Beginning a strength training program doesn’t have to include a gym membership or the purchase of fancy equipment. You can begin your program with simple, yet highly effective exercises. Let’s begin with a chair squat or chair sit.
As Cathy demonstrates in the first photo, face away from the chair with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Use a foot and leg position that feels natural for you. Using the muscles in your legs to control your motion, slowly sit down in the chair. Hold your arms loosely to the side. Notice how you could run a straight line from the back of Cathy’s head to the top of her butt. She is neither arching her back or slumped forward.
Cathy is cautious to control her motion so she doesn’t plop into the chair. Plopping in the chair means you released all leg muscle control and just let go. Once in the chair, pause for one to two seconds, and then, again using your legs, stand up. Concentrate on your leg muscles as you stand.
If you are just beginning, you may want to position the chair next to a table so you can use the table as balance and support by putting one hand on the table to help you up and down. As you gain strength and balance you can slowly minimize and then eliminate using the table for support. Another tip for beginners is to use a chair that is set higher, or has a pillow or two on top so your squat doesn’t have to be as deep. Graduate to a lower chair as you gain strength.
If you are just beginning your home exercise program, begin by doing 5 chair sits. Rest for a bit, then do another set of 5 chair sit repetitions. Rest one last time and do 5 more chair squats. At the end of your first session, you will have completed three sets of 5 repetitions. Aim to do this exercise three days per week. Over the course of several weeks, build your way toward completing three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
This seemingly simple exercise can have a big impact on your ability to be strong and mobile for some of the most important activities in your life. Here are just a few:
- Getting into and out of a car
- Seating at restaurants and movie theaters
- Visiting the restroom
- The mobility to comfortably travel
Are you willing to try this easy exercise for just three days this week? Let’s begin.