5 Exercises That Don’t Require Weights

Blog Category: Health
By Jayson Hubbard, Wellness Specialist Twin Lakes Senior Living Community

Looking for some easy exercises you can try at home? Not everyone owns weights or has a gym membership. That doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. You can strengthen and tone muscles at any age – and your muscles will respond.

These exercises use simple movements, can be done in your own home, and the only equipment some of them require is a chair.

Exercises to Try Without Equipment

1. Leg Circles

leg circles

Good for: Strengthening your core, quadriceps, and hamstrings, improving coordination and balance. Also maintains healthy hip joints.

Starting Position: Stand behind or to the side of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  1. Begin by raising one leg in front of you to knee height.
  2. Once your leg is at knee height, rotate your leg in a clockwise motion.
  3. After you have completed 10 circles in a clockwise motion, repeat the exercise in the opposite direction (counter-clockwise)

Repeat the exercise 10-15 times (clockwise & counter-clockwise) with each leg.

Jayson’s Expert Tips: Make sure to keep a slight bend in both of your legs for the whole exercise. You do not want to lock your knees during any exercise.

2. Chair Stands 

chair stands

Good for: Strengthening core, glutes, and quadriceps. Improve balance and helps reduce the risk of falling. Chair Stands also strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, resulting in a stronger back.

Starting Position: Sit at the edge of a chair with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Your heels should be in line with your knees. Make sure to keep your back straight.

  1. Begin by crossing your arms with your hands on your chest.
  2. Exhale as you begin to stand up. Push your heels into the floor and shift your hips forward.
  3. Inhale as you return to the seated position. Let your hips shift back and slowly lower back into the chair.

Repeat the exercise 10-15 times.

Jayson’s Expert Tips: Keep your back straight for the whole duration of the exercise. You can use the arms of your chair to assist you but focus on driving up with your legs and feet.

3. Diagonal Raises

diagonal raises

Good for: Strengthening your deltoids or shoulder muscles. Helps prevent shoulder injuries and increases shoulder mobility.

Starting Position: Stand up, or sit at the edge of a chair, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put one hand on your opposite knee with your palm facing you (right hand on left knee or left hand on right knee).

  1. Exhale as you lift your arm up and across your body to just below shoulder height. Your palm should now be facing outwards.
  2. Inhale as you lower your arm back to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.

Repeat the exercise 10-15 times with each arm.

Jayson’s Expert Tips: Make sure you are moving your arm in a smooth and controlled manner. Keep a slight bend in your arm as a locked arm can provide unwanted stress on the shoulder.

4. Rotational Punches

rotational punches

Good for: Strengthening your chest, arms, core, and back muscles. Helps improve stability and balance.

Starting position: Stand up, or sit in a chair, with your feet shoulder-width apart and bring your hands up to the side of your chest.

  1. Exhale as you punch your right arm across your body.
  2. Inhale as you pull your right arm back into the starting position.
  3. Repeat the process for your left arm
  4. Alternate arms and continue

Repeat the exercise 10-15 times with each arm.

Jayson’s Expert Tips: When done standing up, pivot the same foot as the arm you are punching to engage your leg muscles more. This exercise will work your core, balance, and coordination more when done standing up.

5. Seated Elbow to Knee

seated elbow to knee

Good for: Strengthening your core and quadriceps. Helps improve posture and stability.

Start Position: Sit at the edge of a chair with your heels directly under your knees. Bend your arms so that your elbows are directly in front of you.

  1. Begin by lifting your left knee up towards your chest while bringing your right elbow towards your knee. Keep your core tight the whole time.
  2. Now lower your left knee and raise your right elbow back to their starting positions.
  3. Repeat the process with your right knee and left elbow.

Repeat the exercise 10-15 times, alternating knee/elbow.

Jayson’s Expert Tips: Try to keep your core tight during the whole exercise. Focus on using your core to pull your knee up and not your quadriceps. This will help engage and strengthen the core muscles.

These exercises can all be done without weights or equipment, but don’t be afraid to add in some resistance for an added challenge. To increase intensity do the recommended repetitions for each exercise, rest for 20-30 seconds, then repeat the exercise.

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