Seated Total Body for Overweight and Obese Exercisers

This total body workout targets the upper and lower body with a variety of exercises that can be done while seated, making it a great choice for overweight or obese exercisers who may need more support during exercise. 


Seated Total Body for Overweight Exercisers

Woman Lifting Weights
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For some lower body exercises, you can add ankle weights for more intensity. The upper body exercises use dumbbells and/or resistance bands for intensity. You can also make the workout harder by sitting on an unstable surface, such as an exercise ball.


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions and modify any exercise that causes pain or discomfort.

Equipment Needed

A chair, resistance bands with various tensions, paper plates, a medicine ball, various weighted dumbbells.

How To

  1. Choose a chair that allows you to keep your knees at 90 degrees when seated.
  2. Sit up tall during each exercise and use your abs to maintain good posture.
  3. Perform each exercise for 1 set of 16 repetitions. After you're familiar with the moves and feel ready, increase to 2 or more sets
  4. Do this workout 2-3 nonconsecutive days a week, taking at least one day of rest between workouts.

Seated Slides Back and Forth

Sit tall and place paper plates under each foot. Push onto the right plate and slide the foot forward.  Slide the foot back, pressing onto the plate to activate the hamstrings while sliding the left foot forward.  Continue alternating for 16 reps (one rep includes both right and left slides).


Seated Outer Thigh

Sit tall in the chair and tie a band around the mid-thighs.  Step the right foot out to the side, touch lightly and then bring it back in, focusing on the outer thigh.  Repeat, stepping out with the left foot and repeat for a total of 16 reps (one rep includes both the right and left taps).


Leg Extensions

Sit tall with feet flat on the floor and knees together.  Squeeze the quads to straighten the right leg, foot flexed. Bend the knee to lower the foot, lightly touching the floor. Repeat for 20 reps and switch sides. Add ankle weights for more intensity if desired.


Seated Ball Taps

Place a medicine ball in front of you and sit tall with the abs engaged. Lift the right foot and tap the toes on top of the medicine ball. Take it back down and tap with the left foot. Continue tapping the ball, alternating feet, as fast as you can repeating for 16-20 reps.


Inner Thigh Squeeze

While seated with good posture, place a ball between your knees. Squeeze the ball by contracting the inner thighs and release slightly--don't release all the way--and repeat for 16 reps.


Lat Pull With Band

While seated with good posture, hold a medium-tension band in both hands up above and slightly in front of your head. The distance between your hands will determine the intensity of the exercise (closer together is harder, further apart is easier). Contract the back and pull the right elbow down toward the ribcage.  Release and repeat for 16 reps before switching sides. 


Chest Squeeze With Med Ball

Sit on a ball or chair, back straight and abs in. Hold a medicine ball (or any other type of ball) at chest level and squeeze the ball to contract the chest. While continuing to squeeze the ball, slowly push the ball out in front of you at chest level until elbows are almost straight. Continuing the pressure with your hands, bend the elbows and pull the ball back to chest. Repeat for 16 reps.


Seated Lateral Raise

Sit with good posture holding light-medium dumbbells at your sides. Keeping the elbows slightly bent and wrists straight, lift the arms up to shoulder level (palms face the floor). Lower back down and repeat for 16 reps.


Overhead Press

Sit with good posture holding light-medium dumbbells in both hands.  Begin the move with arms bent to 90 degrees, weights next to the ears (arms should look like a goal post). Press the weights overhead and lower back down, repeating for 16 reps. 


Biceps Curls

Sit and hold light to medium dumbbells. Curl the weight up toward your shoulder and release. Avoid swinging the weights and keep the abs engaged. Repeat for 16 reps.


Triceps Extensions With Bands

Sit with good posture holding a band out in front of you with elbows bent out to the sides at shoulder level, palms facing the floor – the distance of your hands will determine the intensity. While keeping the left hand in place, straighten the right arm out to the side until it's parallel to the floor, squeezing the back of the arm. Move back to start and repeat for 16 reps before switching sides.


Seated Rotation for Abs

Sit with good posture holding a medium dumbbell in front of your chest. Keeping the abs contracted, rotate the torso to the right while keeping the hips and legs facing forward. Contract abs to bring the weight back to center and then rotate to the left. Repeat for 12 reps.

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  1. McQueen MA. Exercise Aspects of Obesity TreatmentOchsner J. 2009;9(3):140-143.