Got pain when you squat? Build strength safely with this chair squat from SilverSneakers Master Trainer Andi.
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If you’ve got a sturdy chair, then you’ve got a simple, effective fitness tool on hand. You can use a chair for a seated cardio workout or for extra balance during standing exercises. It’s also a great way to build strength gradually, safely, and confidently.
“I love the chair for a lot of different support options,” says SilverSneakers Master Trainer Andi. “One of my favorite exercises is using the chair for a squat.”
Here’s why: The squat is one of the best total-body exercises for older adults. It strengthens your glutes, legs, and core to make everyday activities easier, such as standing up on your own power or picking things up from the floor.
But for many people, regular squats can cause pain. “People will tell me, ‘This hurts my knees,’” Andi says. “And usually it’s because we don’t have good posture or form with our squats.”
That’s where using a chair comes in. The chair guides you into proper squat form to take pressure off your knees.
Ready to take a page from Andi’s playbook? Here’s how to do a chair squat.
How to Use the Chair Squat
You’ll just need yourself and a sturdy chair. You can simply press play on the video above and follow along or check out the step-by-step instructions below.
Focus on maintaining good posture and form throughout the move. It helps to keep these common cues in mind.
As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Step 1: Seated Hip Hinge
Sit forward in your chair with your chest up tall. Begin with your hands on your hips or thighs, and feet planted firmly on the ground below your knees. Hinge at your hips to lean forward slightly, and put some of your weight into your feet. Then hinge back to return to your tall, seated position.
Step 2: Pressure Squat
As you hinge forward, bring your arms out in front of you, and put more of your weight into your feet as if you are about to stand up. But instead of standing up, stay in this position, squeeze your glutes, and then then hinge back to sit tall.
Step 3: Stand Up
From your pressure squat position, push through your feet to lift yourself up to standing.
Make it easier: If standing up is too challenging, you can always continue to practice the pressure squat. For example, if your SilverSneakers LIVE class is doing squats, you can use the pressure squat as your variation.
Step 4: Walk Back and Sit Down
From this standing position, walk your feet back until you can feel the chair on the backs of your legs. Push your hips back to lower down, making sure the chair is beneath you.
This is where a chair can really help you pay attention to your form. Before you lower down, make sure you can feel the chair on the backs of your legs so that you are in the proper position.
Step 5: Hip Walk Forward to Repeat
Walk your hips forward by shifting your weight back and forth to return to starting position.
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