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American Stroke Foundation

ExerciseSeated Circuit Workout for Survivors of Stroke

Seated Circuit Workout for Survivors of Stroke


This seated workout has 3 sections – upper body, lower body, and core. We’ll do each exercise for 20 seconds, then take a 15 second break.

Upper Body Exercises

  1. Arm Raise. Place hands on the opposite elbow. Start with arms near your stomach and raise your arms to nose-height, then lower back down to your stomach.
  2. Bicep Curl. This can be down with your hands together or separate. Start with your hands in your lap, then raise your hands towards your chest. Slowly lower your hands back to your lap.
  3. Rowing. Plant your feet on the ground and engage your core. Clasp your hands together and make a rowing motion, crossing your body each in each direction.
  4. Chest Press Forward. With arms clasped out in front of you, bring your arms back towards your chest. Next you’ll press your arms overhead.

Lower Body Exercises

  1. Marching. This is similar to jogging in place. Try to get your legs off the ground, and incorporate your arms to practice balance and get your heart rate up.
  2. Side Steps. Step your feet, one at a time, out to the side – you can use your arms to support your leg. Lateral movement like this is a great exercise to work muscles that you use to get and out of the car or to transfer.
  3. Seated Calf Raise. For this move you start with your feet flat on the floor then lift your heels off the ground and repeat.
  4. Leg Lift. Plant both feet on the ground, lift one leg off the ground and toward your stomach – you can use your arms to support this motion. Hold for 1 second at the top.

Core Exercises

  1. Forward Crunch. Cross your arms across your chest and lean forward to engage your core. Use your core to pull yourself back up to the seated position.
  2. Side Crunch. Place your feet flat on the floor, and reach to the side like you’re picking something off the floor. To pull yourself up to seated engage your core muscles on the opposite side you’re reaching to.
  3. Final Exercise. Start with your hands clasped to the side of one leg, slowly reach your hands up and to the opposite side. Follow your hands with your eyes for an added challenge!

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