Seated workouts are versatile because they can be performed by people of all fitness levels, and those with limited mobility don’t have to be excluded from the equation. That’s something Aaron Sloan, head coach and owner of Engine Room Boxing in Tulsa, OK, believes in — bringing fitness to people of various abilities. He’s a USA Boxing-certified coach who runs general boxing classes out of his gym, but he’s also the creator of Ready To Fight, a boxing program specific to Parkinson’s patients with limited mobility.
The boxing workouts that Sloan does with his Parkinson’s clients are focused on increasing balance and reaction time both away from and at the punching bag. He told POPSUGAR that, in general, seated workouts for people with restricted mobility should be done in a safe environment, include a good warmup and cooldown to properly prepare and recover from the bulk of the workout, and have a mixture of head-to-toe movements for maximum range of motion.
“Interval workouts should be included when possible to allow the client to spike their heart rate and learn to recover quickly,” Sloan added, noting to make sure that you work your way up in intensity if needed. He created a custom seated workout, inspired by boxing, for POPSUGAR that takes about half an hour to complete and is inclusive of many levels, yet also tailored to those who have limited mobility.
Aaron Sloan’s 30-Minute, Low-Impact Seated Boxing Workout
Equipment needed: light dumbbells (we recommend three to five pounds) or water bottles and a sturdy chair.
Directions: Before starting the workout, Sloan said to warm up with six dynamic stretches. They are head turns, arm circles, exaggerated arm swings, pancake flips, waist twists, and knee lifts. Complete each move twice for 30 seconds, taking 15 seconds of rest in between, then advance to the following move.
The workout itself is split into three parts: a plyometric round, a strength-training circuit, and a cardio circuit. For the plyometric round, you’ll hold each exercise for five seconds, repeating for a total of three times, followed by 10 seconds of rest before going to the next move. Then there are two circuits that you’ll do for two rounds each with 30 seconds of rest in between each round. For the strength-training circuit, you’ll do 10 reps of all four exercises, resting for five seconds in between each move. Next, you’ll perform each exercise in the cardio circuit for 15 seconds, with 15 seconds of rest in between the moves.
You’ll end the workout with five static cooldown stretches pictured ahead: hand stretch, neck rolls, cross-body shoulder stretch, knee stretch, and figure four. We’ve mapped out below what the three-section workout looks like. If you want to make modifications, you can (Sloan noted to take longer breaks if needed), and you can also increase your weight or reps and take shorter breaks for a more difficult workout.
- Seated hand pull: hold for five seconds and repeat three reps total, then take 10 seconds of rest
- Seated hand push: hold for five seconds and repeat three reps total, then take 10 seconds of rest
- Seated pull-up: hold for five seconds and repeat three reps total
Rest for 30 seconds before moving to the strength-training circuit.
Strength-Training Circuit: Two Rounds
- Bicep curl: 10 reps, then rest for five seconds
- Lateral arm raise: 10 reps, then rest for five seconds
- Overhead press: 10 reps, then rest for five seconds
- Alternating punch: 10 reps
Rest for 30 seconds after completing all four exercises, then repeat this circuit for one more round. Take a 30-second rest before advancing to the cardio circuit.
Cardio Circuit: Two Rounds
- Fast alternating punch: 15 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds
- Running in place: 15 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds
- Fast feet: 15 seconds
Rest for 30 seconds after completing all three exercises, then repeat this circuit for one more round. If you’d like, repeat for three rounds total.
Keep reading for step-by-step directions for how to perform each exercise, including the warmup and cooldown moves. Bobby Moore, Sloan’s Ready to Fight client of five years, demonstrates each move. Grab a chair and a set of light dumbbells, and get to work!