. Just turn on the TV, find your favorite show, and squeeze your gluteus maximus. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds, and repeat for a minute or longer.

If you want a real power combo to tighten your butt and actually get off the couch, then you can rotate the cheek squeeze with stand up squats.

Just follow the bottom shaper routine above, then stand up from the couch or chair, place your feet slightly apart with your toes pointed forward and squat down while keeping your hands on your hips and back straight. Do 5-10 of these during each commercial.

When you combine both of these exercises it speeds up the burn that will get you a tighter backside faster.

Now Get Your Couch Potato Workout On!

So before you give into all the hype that watching too much TV puts your health at risk, go ahead and defy the odds and get your couch-potato workout on. You really can tone and strengthen your muscles while you watch your favorite shows, and it's fun 🙂