For many people, the gym is not an option for their training needs, particularly those with mobility issues, and this is where seated exercises come in.  A simple upper body training plan can easily be undertaken in the comfort of your own home using just an inexpensive exercise band (obtainable online or at many sports retailers), a chair and a door handle!

The following routine can be undertaken in a matter of minutes and works all the major muscles of the upper body.

Prior to commencing the programme it is advisable to warm up a little, perhaps by marching/pushing on the spot followed by a few arm rotations, shoulder shrugs and band pull aparts.  Then onto the main body of the workout which can be performed as a circuit, one exercise after another, or for 2 or 3 sets of 10 -12 reps before changing exercise.

Band Chest Press:  This exercise works the chest muscles and is assisted by the triceps on the back of the arm and the front portion of the shoulder complex.  Attach the band to a door handle and move forward until the slack is taken out.  With one end of the band in each hand, press the arms forwards until straight before returning to the start position slowly and under control.

Band Row:  The row works the back muscles with assistance from the biceps on the front of the arm and the rear portion of the shoulder.  Facing the door, once again we position ourselves back until the slack is taken out of the band, before bending the arms and rowing towards the body.  By rotating the hands as we do so, we also activate the bicep a little more.  Return slowly and under control to initial position and repeat for reps

Band Triceps Kickback:  This exercise works the triceps muscles on the back of the arm which are responsible for straightening the arm.  In the same starting position as the row (facing the door), we bend forwards and, keeping our upper arms locked into our sides, extend both arms backwards until straight, before once again returning to the start position in a controlled manner.

Band Bicep Curl:  The classic bicep curl can be performed using the band by facing away from the door with your hands at your sides and an end of the band in each hand.  We then bend the elbow using the biceps muscles on the front of the arm until our hands are nearly to our chest before returning to the start position with our arms straight.

Lateral Raise:  The final exercise works the medial, or middle, portion of your shoulders (we worked the front and back when exercising the chest and back) and involves passing the band underneath a chair then holding on to each end with arms at our sides.  From this start position, we then raise our arms out to the side until parallel to the floor, ensuring that we maintain a slight bend in the elbow throughout.  Slowly lower to the start position before repeating. 

And there it is, a simple routine working all the muscles of the upper body performed in the privacy of your own home in a short period of time.  Now go put the kettle on!

Often those less mobile feel that they are unable to undertake exercise in the traditional sense, but hopefully this has shown that exercise need not be complicated or have to be undertaken in a busy, intimidating gym, but can instead be done in the privacy of your own home with minimal equipment.  These exercises are accessible for all abilities, but are particularly useful for the elderly or disabled person looking to gain some strength and help maintain some level of independence.  As a wheelchair user myself following a spinal injury, I am more than aware of the difficulties faced by the lesser mobile when it comes to keeping fit and often use bands myself to work the upper body.

Keep moving & keep smiling!


I am a fully qualified Personal Trainer with over 22 years’ experience. Find out more about my specific training and qualifications or book a personal training session.

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