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When it comes to exercises that tone your body, the captain’s chair is most definitely somewhere at the top of the list.

But, it can be difficult to know a variety of exercises that you can do to break up your routine and target all of your body. Not to worry, we have got you covered! 

Firstly, the Captain’s Chair is a chair that is tall and seatless. It has armrests and backrests so you can support yourself; accompanied by footpegs/small steps to help you reach the height.

Each of these exercises will tone up your body as they work for many muscles groups at once. They target back, arms, legs, shoulders, glutes and of course, abs. 

These exercises all have the same basic starting position. 

  1. Rest your lower back against the backrest.  
  2. Grip your handholds, firmly but not too tightly to cause strain in your hands. 
  3. Prop yourself up on the armrests by your elbows and forearms.
  4. Your legs to should be dangling straight down. 
  5. Tense your abs as you perform the exercise. 

Here are the top 10 Captain Chair Workouts to tone your body!

Related: Love Handle Workout

  1. Standard Crunch
  2. Oblique Focused Crunch 
  3. Single Leg Lifts
  4. Captains Chair Twist
  5. Bent Knee Leg raise
  6. Leg Hold
  7. Bicycle Crunches
  8. Scissor Kicks
  9. Weighted Raised
  10. Criss Cross

1. Standard Crunch 

The Standard Captains Chair Crunch is one of the most effective exercises. When performing this exercise you need to brace yourself firmly by using your shoulders and back.

If you relax your shoulders you will end up straining your muscles, which of course, you want to avoid. This is a great exercise if you struggle with back pain as it allows you to minimize the strain on your spine. 

  1. Bend at the hips and raise your legs parallel to the ground right in front of you. Your legs should be straight.  
  2. Lower your legs back down.
  3. Complete exercise in sets of 3 – 10 reps ideally. 


To maximize your core workout, lift knees above hips. Go slow and stay in control to prevent you from using the swinging momentum – this will inhibit a proper workout. 


This exercise can cause strain. If you feel pain in your back you should stop immediately to prevent yourself from injury. 

2. Oblique Focused Crunch 

This exercise is similar to the standard captain’s crunch, except with a slight variation in regards to the angle of your leg lifts. It works out your shoulders, back and abs allowing you to define and tone up your muscles. 

  1. Bend at your hips and lift your legs to the right side.
  2. Slowly lower your legs back down so they are dangling. 
  3. Lift your legs again this time going to the left side. 
  4. Return your legs back to the dangling position. 
  5. Complete this exercise in 3 sets of 10 while continuing to alternate sides. 

3. Single Leg Lifts 

Sometimes, you want a little variety when it comes to captain chair exercises. This exercise concentrates on one leg at a time while still working your abs and shoulders. With single-leg lifts, you need to keep your shoulders relaxed to avoid any strain. 

  1. Pull your right knee towards your chest, while leaving your other leg hanging. 
  2. Return your right leg to its dangling position. 
  3. Pull your left knee towards your chest, while your right is dangling. 
  4. Return your left leg to its hanging position. 
  5. Repeat this by doing 3 sets of 10 reps.

4. Captains Chair Twist

This is great for a beginner wanting something to change up their routine, instead of just doing leg lifts. 

  1. Bend your knees and pull them towards your chest.
  2. Twist your torso as you are lifting your knees so they are at an angle. 
  3. Return to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat twisting to both sides and complete 3 sets of 10. 

5. Bent Knee Leg Raise

This is a great exercise to start off with if you are a beginner, it allows you to build your strength while keeping the exercise simple. 

  1. Keeping your legs together, bend your knees so you are in a squat position. 
  2. Lift your knees towards your chest. 
  3. Slowly return back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat in sets of 3 of 10-12 reps. 

6. Leg Hold

The leg hold is a slight variation of the exercise above. Instead of returning your legs to the starting position you are going to hold it. This allows you to really feel an intense burn. If you struggle to hold for very long, that’s okay – just slowly increase your hold time as you get stronger. 

  1. Bend your knees and raise them to create a right angle. 
  2. Hold this position for 30 seconds (increase hold time as you get stronger). 
  3. Slowly return to the beginning position. 
  4. Repeat this exercise at least 5 times. 

7. Bicycle Crunches

This exercise is more for those with a bit of strength behind them. The Bicycle crunches are challenging and allow you to develop a sweat and increase your heart rate. 

  1. Lift your right leg so it creates a right angle and let your left leg hang. 
  2. Simultaneously, drop your right leg and lift your left leg. 
  3. Continue to repeat steps 1 and 2 to create a cycling movement. 


Your thighs should always be parallel to the ground, while your knees are at the same height as your hips. Keep a steady pace to ensure you get your blood pumping. 

8. Scissor Kicks

If you want to step things up the following exercise is going to be great for getting some elements of cardio on leg day.

  1. Lift your right left so that it is parallel to the ground. 
  2. Simultaneously, lift your right leg while dropping your left. 
  3. Continue this movement without stopping. Remember to remain at the same pace. 


This exercise is meant to be explosive. Power through the burn to really push yourself.

9. Weighted Raises

Once you start building up your muscle and toning your body, you are going to find yourself require a high number of reps to feel a burn. But not to worry, weight raises are the perfect exercise for you. 

  1. Grab a dumbbell that is an appropriate weight.
  2. Clasp the dumbbell between your feet. 
  3. Lift your knees towards your chest, keeping your legs straight. 
  4. Do this exercise in 3 sets of 10-12 reps. 

10. Criss Cross

This is a rather challenging exercise. The Criss-Cross requires you to maintain tension while crossing your legs over horizontally.

  1. Lift your legs so they create a right angle. You need to have a reasonable distance between your legs.
  2. Simultaneously, bring both your legs inwards. 
  3. Cross your right leg over the left leg.
  4. Uncross your legs, so you have the gap between them again. 
  5. Now, bring both your legs inwards crossing your left leg over your right leg this time. 
  6. Uncross your legs back to the prior position. 
  7. Repeat this maintaining pace. 


There you have it, 10 Captain Chair exercises to tone your body with ease and change up your routine.

All of these exercises target multiple muscle groups from your back and arms to your shoulders and legs. Keep up the hard work and tone that body up – there are no excuses! 

Check out the video below if you are struggling with some of these exercises!