Shoulder Flexion and Extension from Best Seated Exercises

Best Seated Exercises

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Shoulder Flexion and Extension

This exercise is super simple. Extend your arms straight out in front of you (kind of like a zombie), raise your hands up towards the ceiling, then lower them back down. Repeat the movement 10-20 times to engage your rear deltoid muscles and increase shoulder joint mobility.  

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Alternating Shoulder Shrugs

Sit up straight with your arms at your side, then lift your left shoulder up towards your left ear. Lower your left shoulder, then repeat the movement on your right side. Alternate left and right for 20-30 repetitions to activate the trapezius muscles and help release tension in your neck and upper back. 

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Flexed-Elbow Shoulder Circles

This is another great exercise for increasing shoulder joint mobility and keeping that upper-body blood flowing. Extend your right arm out to the side and touch your right hand to your right shoulder to flex the elbow. Circle your arm forward for 10 reps, then backwards for another 10. Repeat the same sequence with your left arm.  

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Ankle Flexion and Extension

If you've ever found yourself sitting for so long that your feet start to fall asleep, then you need to start doing this exercise. With both feet planted firmly on the ground, push up through your right toes to extend your ankle. Release your heal back down to the floor and repeat the movement 10-20 times. Repeat the same sequece with your left foot for improved blood flow to your legs and feet and increased ankle mobility. 

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Upright Bicycle Crunch

While this ever-so-popular ab exercise is often performed on the floor, it can also be executed on a chair. Sit at the very edge of your seat and lift your feet slightly off the ground. Once you're able to maintain your balance, lift your left knee to your right elbow. Continue the exercise by alternating left knee to right elbow and right knee to left elbow for 10-20 reps.

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Seated Core Twist

Just like the bicycle crunch, this abdomen exercise is commonly performed on the floor but there's no reason you can't engage that six-pack while your caboose is planted in a chair. Position yourself at the edge of your seat and, with your knees slightly bent, lift both feet off of the ground. The higher you can lift your feet, the more you'll engage your core, but make sure you stay at a level that feels comfortable for you. With your feet elevated and your core tight, begin slowly twisting from side to side. Repeat for 20-30 reps to strengthen your abdominal muscles and obliques.  

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Isometric Prayer Pose

OK, so this isometric exercise won't necessarily make you move more, but it can help strengthen your pectoral muscles. Simply place your hands together at the center of your chest and then, as you conecntrate on squeezing your chest muscles, just press your palms together as hard as you can. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat 3-4 times.  

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Isometric Prisoner Hold

Another isometric exercise that doesn't require any overly-complicated movements, the "prisoner" hold will help strenghten your upper back muscles. Simply lift your arms up and interlace your fingers behind your neck. Here you might feel inclined to lean back and say, "Ahhh." However to reap the full benefits of this exercise you should engage your core muscles in order to sit up tall and focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together in order to engage the muscles of your upper back.  

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Cow Face Pose

Cow Face Pose is a common Yoga stretch used to open the shoulder joints and strengthen the upper back muscles. While sitting up straight, reach your left arm behind you and try to touch the space between your shoulder blades. Next, reach your right arm up over your head and bend your elbow so that your hand lands somewhere near the nape of your neck. Without causing to much strain, try clasping your fingers together. This is an intense stretch, so don't worry if you can't quite reach yet. Go only as far as your body will allow. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch arms and repeat the stretch in the other direction.

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Seated Hip Flexion

With a tall spine, sit towards the edge of your seat with your hands placed lightly next to your hips. Draw your belly button into your spine to engage your core, then slowly lift your right leg up off of the floor. Lower your right leg, then repeat the movement with your left. For a more advanced version, lift both legs off the ground at the same time. Repeat for 10-20 reps to strengthen your hip-flexor and core muscles.

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Seated Alternating Toe Touches

Alternating toe touches are normally done while standing up. But you can certainly aquire all the benefits of this rotational stretch while seated. Simply scooch towards the edge of your chair and open your legs past shoulder-width as you extend them out in front of you until your heals are in contact with the ground. Reach your arms up towards the ceiling then twist to lower your torso down and reach your right hand to your left toes. (If you can't quite reach your toes yet, that's OK. Reach to whatever point feels comfortable for you.) Return to the starting position, then alternate left and right for 15-20 reps. 

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Stand and Sit: AKA The Squat

Since we threw in two isometric exercises that requires pretty much no movement at all, it's only fair that we ask you to get out of your seat for a few seconds. The squat is one of the best lower-body exercises because it engages nearly every major muscle in your legs, and all you have to do to perform it is stand up from your seat and then sit back down. Repeat this move 20-30 times, and to add a little extra challenge, try hovering just over your chair instead of sitting all the way back down. (We hope that's not asking too much.)

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Wall Sit

Alright, we cheated with this one just a little bit. The wall sit requires you to be the chair, which shouldn't be a problem now that you're an expert at sitting down. Stand with your back against a wall and slowly lower yourself down into a seated position. Make sure that your knees are directly above your ankles so that your quads are parallel to the ground and there's a 90-degeree angle between your calves and quads. Don't forget to engage your core muscles to ensure a straight, tall spine. Hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute. Bonus points if you can last through an entire episode of The Walking Dead.

Best Seated Exercises