Captain Chair Exercises

A conventional captain’s chair is a chair that has arm rests and a backrest. In fitness terminology, the captain’s chair takes on this appearance with some obvious differences. It has a backrest, padded arm rests and foot holds off to the sides at the bottom. Exercises are performed by placing your forearms across the padded arm rests, gripping the handles found on the ends and lifting your feet from the foot holds.

Knee Tucks

Knee tucks are also known as reverse crunches or pull-ins. According to the American Council on Exercise, this captain’s chair exercise activates the rectus abdominis and obliques simultaneously. Rectus abdominis is the anatomical name for stomach muscles. Place your forearms on the arm rests, grip the handles and place your feet on the foot holds. Keeping your back tight against the back rest, lift your feet off the holds and straighten your body. Carefully pull your knees up to your chest and squeeze your abs forcefully. Slowly lower and repeat 15 to 20 times.

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts work your lower and upper abs in similar fashion to knee tucks, but they are more difficult. Assume the same starting position as knee tucks with your legs hanging straight down. Keeping your legs straight, lift them up until they are parallel to the floor, slowly lower and repeat for 15 to 20 repetitions. To increase the challenge, lift your legs as high as possible.

Scissor Kicks

Scissor kicks work your abdominals with your legs in a fluttering motion. Position yourself on the chair with your legs hanging down. In a steady motion, lower and lift your legs in an alternating fashion for 15 to 20 repetitions. When raising your legs, try to get them at least level to the floor. For an easier variation, bend your knees and pull them up to your chest in an alternating fashion. With either exercise, move in a smooth and controlled motion. Ab training is all about proper execution and forceful contractions, not high reps with poor form.

Oblique Pull-ins

Although oblique pull-ins emphasize your sides, the upper and lower abs get worked as well. While in the starting position with your legs hanging down, pull your knees up toward your right shoulder. After squeezing your obliques, lower your legs and repeat to your left side. Alternate back and forth 15 to 20 times.

For a more difficult oblique exercise, extend your legs out straight and draw clockwise and counterclockwise circles in the air.

About this Author

Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor\’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.