The Sofa Workout

Even if you have a serious TV addiction and don’t fancy leaving your sofa tonight after a hard day at can still workout without leaving the comfort of your living room! Whether you want to train during every ad break or watch your favourite show while exercising, this is the perfect workout for you!

Aim to do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise with progressions as your muscular endurance and strength improve. You will be surprised how much difference even a short workout will make to your physique, health and energy levels.

Sofa Tricep Dips

Depending on the height of your sofa you can use either the seat or arm to perform tricep dips. With your back facing the sofa, place your hands on the edge of the surface you have chosen with fingers pointing towards your body. You can alter your leg position depending on how advanced you would like the exercise to be. Maintaining straight legs is the traditional way to perform tricep dips, although you can perform them in a variety of ways including single leg dips.

Leg Raise Lunges

Perform lunges with your rear leg raised onto the sofa seat with alternating legs. You can perform these both forward facing and side facing to hit all the lower body muscle groups and engage the core.

Sitting Down Squats

Perform squats over your sofa. Lower yourself slowly as if about to sit down and just as your glutes make contact with the sofa stand up again. Do not let the sofa take any of your weight during the set.

Incline/ Decline Push-Ups

Depending on your fitness level, you can perform incline or decline push-ups using the seat of your sofa. Incline push-ups are performed with your hands placed on the sofa seat to relieve your upper body of some of your body weight during the exercise. This position particularly targets the deltoids and upper chest. Decline push ups increase the weight bearing on your upper body to make the exercise more challenging. For this version, you place your hands on the floor and feet on your sofa. This position targets the lower chest and places more resistance pressure on the triceps.

Advanced Mountain Climber

If you are not familiar with the mountain climber, it is an exercise which begins in an elevated plank position/starting push-up position. From here, you lift one leg and drive your knee towards your chest and replace it before switching legs. The faster this is performed, the quicker you will feel the burn in your abs. To include your sofa in this, simply begin with your feet on the sofa as opposed to on the floor. It raises the difficulty of the exercise as you have to bear more weight on your arms and it decreases the stability of the position making you work harder to maintain balance. Perform 12-15 reps per leg making a total of 24-30 reps per set.

Seated Leg Raises

Sit on the edge of your sofa and lift your feet off of the floor. To increase difficulty, perform this exercise with legs outstretched. Keeping your feet as close to the ground without touching the floor as possible, pulse your feet upwards. The smaller the movement, the more difficult it will be. Each pulse counts as 1 rep. Alternatives to this exercise include swimming kicks, circular swings and criss-cross feet.

Isometric Cushion Squeeze

Sit on the edge of the sofa with feet together and placed firmly on the floor. Place a pillow between your legs and squeeze your knees inward. Hold the pillow in place for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Thigh Master Leg Lift

Lie down on one side and prop yourself up on the elbow closest to your sofa cushion. Lift the upper leg and lower without allowing contact between your working and resting leg between reps. This exercise targets the outer quad, hamstring and glutes. I would recommend increasing the reps on this exercise to reap the most benefit. Aim for 2-3 sets of 20-25 reps per leg.

Inner Leg Lift

From the same position place the foot of your upper leg on the floor/sofa in front of your thigh. If you lack flexibility, you may have to hold your ankle to steady this leg. Lift the lower leg in the same way you did in the previous exercise and pulse. Again, aim for 2-3 sets of 20-25 reps per leg. This exercise targets inner quads, calf and transverse abdominals.

Advanced Side Crunches

This exercise is an advanced version of the standard side sit up designed to maximise the number of muscle groups working and increase the resistance during the exercise. As you perform the side crunch, lift your legs towards the ceiling. Always ensure that your head is supported and you are not pulling on your neck. Initially, you can rest upper body weight on your elbow as with the leg lift exercises. Eventually, you should aim to perform these crunches with no support.

Power Plank

You can set a time for each plank starting from 30s and building upwards or you can set yourself challenges related to the television. For example, I will hold the plank position until this scene ends/ during this advert/ until the next ad break. For ways to increase the intensity of this exercise/ evolve the plank into a dynamic exercise check out our article on how to Power Up Your Plank For Amazing Abs (featured below).

Hip Thrust

Lie on your back on the floor and place your feet on the edge of the sofa seat. Lift your hips towards the ceiling until you form a straight diagonal line from head to knees. Lower without resting on the floor for maximal gain. This exercise targets the lower back, glutes, quads and abs.

*Resistance Row

Wrap the resistance band around a leg of the sofa and hold both ends. Sit with legs outstretched in an upright position facing the sofa leg. Pull the band towards you to perform one row. Depending on the resistance of the band you are using you may need to alter your rep range. This exercise predominantly targets biceps, trapezius, deltoids and chest.

*This exercise requires a resistance band.

Ideally you should add some cardiovascular/endurance training to this workout. Try using the ad breaks as ‘cardio’ time. Run up and down the stairs, perform jumping jacks, jog on the spot, perform high knees or fast feet sprinting drills. Another excellent and fun way to elevate your heart rate during the ad breaks is to use a hula hoop. It is an inexpensive piece of equipment which will help define your midsection while increasing overall fitness levels.

Equipment is not necessary for this workout, but the following are a useful addition:

- Resistance band

- Medicine ball

- Thigh Master

- Hula hoop

- Skipping rope

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.


  • [...] The sofa workout is a series of 13 exercises which you can do from the comfort of your sofa. Aim to do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise with progressions as your muscular endurance and strength improve. You will be surprised how much difference even a short workout will make to your physique, health and energy levels and you don’t have to miss out on the other things you enjoy! [...]

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