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10 exercises you can do from your couch

By Michelle Rogers, CPT | April 2, 2020 | Healthy Lifestyle

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Do you find it hard to get motivated to get off the couch and exercise? What would you say if I told you that you don’t have to?

In fact, it’s possible to get a full-body workout without missing an episode of your favorite show. You can do these exercises while you watch TV, right in your living room! No equipment is needed.

Important note: Only move through the range of motion that feels right for your body. Always check with a qualified professional if you have any concerns about what exercises are appropriate for you.

Do 8-12 reps of each exercise, 1-3 sets.


Stretch neck and shoulders.

Neck stretch

  1. Look side to side
  2. Backward shoulder rolls
  3. Ear toward shoulder, each side

Sit-stand (core, legs, glutes).

Sitting with arms outstretched

Sit on the edge of the sofa with your feet slightly apart. Keeping arms extended in front, stand up, then sit. Focus on using your abdominal and leg strength.

Triceps dips (arms, shoulders, chest, core).

Tricep dips on the couch

Position yourself with your hands shoulder width apart on the edge of the sofa, with straight arms, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and feet flat on the floor.

Now slowly bend at your elbows, and lower your upper body toward the floor until your arms are at about a 90-degree angle, keeping your back close to the sofa. Then slowly push yourself back up to the starting position. Focus on using the strength of the back of your arms, rather than your glutes (buttocks), during the movement.

To make triceps dips more challenging, extend legs straight in front of you instead of bending at the knees.

Chest squeeze (pectorals).

Pressing palms together at chest

With arms parallel to the floor, clasp hands at chest. Squeeze palms together as you tighten your chest muscles isometrically.

Leg scissors (core).

Leg exercise on the couch

This one really works your abs! Sit back on the sofa with your hands supporting your body and legs straight out in front of you. Open and cross your legs at your feet, alternating, keeping legs lifted off of the floor. Be sure to tighten your abs and keep breathing as you move.

Core twist with pillow (core, back, flexibility).

Twisting side to side with feet on floor

Can be done seated or standing. Twist side to side from the waist, not the neck. If standing, stand with feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.

Squat and reach (glutes, legs, core, upper body).


Stand with feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Holding one pillow, stretch arms above you, then swing down into a squat, bringing the pillow down.

Clam shell (thighs, hips).

Clam shell exercise

Lie on your side on the sofa or floor, knees bent and legs together. Keeping your feet touching and your knees bent, raise your top leg as high as you can, and lower back down. Repeat on other side.

Side leg raises (thighs, hips, legs).

Leg lift exercise

Lie on your side on the sofa or floor, keeping your bottom leg knee bent and top leg straight, toes pointed forward. Slowly raise your leg as high as you can, leading with the heel, and lower back down. Repeat on other side.

Glute bridge (glutes, back, core, legs).

yoga bridge exercise

Lie on your back on the sofa or floor, with feet flat about hip width apart. Tighten your buttocks and push them up off of the sofa. Keep your hips lifted with your body in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold. Then raise and lower in smaller “pulses,” squeezing tight each time you push up.

For more ways you can work out at home, see my post on how to exercise at home with limited space and budget.