Sit and stand leg strengthener

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This is a Body MOT exer­cise. Click to find out why

What it’s good for Strengthening the muscles that let you bend and straighten your legs. Daily examples include:

  • get­ting on and off the toi­let
  • being able to sit down on chairs, benches and sofas without wor­ry­ing about whether you’ll be able to get up again
  • crouch­ing down to look at the grill or in the oven
  • crouch­ing to find some­thing on a low shelf
How often to do it Daily
Equipment you’ll need A solid kit­chen chair, no arms

  • Sit at the front of the chair
  • Place your hands at the sides of the chair and your feet fully on the ground as close to the chair as they will go, knees point­ing for­wards
  • To stand up, gently pull in your lower abs (belly but­ton) and push off
  • Straighten up fully, and stand still in bal­ance for a moment
  • Shuffle back until you can feel the chair against your legs (don’t turn round to look at it!)
  • Pull in your lower abs (belly but­ton) and push your bot­tom back­wards and down­wards to lower you down again slowly, without using your hands
  • Keep your eyes look­ing for­wards while you sit down
  • Rest for a couple of seconds then shuffle for­wards, ready to start again.

Aim to repeat the exer­cise 10 times

Cannot do this at all? If you are find­ing this impossible, click here for an altern­at­ive.

Varying the exer­cise for more chal­lenge

Once you can sit and stand 10 times eas­ily, you need to make the exer­cise a bit harder to con­tinue strength­en­ing your muscles. Work through each of these pro­gres­sions in turn: once you can do the first one 10 times com­fort­ably, move on to the next one.

The pro­gres­sions

Progression 1: Push off from thighs
Instead of push­ing off with your hands at the sides of the chair, place your hands on your mid-​thighs to push off

Progression 2: No hands
Let your arms hang by your sides, so you are push­ing off without using hands, just legs alone

Progression 3: Arms crossed
Cross your arms across your chest as you stand and lower down

Progression 4: Slow motion des­cent
Stand up without using hands. Then sit down again in slow motion, so it takes a slow count of 5 from stand­ing to sit­ting again

Progression 5: Half-​sit and hold
Stand up without using hands. Then start sit­ting down again until you get half-​way. Stop there, count­ing to 3 while you keep your lower abs (belly but­ton) gently pulling in, then carry on sit­ting down

Progression 6: Half-​sit with longer hold
Same as 5, but count to 5 instead of 3 when you stop half-​way down

Able to do all of these? You are ready to move on to squats and lunges.

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