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8 Couch Exercises for Working up a Sweat During Your Next Netflix Binge

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No longer just the place where you curl up for a movie marathon, in recent weeks, your couch has likely also become your office, classroom, and bar (just me?). Now, you can add gym to that list. Fitness pros agree that interrupting your regularly scheduling sitting for some easy couch exercises could be just what your body needs in these more sedentary times.

“Short couch routines are a perfect way to keep your blood moving, strengthen and stretch your muscles, and give you a brief physical reset between Zoom meetings and deadlines,” says New York City-based personal trainer Allison Kimmel. “The increased blood flow will help you focus and keep your body from suffering the consequences of an entire day seated in front of your computer.”

So whether you want to squeeze in a quick workout during your lunch break or in the evening while unwinding and watching TV, here are a handful of trainer-approved couch exercises you can try. Fair warning: Just because these moves are couch-friendly, that doesn’t mean they won’t make you sweat.

8 couch exercises for when you’re feeling lazy but still want to work out

Step-ups

No step, no problem. You can still get your step-ups in with the help of your couch. “Start by facing your couch and standing strong with both feet shoulder-width apart,” says Los Angeles-based personal trainer Daniel Saltos. “Lift your right leg and firmly plant your right foot on the couch and bring your left leg to meet you at the top. Step down and repeat on the left leg.” Repeat for three sets of 20 reps, and you’ll for sure feel the burn.

Hip thrusts

Give your booty a workout during the next commercial break with a few hip thrusts. To do them, sit on the couch with your knees bent and both feet flat on the ground. Then Saltos says, “lean back so that your shoulder blades are on the sofa, chin tucked into your chest, hands at the side of your head, and raise your hips as high as you can while squeezing your glutes. Lower your hips and repeat.” He recommends doing three sets of 15 reps.

Rear-foot elevated split squat

To take your squats up a notch, try this: “Start in a lunge position with your rear foot placed on your sofa,” Saltos says. “Bend your knee so that your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your knee stays behind your toe.” Then return to a standing position and do 10-12 reps per leg for three sets.

Feet-elevated crunch

Your abs can also get some love during a couch workout. Saltos recommends lying down on the floor in front of the couch with your butt and thighs touching the sofa.

“Bend your knees to rest your calves and heels on the sofa,” he says. “Place your hands at the side of your head at your temples. Lift your shoulders off the ground about 1 or 2 inches, draw your navel in towards your spine, and repeat.” Do about 15-20 reps for three sets, and you’re good to go.

Incline push-ups

Push-ups have become the COVID-19 workout. But, if you want to make them a bit more challenging, your couch can help with that. “Start with your hands on the sofa at shoulder width,” Saltos says. Be sure to spread your fingers and engage your core as you lower your chest and belly button towards the sofa. Then push up to return to the starting position and repeat for 10-15 reps for three sets.

Sit to stand

If you’re going to get up from the couch every once in a while, whether it’s to use the bathroom, grab a snack, or pour yourself a glass of water, you may as well make it an exercise. To do so, Kimmel says to start at a seat position at the edge of the couch with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Then slowly stand up and sit back down a few times. Next, make things a bit more challenging by doing a few squat taps where your butt touches the couch, and then you quickly stand back up without fully sitting down.

Mountain climbers

There’s a right way to do a mountain climber, and then there are mountain climbers but with a couch twist. To do it, start by facing the couch and come into a plank position with your hands on the sofa. Then, “bring one knee up toward your hands and jump to switch knees,” Kimmel says. “This movement is like running in a plank position.”

Long jump burpee

You can mix some burpees into your couch routine, too. (We told you it would make you sweat!) Begin by standing about 5 feet away from the couch, Kimmel says. Then, take a big jump forward toward the sofa as you place your hands on the couch. Next, jump back into a plank and jump back in and walk backward to reset your space and start again.

How to create an entire couch exercise routine

Doing a few couch push-ups during commercials or elevated crunches when you need a mental break from work will certainly get your heart pumping. But, you can also do your entire workout routine from start to finish without ever leaving the couch—aka a couch potato’s dream.

When creating your ultimate couch workout routine, Kimmel recommends starting with some stretching, following that with a few strength and cardio sets (think mountain climbers or burpees), and ending with some more stretching to ensure it’s a well-balanced routine. “It’s usually a good idea to alternate muscle groups and cardio sets,” she says.

So here’s a couple of templates of what your couch exercise routine could look like:

Example #1:

  • Stretch
  • Lower body strength exercise
  • Upper body strength exercise
  • Burst of cardio
  • Abdominal exercise
  • Repeat
  • Stretch some more

Example #2

  • Stretch
  • Lower body strength exercise
  • Burst of cardio
  • Upper body strength exercise
  • Burst of cardio
  • Abdominal exercise
  • Cool-down stretch

For an extra challenge, you can make a few small modifications to the above formulas. “You can [also] increase the intensity of your program by repeating and lengthening your cardio set and decreasing the time between one movement and the next,” Kimmel says.

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