5 Easy Seated Abdominal Exercises To Strengthen Your Core

seated abdominal exercises

No matter what your age, having strong core muscles is vital for good posture and overall mobility.  

Your core muscles are the foundation of your body and strengthening them can also help alleviate lower back pain and improve trunk control.

There are many exercises designed to target your abdominal muscles and often these are floor based.  

Recommended Reading – 7 Best Upper Abs Workout & Exercises For A Six Pack Stomach

However, a core workout that involves movements such as abdominal crunches and Russian twists can be quite challenging, especially for seniors or those with pre-existing injuries.  

In this article, we’ll be suggesting some effective seated abdominal exercises so that you can reap the benefits of having a stronger core.  

Seated Abdominal Exercises For Beginners & Seniors

If you’re a beginner looking to strengthen your core, seated ab exercises are a great place to start.  

As they can be done from a seated position, this makes them accessible to anyone, regardless of fitness level or mobility.

The following exercises are suggested for example purposes only.  

Before starting a new exercise program, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a personal trainer, or other qualified professional, who can recommend exercises based on your circumstances and abilities.  

Seated Forward Roll-Up

The seated forward roll-up is one of the best chair exercises for abs. It’s a movement commonly performed in various fitness routines, including Pilates and Yoga.

When performed correctly it will engage and strengthen your core muscles, particularly the abdominal muscles, whilst also enhancing flexibility and spinal mobility.

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Steps To Perform The Seated Forward Roll-Up:

  1. Start in a seated position keeping your back straight and shoulder blades back.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the ground and directly under your knees.  
  3. Clasp your hands together and raise both arms directly above your head, keeping your arms straight. 
  4. Now, slowly bend forward at your hips lowering your chest towards your legs taking your hands down towards your feet. 
  5. Roll back up to a seated position sliding your hands up your legs.  
  6. Complete 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.  

Seated Captain’s Chair

The seated captain’s chair is one of the best core exercises for working your lower core muscles including the transverse abdominis (the deepest core muscle).  

You’ll need to perform this exercise on a stable chair.

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How To Perform The Seated Captain’s Chair:

  1. Start by sitting on the front edge of your chair with your feet hip-width apart and flat on the ground. 
  2. Grab hold of the edge of the chair with both hands.  This is the starting position. 
  3. Keeping your head up, squeeze your belly button towards your spine and slowly raise both knees up off the ground.   
  4. When your feet are a couple of inches off the ground, slowly lower back to the start and repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps. 

Seated Side Bends

The seated side bend exercise is a simple yet effective movement that targets the oblique muscles along the sides of your abdomen.  

You’ll need to perform this exercise on a chair without arm rests.  

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Steps For Doing The Seated Side Bend:

  1. Begin by sitting on a chair with feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Your knees and hips should be at a 90-degree angle.  
  3. Keeping your arms relaxed and down by your sides, slowly bend your right side so that your right hand lowers towards the ground. 
  4. It’s important to keep your upper body in a straight line and don’t bend your neck.
  5. Complete 10 repetitions and then switch to work the opposite side.  

Seated Bicycle Crunch

The seated bicycle crunch is one of the most effective chair core exercises for activating your obliques. These are muscles that run down your sides and work to rotate your torso.

It’s a variation on the traditional bicycle crunch exercise and mimics the pedaling motion of riding a bike and is designed to target your abdominal muscles.  

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How To Perform The Seated Bicycle Crunch:

  1. Start by sitting on the edge of your chair with feet hip width apart and maintaining and upright posture.   
  2. Place your hands behind your ears.  This is your starting position. 
  3. Rotate your upper body lowering your right elbow down to meet your left knee.  
  4. At the same time, raise your left leg up away from the ground.
  5. Return back to the start and repeat but this time moving in the opposite direction taking your left elbow to your right knee.  
  6. Perform 10 reps on each side for 2 sets. 

Seated Leg Lifts

Seated leg lifts, also known as seated leg raises or seated leg extensions, is an exercise that primarily target the muscles of the lower abdomen, including the hip flexors and the lower part of the rectus abdominis.

It’s also a great way of working your quadriceps, the large muscle to the front of your upper leg.  

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How To Perform Seated Leg Lifts:

  1. Sit towards the front edge of your chair with feet hip width apart. 
  2. Keep your right foot in position and extend your left leg resting the heel on the ground. 
  3. Pull the toes of your left foot towards you and then raise your leg up making sure to keep it straight. 
  4. Perform the movement to your full range of motion then lower back to the start, touching your heel on the floor. 
  5. Complete 10 reps then switch to work the opposite leg.  

Seated Plank Exercise

The seated plank is a very simple isometric exercise that is much easier to execute when compared to the standard floor plank.  

Its simplicity makes it a great beginner core exercise and it’s perfect for seniors.  

How To Perform The Seated Plank Exercise:

  1. Start by sitting on the edge of your seat with your feet on the ground and just beyond shoulder-width apart. Point your toes out a little if this is more comfortable. 
  2. Maintaining a straight spine, place the palms of your hands on your knees keeping your arms straight. 
  3. With your shoulders down, press your palms down onto your knees as hard as you can.  
  4. You should feel tension across your lats, serratus and your obliques.  

Remember, when doing seated core exercises, it’s important to start slowly and gradually building up your strength and endurance.

Always listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

With time and practice, you’ll be able to build a strong, healthy core that will support you in all your daily activities.

Benefits of Regular Seated Abdominal Exercises

Regular seated abdominal exercises can provide numerous benefits to your overall health and fitness. 

Incorporating these core strengthening exercises into your daily routine can help you achieve a stronger core, improved posture, better balance, and even visible abs. 

Here are some of the benefits when performing seated abdominal exercises on a regular basis:

Improved Core Strength

A strong core can help you maintain good posture, prevent low back pain, and improve your balance and stability.  

It can also help with functional movements patterns which are common movements you undertake on a daily basis, such as lifting and carrying.  

Better Posture

Seated abdominal exercises can also help you improve your posture.

By strengthening your core muscles, you can better support your spine and maintain proper alignment throughout the day.

This can help reduce the risk of back pain and other posture-related issues.

Defined Abdominals

Regular seated abdominal exercises can also help you achieve visible abs.

However, it’s worth noting that it’s necessary to maintain a healthy diet and engage in other forms of exercise, such as cardio and weight training in order to achieve a six pack.

Increased Flexibility

Seated abdominal exercises can also help improve your flexibility.

Many of these exercises involve twisting and bending, which can help increase your range of motion and improve your overall flexibility.


One of the biggest advantages of seated abdominal exercises is their convenience.

You can perform these exercises virtually anywhere, whether you’re at home, travelling or on your lunch break.

This makes them a great option if you have a busy schedule or limited access to a gym.

Before You Go

Whether you’re looking to strengthen your core, improve your posture, or achieve visible abs, the above suggested abdominal strengthening exercises can help you achieve your goals.

As we mentioned above, there are many exercises you can do to engage your abdominals.  

If you’re after something a little more challenging why not have a read of our article – exercise ball core strength workouts.  

Here you can find some great core-based movements that you can do using just an exercise ball.

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