Exercising arms and abs while sitting down can be an effective way to tone, sculpt and burn fat from a supported position. While seated, you can keep the spine supported and tall, which engages your core, and move your limbs to exercise. Having multiple limbs and muscle groups working at the same time builds up your cardio component and also challenges your core. When you have a limb or two lifted off your chair, you have to engage your core to keep your balance. Combining these components helps you to work efficiently and deeply into your ab and arm muscles.
Knee Lifts and Arm Extensions
Knee lifts tone and strengthen the deep muscles of the abdominals. Adding arms helps to increase the cardio component and build muscle. Sit with a tall spine. Reach your arms straight overhead. Draw your navel into your spine. Take a breath in. As you exhale, draw your right knee up 3 to 5 inches and pull your arms down to 90-degree angles at shoulder height. Inhale and return to start. Repeat on the left side. Alternate side to side for 10 to 12 repetitions.
Arm and Leg Circles
When you reach your arms and legs to make circles, you contract your core for stability. You also sculpt into the arms as you circle, from the shoulders down to the fingertips. Reach your right arm straight out to the side at shoulder height. Reach your left leg straight up at hip height. Slowly circle for 10 counts. Stop and reverse your circling in the opposite direction for 10 counts. Lower your arm and leg and repeat on the opposite side. As you circle, keep your navel drawing into your spine.
Crunches and Shoulder Work
From a seated position, you can crunch into the abdominal muscles and build strength into the back of the shoulders. Sit with a tall spine. Bring your hand together behind your head, with your elbows open wide. Take an inhale. As you exhale, draw your navel into your spine, tuck your chin and round your chest. Inhale to lift back up and squeeze into your shoulder blades. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Lifting yourself off the chair just an inch works deep into your core muscles and into the back of your arms. Sit on the edge of your chair. Let your hands rest next to your hips, with the elbows relaxed and pointing behind you. Slowly push your hands into the chair, straighten your arms, draw your navel into your spine and lift off the chair just an inch or so. Hold for five counts and lower down. Repeat five times.
As with any fitness or exercise routine, please check with your physician before beginning, especially if you have any injuries or health conditions. Those with joint or back issues should be especially careful. As with most workouts, remember to stay hydrated.
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