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With gyms still closed and exercise equipment backordered for months, we have to get more creative than ever with our workout routines. Who needs dumbbells when you have a handy dandy sofa? Now, not only can you stay on top of your Netflix stream from your cozy couch, but you can also stay in tip-top physical shape with these couch bound exercises. 

1. Decline Mountain Climber

According to Hit House instructor and personal trainer, Michael Pierce, you can use the couch for support to complete a set of Decline Mountain Climbers. Position your hands on the floor and stretch out into a plank position with your feet resting on the couch. Make sure your booty is down and your back is straight. Moving at a walking pace or slower, tuck your left leg into your stomach and back out, repeat the movement with your right leg, and then finish the rep with a push up. Climb that couch! 

2. Reverse Pillow Crunches

Brianna Biffignani, Professional Dancer and ACE certified fitness professional, suggests putting your couch pillows to work. On the couch lying flat on your back, pull your knees into your chest with your shins parallel to the couch, and place the pillow on your shins. From there, straighten out your legs until your feet are about six inches above the couch and reach both arms straight over your head. Bring your knees back into your chest and grab the pillow with both hands. Be sure that your belly button pulls down through the spine to prevent your back from arching and focus on relaxing your neck. Continue this movement back and forth - as your knees come back into your chest, place the pillow back on your shins and repeat. For an added abdominal challenge keep your shoulder blades lifted off the couch. You should feel this movement in your core, upper and lower abs, and possibly your glutes. If you start to feel this movement in your hip flexors be sure to engage your lower abs more and experiment with turning the legs in or out as they extend. 

3. Elevated Glute Bridge

According to pilates instructor & founder of cam on demand, Cam Norsworthy, you can do more with your booty on the couch than just sitting on it. Start on the floor, reclined on your back, facing the couch cushions. From there, place both heels on top of the cushions, shifting your weight into your feet. Squeeze through the back on your legs and lift your hips off of the floor, creating a steep diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. Keep the tips of your shoulder blades on the floor to prevent any pressure on the neck. Start with a hold, then progress to small pulses up and down an inch. If your lower back feels any pressure, lower the hips a bit and re-grip through the glutes. If you’re looking for a challenge try to increase to a larger range of motion. You may also go for a single-legged option, straightening one leg to the ceiling as the hips lift and lower.

4. Leg Pull Back + Tricep Dips

Owner of The Pilates Nook, Rowena Villanueva, combines leg and arm movements to create a full body burn from your couch. Start with your hands on the edge of the couch with your fingers facing forward. Hover your hips in a seated position and stretch your legs all the way out in front of you with your soles of your feet on the floor. Roll your shoulders away from your ears and dip your triceps keeping your elbows back, and straighten your arms. Press down your feet to use your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips and engage your deep core. Hold your body in one long line and kick one leg up on an inhale. Slowly lower it down in a controlled manner as you exhale. Repeat this movement four times, then dip your hips back, tricep dip again, and start over. Avoid hyperextending your elbows and knees, and make sure to utilize your glutes and hamstrings to protect your low back. 

5. Reverse Frog Pumps

Lying on your stomach, press your hips into the couch and make a diamond shape with your legs, knees out and feet together. Using your glutes, lift and lower your legs while maintaining the diamond position. For maximum effectiveness, try to slow down as you lift your legs up and be sure to hold them for a moment at the top. You should feel this movement primarily in your glutes, so if you notice your low back getting involved be sure to make sure your legs are not coming up too far. Dancer and coach (for Dancers Who Lift and Hit House), Marissa Graham, suggests completing 3 sets of 15. 

6. Bird Dog 

Begin in a table top position with hands and knees on your couch. Roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears, and engage the core to create space between your torso and the couch. Extend your right arm forward and your left leg back, finding length from fingertips to toes as your limbs reach in opposition. Slowly control back to your starting table top and transition to the other side. Founder & Movement Director of The Ness, Aly Giampolo, explains that your main focus with this movement should be your center, especially when performing this move on your couch. In all of it's innately comfy glory your couch will try and pull you down, making it more difficult to access your core in support of your arms and legs. Save relaxing for later; rather than sinking down into your couch imagine that you're weightless, lifting up and away from the cushions. 

7. Static Squat Hold

For a simple but effective isometric move, stand in front of the couch with your back facing the couch. Slowly lower your body into a squat position until you feel your glutes make contact with the edge of the couch. Hold this position for a full 3 minutes, the same time as a full Muay Thai boxing round. Make sure that your weight is distributed evenly. To get maximum results out of the static squat hold, shift your weight back on your heels. This is a physically and mentally demanding move so focus on each breast to sustain yourself. Martial arts fighter and Hit House instructor Johnny Bianco promises that the reward at the end will be worth it! 

8. Box Squat

Founding trainer at Hit House and striking coach at NG Combat, Justin Ng explains how to utilize your couch in an explosive plyometric exercise designed to increase your power. Exercise that can be done utilizing a couch is the box squat. It’s an explosive plyometric exercise that will increase your power. Begin to slowly squat near the edge of your sofa. Once contact is reached, explode up off the ground and reach new heights! Remember to brace yourself for landing by keeping your core tight to prevent instability. Make sure to land on the balls of your feet to decrease the impact on your joints. Focus on completing as many reps as possible in a 30 second to 2 minute time frame. 

9. Thighs by the Alphabet

Teacher, Muay Thai Practitioner, Hit House instructor, and cat mom Hali Englert stays busy, but she has time for this move. explains how to work your core, quads, and hips on the couch, without ever even standing up. Sit in a figure four, reclined or upright. Stick one leg out from the couch, flex your foot and pull your toes towards your face. Instead of completing a specific number of reps, use your heel to trace the outline of the entire alphabet while keeping your leg straightened and foot flexed. You can do a round of capital letters, a round of lowercase letters, a round of large letters, and a round of small letters. Then, switch to the other leg. Not only does this exercise improve stability, but also it helps to increase your mobility and range of motion. 

10. Push Kick

Can’t #BeatUpBishop today? Luckily, you can pushkick the couch. Tobias Wong, musician, actor and Muay Thai instructor at Hit House, suggests that you continuously pushkick your couch pillows, especially if you need to blow off some steam.

Emma Boelter graduated from Tulane University with a BA in English in 2017 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Although she has writing experience in many different areas, right now she is focusing on providing clients with high-quality digital material. She currently lives in New Orleans, LA. 

Dana VanPamelen is the co-owner of Hit House, a Muay Thai Kickboxing studio in NYC. She has a Masters degree in Marketing from Hofstra University, loves kickboxing and also loves her couch.

Photo credit Retha Ferguson


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