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The Ultimate Seated Full-body Workout

Not able to carry the load while on your feet? These seated exercises will get the job done.

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  • 50-min

  • 9

  • Yes

Bodybuilder doing a shoulder workout with a seated dumbbell lateral raise exercise
Ian Spanier
Bodybuilder doing a shoulder workout with a seated dumbbell lateral raise exercise
Ian Spanier

People with injuries and disabilities are often sedentary, believing that their limitations prevent them from getting a good workout. Truth is, you don’t need to be at 100% to reap the rewards of an intense training session at the gym. In fact, you can even get in a hardcore, muscle-blasting workout without ever being on your feet. All you need to do is take a seat.

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Along with improving flexibility, strength, and balance, seated exercise takes the pressure off lower extremities during heavy lifts while targeting the muscles that are strong enough to carry the load. Whatever your setback—a leg injury, bad back, foot pain—it’s not an excuse to call it quits with the iron. You can still stay in the game by parking it with these highly effective exercises that can all be performed while seated.

So if you need to get off your feet for a few training sessions while your body is healing, give this seated workout a go to stay in optimal shape and keep those muscles firing on all cylinders.

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Routine

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Ultimate Seated Workout

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
7-9
Rest
--
How to
Make sure to keep your ribcage high and your shoulders shrugged back, feet firmly on the ground for support to keep full focus on the target muscles.
Exercise 2 of 9

Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
4-6
Rest
--
The angle we’re looking for is about 70 degrees. Perform exercises with a pair of DBs or on a smith machine. Make sure to keep your ribcage high and your shoulders shrugged back.
Exercise 3 of 9

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Bench, Lat Pulldown Bar
Sets
4
Reps
10-12
Rest
--
It is very important that the weight is not your focus here, it should be challenging but you need to get full range of motion with every rep to be able to reap the benefits and get that width you desire.
Exercise 4 of 9

Seated Cable Row

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
7-9
Rest
--
Keep strict form. Using a close-grip, pull the handle in for one second, hold at peak contraction for 2 and low the handle back for a count of 3.
Exercise 5 of 9

Seated Lateral Raise

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
10-12
Rest
--
This can be performed with a 90 degree bench and dumbbells, or on a seated side lateral raise machine. Do this movement strictly with no momentum for a maximum pump.
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
7-9
Rest
--
Sit on a 90 degree angle bench, grab a barbell, or set of dumbbells, and press up in an explosive manner but lower slowly. Draw out the eccentric to really tear those muscle fibers. Keep your core tight and don’t jerk, form here is key.
Exercise 7 of 9

Seated Dumbbell Shrug

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
4-6
Rest
--
Seated at a 90 degree incline grab a set of Dumbbells, make sure you get a full range of motion trying to pull the traps up as close to the ear as possible, allowing the traps to stretch at the bottom and contract intensely at the top.
Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
12-15
Rest
--
How to
Pause at the top of the contraction for a second or two and then slowly lower for a count of three getting a good stretch at the bottom.
Exercise 9 of 9

Seated Hamstring Curl

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
12-15
Rest
--
How to
Make sure you accentuate the squeeze of the contraction and slowly lower the weight stack back fully utilizing the eccentric of the movement.
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