Couch Workout: Eight Exercises to Do on the Couch

Get fit from your favorite piece of furniture with this Pro Tips at-home fitness routine.

March 31, 2020

There’s only so much time in the day, which means sometimes you have to make tough choices like deciding between catching up on TV or getting in your workout. But what if we told you that you didn’t have to choose?


Pro Tips spoke with certified personal trainer Caitlin Wass to compile eight of the best couch exercises so you can work out while you chill out. Put on your favorite show and get started with this couch potato workout.


SEATED CRUNCHES – 3 sets of 12 reps



Seated crunches are one of our favorite couch ab exercises. For this move you will:


  • Sit on the edge of your couch.
  • Grip the front of the cushions with your hands.
  • Lean back slightly while extending your legs. Your heels should be around six inches off the floor.
  • Begin to bend your knees and raise your legs toward your chest.
  • Extend your legs back out and repeat.

LEG RAISES – 4 sets of 10 reps



If you’re looking to do ab exercises while sitting on the couch, we’ll raise you one better. For this movement, you can start by lying down.


  • Lie on your couch face up with your legs extended.
  • Position your hands with your palms down so that they are underneath your lower back.
  • Raise your legs toward the ceiling. Keep them straight with your thighs pressed together. Make sure you keep your back and core tucked. Your back should not round off the couch.
  • Continue raising your legs until you can’t go any higher.
  • Lower your legs down and repeat.

RUSSIAN TWISTS – 3 sets of 20 reps



This next movement is another great way to get in a couch ab workout. However, you will need a simple piece of equipment: your pillow.


  • Sit near the edge of your couch.
  • Extend your legs so that they are slightly bent and crossed at the ankles.
  • Grab your pillow and twist your upper body from side to side. Your legs should not move.

Modification: If you need to, you can modify this move by sitting sideways and placing your feet on the couch.


CLAMSHELLS – 3 sets of 15 reps



Clamshells are truly a lounger’s best friend. This couch exercise can help to strengthen your hips and your glutes.


  • Lie on your side with your hand propping up your head.
  • Stack your legs and bend your knees at a 45-degree angle.
  • Keep your feet together and lift your upper knee. Make sure the rest of your body remains still.
  • Hold the position for three seconds while also being sure to squeeze your glutes, and then return.
  • Repeat and switch sides.

COUCH SQUATS – 4 sets of 10 reps



This box squat variation utilizes your body weight to target your quads, hamstrings and glutes.


  • Stand up about six inches in front of your couch.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your hands on your hips, in front of you or behind your head.
  • While keeping your back straight, move your hips backward and bend your knees. Your thighs should be parallel with the floor.
  • Lower yourself until you are seated on your couch. Pause.
  • Push through your heels and return to your starting position.

Modification: For an extra challenge, perform the squats on a single leg.


BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS – 4 sets of 8 reps per leg



Test your balance and build leg strength with this single-leg squat – all while never having to look away from your screen.


  • Stand about one to two feet in front of your couch.
  • Lift your right leg and place the top of your foot on your cushion. Your left leg should be firmly planted on the ground.
  • Bend your left leg, keeping your knee in line with your foot.
  • Drive up through your front heel and return to your starting position.
  • Repeat and switch sides.

Modification: To add difficulty, try adding a small jump when coming out of the squat to accomplish a jumping split squat.


INCLINE PUSH-UPS – 3 sets of 15 reps



Target your pectorals, shoulders and triceps with these couch push-ups.


  • Face your couch and place your hands on the armrest or cushions. Your arms should be straight out and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Align your feet so that your body is in a straight, diagonal line.
  • Slowly lower your chest to the edge of your couch by bending your arms. Keep your body straight.
  • Push your body back away from the bench until your arms are straight.
  • Repeat.

Modification: If you place your hands farther apart, it will add more emphasis on your chest. Placing your hands closer and keeping your arms tucked at your sides will place more emphasis on your triceps. You can also add difficulty by adding a clap in between reps.


TRICEP DIPS – 3 sets of 15 reps



Tone your arms without turning off the TV with couch-ready tricep dips.


  • Position your hands on the edge of your couch shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your legs in front of you with your arms straight.
  • Slowly begin to lower your body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Your arms and elbows should be tucked at your sides to ensure a 90-degree angle.
  • Push your palms into your couch and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

Modification: Modify this move by bending your legs and bringing your feet closer to your body.


Ready to graduate your home routine from the couch? Check out our list of the best home workout equipment and other routines you can do from home.