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7 Chair Exercises for Belly Fat Loss

Belly fat is the most stubborn area to tackle for many people who are striving to lose weight. Research has indicated this type of fat is not just a nuisance; significant excess belly fat can be actively harmful to your health. It also acts as a predictor of potential health issues, ranging from cardiovascular diseases to diabetes (6).

No wonder there are so many methods out there that claim to be able to help you “lose belly fat quickly”. From special juices to rigorous workouts, the options are endless.

We’ll put it simply: you can only lose weight if you expend more calories than you take in. The healthiest way to reduce belly fat is to simply move more and eat healthier food in smaller portions than you normally do. 

So, for those with limited mobility or time, chair exercises can be a game-changer. Gentle as they may seem, these exercises help you burn calories, engage your core, and improve muscle tone. They’re also great for improving posture, balance, and overall fitness (9).

Here’s a compilation of seven chair exercises that will help you burn some serious calories.

Can You Really Lose Weight Doing Chair Exercises?

Using chair exercises for weight loss can be a real game-changer for anyone with limited mobility, balance, or space. There’s a common misconception that losing weight requires high-intensity workouts, but the truth is, any form of physical activity helps burn calories (4). So, if you’re unable to hit the gym or do intense exercises, chair exercises can be an effective and convenient alternative.

Here are some tips for an effective chair workout:

  • Make sure your chair is stable and has a backrest for added support.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity or duration of your workout.
  • Remember to breathe properly, avoiding holding your breath when performing a difficult exercise.
  • Ensure proper form and technique for maximum benefits and prevent injury.

An important factor in how effective your chair exercises will be for belly fat loss is how consistently you do them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week (5). This can be broken down into 30 minutes, five days a week. So, make sure you schedule your chair workouts to reach this goal and see results.

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28-Day Chair Yoga For Seniors: Regain Flexibility And Build Strength With Guided

Lastly, your diet plays a crucial role in weight loss (2). No amount of exercise can compensate for an unhealthy diet. So, make sure you’re fueling your body with nutritious and balanced meals to support your weight loss journey. If weight loss is your goal, consider a calorie deficit diet where you consume fewer calories than your body burns (4) (7).

Now let’s get to the exercises!

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What Burns Fat While Sitting?

Chair exercises for belly fat loss typically involve a combination of movements that engage the core muscles and increase heart rate. This helps burn calories, which reduces overall body fat, including belly fat.

Here are 7 chair exercises for beginners on the journey to shedding excess belly fat:

1. Seated Jackknife Crunches 

Seated jackknife crunches are a modified version of traditional jackknife crunches. They get their name from the shape your body makes when you perform them correctly.

This exercise primarily targets the rectus abdominis and the obliques. The rectus abdominis is the muscle that is responsible for six-pack abs, while obliques run along both sides of your abdomen.

Engaging these muscles helps tighten and tone the abdominal area, creating a more defined appearance. 

While seated exercises may seem less intense, the seated jackknife crunch can still offer a moderate calorie burn, particularly when it’s performed in sets with minimal rest in between. The intensity can be adjusted by increasing the number of repetitions or the speed at which the exercise is performed. 

Beyond belly fat loss, this exercise can improve postural control by strengthening the core muscles. It may also enhance balance and stability, preventing lower back pain and reducing the risk of falls.

How to Perform Correctly:

  1. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair, gripping the sides of the seat for support.
  2. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight so the movement occurs at the hips.
  3. Lift your knees toward your chest while simultaneously bringing your chest towards your knees, creating a ‘jackknife’ position.
  4. Slowly lower your legs and upper body back to the starting position without letting your feet touch the ground.
  5. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions or as many as are comfortable without sacrificing proper form or pacing. 
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Chair Exercises for Seniors: Why They Are Important and Sample Examples to Try Today

Ensure you’re not using momentum to swing your legs and upper body – the movement should be controlled and focused. Avoid straining your neck or shoulders during the exercise – the effort should come from your core.

Maintain a straight back and engage your core throughout the exercise. Breathe out as you lift your knees and chest together, and breathe in as you return to the starting position.

chair exercises for belly  

2. Seated Leg Lifts 

Chair leg lifts are a simplified variation of the traditional supine leg lift exercise, designed specifically for those who may find floor exercises too challenging or those who are looking to sneak in a workout while sitting. This exercise targets the lower abdomen and hip flexors, areas that are essential for core stability and posture.

Engaging and strengthening the lower abdomen and hip flexors helps improve posture, reduce lower back pain, and enhance overall athletic performance. This exercise also helps tone the abdominal area, which will improve your physique.

Although chair leg lifts may seem straightforward, they can be quite intense when performed with proper form and can contribute to a moderate calorie burn. In addition to burning belly fat, this exercise can improve circulation in the legs and reduce swelling from sitting for long periods.

How to Perform Correctly: 

  1. Sit upright in a chair without leaning against the backrest.
  2. Place your hands on the seat beside you for stability.
  3. Straighten your legs out in front of you, keeping them parallel to the ground.
  4. Slowly lift your legs as high as possible without bending your knees.
  5. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your legs without letting them touch the ground.
  6. Perform 10-15 repetitions.

Make sure not to lean back while lifting your legs – this can strain your back. Keep the movements controlled, avoiding momentum to lift the legs.

See also
Here's How Chair Yoga At Work Can Make You Healthier And Happier

Read more: How To Slim Down Quickly Using Chair Exercises for Weight Loss

3. Seated Oblique Twists 

Seated oblique twists are the chair version of the popular oblique twist exercise. This exercise emphasizes the oblique muscles, which are key contributors to waist shaping and spinal rotation.

Strengthening the obliques helps in slimming down the waistline and can contribute significantly to the appearance of a toned, flat belly. It also helps prevent back injuries by supporting the spine.

This exercise has a low to moderate intensity level, but it’s highly effective in engaging the core muscles, especially the obliques. Additional benefits include improved rotational mobility and core stability, which are beneficial for daily movements and athletic performance.

How to Perform Correctly: 

  1. Sit upright toward the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows wide.
  3. Rotate your torso to the right, aiming to bring your left elbow toward your right knee.
  4. Return to the center and then rotate to the left side.
  5. Perform 10-15 repetitions on each side.

Ensure the motion is controlled and comes from the torso, not by pulling the neck with the hands. Keep the movements smooth to avoid any strain.

4. Chair Marching 

Chair marching is an excellent cardio exercise that can be done while seated. It primarily targets the hip flexors and core, providing a gentle yet effective workout for those with limited mobility.

Cardio exercises such as chair marching are crucial for burning calories and reducing overall body fat, including belly fat. In addition, this exercise improves lower-body mobility and endurance.

Although it is considered low-intensity, chair marching can increase your heart rate, leading to calorie burn. It’s also beneficial for enhancing blood circulation and reducing leg stiffness from prolonged sitting.

How to Perform Correctly: 

  1. Sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your right knee toward your chest, then lower it back down.
  3. Alternate by lifting your left knee toward your chest.
  4. Continue alternating in a marching motion for 30-60 seconds.

Keep your back straight and avoid leaning forward as you march. Each lift should be deliberate and controlled to maximize abdominal muscle engagement. Increase the pacing as you get better at this exercise to challenge yourself more.

See also
20 Chair Yoga Exercises That'll Take You From Couch Potato To Future Yogi

5. Seated Bicycle Crunches 

Seated bicycle crunches adapt the traditional bicycle crunch for a chair, focusing on the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors. This exercise helps with belly fat loss and enhances coordination and balance by engaging the entire core complex.

Offering moderate to high intensity, seated bicycle crunches can significantly increase your calorie burn. They also improve functional mobility and may help digestion by engaging the deep abdominal muscles.

How to Perform Correctly: 

  1. Sit at the edge of your chair, hands behind your head, elbows wide.
  2. Lift your right knee toward your left elbow while twisting your torso to the right.
  3. Alternate sides, mimicking a pedaling motion.
  4. Perform for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Ensure you’re not pulling on your neck with your hands. Focus on moving through the core, keeping movements controlled and fluid.

chair exercises for belly  

6. Chair Planks 

Chair planks are a variation of the traditional plank exercise, performed using a chair to engage the core muscles, specifically targeting the belly area.

Planking is one of the most effective exercises for activating the entire core, which includes the deep abdominal muscles. Strengthening these muscles is essential for improving postural support.

Although it’s a static exercise, planking on a chair is considered moderate to high intensity. It improves muscle tone, endurance, and strength, which impacts overall core stability.

How to Perform Correctly: 

  1. Place your forearms on the seat of a sturdy chair, stepping your feet back so your body forms a straight line.
  2. Ensure your elbows are directly below your shoulders and your body is in a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Hold the position for 20-60 seconds, maintaining proper form.

Avoid letting your hips sag or your butt rise too high, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and put strain on your back. Keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line.

7. Chair Squats

This exercise is outstanding for targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles, in addition to engaging the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques. At first glance, squats may seem like a lower-body exercise, but they also require stabilizing muscles from the core to maintain proper form.

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Strengthening these muscle groups can help improve overall strength and balance, both of which are important for functional movements and daily activities.

Chair squats can be quite effective in burning calories when they’re performed at a moderate to high intensity. They also reduce the risk of injury by promoting balance and stability.

How to Perform Correctly:

  1. Start by sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  2. Engage your core and push through your heels to stand up, keeping your back straight and chest lifted.
  3. Slowly lower yourself back down to the seated position, controlling the movement with your lower body without fully resting at the bottom.
  4. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions or as many as you’re comfortable with.

Ensure you’re not using your hands to help with standing or sitting to get the most out of the exercise. Keep your movements controlled, particularly when lowering back into the chair to prevent strain on the knees, hips, ankles, and spine. Focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet and not letting them collapse inward or extend past your toes.

Our Chair Yoga Workout Plan offers a unique approach to incorporating yoga into a seated workout routine. It combines elements of traditional yoga poses with modifications for those with limited mobility.

If you wish to cinch your waist, tone up your bat wings, blast away the muffin top – our fitness app was created to cater to all your needs! BetterMe won’t give excess weight a chance!

FAQs

  • How can I flatten my stomach while sitting?

To flatten your stomach while sitting, you can try incorporating chair exercises such as the ones listed above into your daily routine. In addition, maintaining proper posture while sitting and engaging your core muscles can help tone and strengthen your stomach muscles over time.

  • How can I lose belly fat with chair exercises?

A combination of consistently doing chair exercises and a healthy and balanced diet can help reduce belly fat. These exercises increase muscle tone and burn calories, which leads to overall body fat loss, including in the stomach area.

Check out our Chair Yoga Guide for more exercises that can help reduce belly fat and improve overall health and well-being.

  • What exercise burns the most belly fat?

High-intensity exercises that raise the heart rate, such as cardio and strength training, are most effective for burning belly fat. They target all areas of the body, including the stomach, and help increase overall calorie burn (1) (8). 

  • How can I lose belly fat in 2 weeks?

2 weeks may not be enough time to see significant changes in belly fat, but you can incorporate a combination of cardio and strength training exercises together with a healthy diet to start making progress. In addition, focusing on overall body fat loss rather than simply targeting the stomach area can lead to more sustainable results.

Our Gentle Chair Yoga for Beginners and Seniors guide can help you start your fitness journey to a healthier, stronger body.

  • Does walking burn belly fat?

Walking, particularly at a high intensity and for a moderate duration can certainly help burn belly fat. It’s a low-impact exercise that increases heart rate and engages the core muscles, which makes it an effective option for reducing overall body fat (1) (3). However, combining walking with other exercises will likely lead to even better results.

The Bottom Line

Incorporating chair exercises into your daily routine can be an effective way to reduce belly fat and strengthen your core muscles. When combined with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, these exercises can help you achieve a flatter stomach and improve overall functional mobility. 

Remember to always perform exercises with proper form and listen to your body’s limits. Consult a doctor before you start any new exercise routine, particularly if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES

  1. A dose-response relation between aerobic exercise and visceral fat reduction: systematic review of clinical trials (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Effects of Walking Speed on Total and Regional Body Fat in Healthy Postmenopausal Women (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (2023, cdc.gov)
  5. How much physical activity do adults need? (2022, cdc.gov)
  6. Metabolic obesity: the paradox between visceral and subcutaneous fat (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  8. Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier (2023, mayoclinic.org)
  9. The Effect of Chair-Based Exercise on Physical Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)