If I'm sitting on a chair or even on a low step, I have no problems standing up with no assistance or touching or holding onto anything. If I'm sitting butt on the ground, I don't seem to have the strength to stand straight up without pulling myself up or rolling onto all fours or using momentum. As long as my feet are a couple of inches lower, I'm fine, but once they're on the same level, I'm stuck. What exercise would be best for this? Proper squats seem to stop with your thighs at about a 90 degree angle to your body and calves. What helps when your heels are touching your but and your thighs are pressed to your stomach?

  • Mike has given you a comprehensive answer. It is possible to squat up from a seated position by pulling your legs to your chest while slightly apart. You then can roll forwards onto your feet and enter the bottom of a third-world squat stance. You the squat to rise from here. Obviously this requires some flexibility and strength as well as good balance.
    – John
    Aug 3, 2017 at 8:10
  • Proper squats don't stop with the thighs at 90-degree angle(s) with respect to your torso or shanks/calves; their proper bottom-most position is at the point where the acetabulum is just below the top of the patella. Aug 3, 2017 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


This is a very common question - so know you are definitely not alone. There are some easy exercises that you can do to get better at it. A lot of people actually just don’t get onto the ground for fear of getting stuck there.

The Best Techniques for Getting up off the Ground and Out of a Chair

Exercises to strengthen the muscle that should be powering you out of a chair or off the floor.

Technique - Lets get the basics right

First of all, you need to be doing it the right way (which is the easiest and most efficient way). If you aren't, you will just be battling away and wasting energy -- potentially leading to injury.

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Correct Form: Sit-to-Stand

Getting up out of a chair is something that is very, very often done wrong and there are some great tips to improve how you do it.

  • Lean forward at the hips

  • Look up

  • Nose over toes

  • Drive up!

Tip: This technique utilizes your body weight going froward – hence why you need to lean forward so that you nose goes over past your toes. This will start you falling forward, and then all you need to do is push up with your legs to stand up-right.

Note: remember if you are looking down, you might go down, so keep you chest up-right and focus on the top of the wall.

How to get up off the floor

The main thing here is to:

  1. Roll onto your side and plant your hands on the floor
  2. push your upper body up, so that your arms and straight
  3. Pivot onto your knees so that your hip comes off the ground – This will get you into four-point kneeling
  4. From there you need to bring one foot forward and plant it – from there you can drive up with that leg.

Watch the video here for a good demo of how to get both down safely and up again

Exercises to Strengthen

Strengthening exercises, when done regularly can make so many daily activities a lot easier. And I don’t mean going to the gym and throwing iron around – There are some great exercises that you can do from home.

1. Sit-to-stand

Great functional exercise. If you are finding it difficult to stand up out of a seat, then one of the best ways to improve is practice – build up the muscle memory using the correct technique.

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sitting down into a chair and standing up again is almost like doing a good squat and you can use the same technique to do it right.

Now, I know that not everyone can start doing this straight away, so I have included two levels:

Level 1: Modified sit-to-stand

Here, we make it easier by adding a pillow or cushion to the chair – This raises up the platform and means less distance for you to go up, making it easier on your legs.

Now, I want you to use the correct sit-to-stand technique I taught you above, to do this exercise. Stand up from the chair, not using your arms (your legs are only going to get stronger by working at it) and then slowly sit back down again using the same technique as when you came up (except in reverse!)

This is a great one for strengthening your posterior chain and is very functional. Remember to make it easier just place cushions, or solid books etc on the chair seat to raise the platform.

Do 3 lots of 10 – that means do ten sit-to-stands, have 1 minute break and repeat 2 more times.

Level 2: full sit-to-stand

This the same as above but without the cushion or pillow to raise it up – you are doing it right onto the chair seat.

tip: to make it harder hold, a small weight in your hands in front of you , start with 1-3kg.

2. Bridges

Your extensors (Glutes, back muscles, hamstrings etc) are what really drive you upwards and straighten you up at the hip and torso. This is a great exercise to do to get them working for YOU and the good thing is that it can be done on a firm bed or bench, as well as the ground.

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  • Lying on your back, on the ground, firm bed or bench, bend your knees up and place your feet on the ground.
  • Pushing through your heels and keeping your back straight, lift your bottom off the ground
  • Lower down again, in control the entire time
  • Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.

Tip: If you get back pain doing this or hamstring spasm, try moving your feet in closer to your bottom -- this will likely make it easier.

3. Lunges

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  • From a standing start, take a step forward, planting your front foot
  • As shown in the picture, bend the back knee towards the ground, keeping your toes on the ground.
  • Control this all the way with your front leg – this will be doing a lot of the work
  • Only go down as far as you can comfortably and safely
  • Push off with your front leg so that you come back to standing
  • Repeat 5 times on each side for 3 sets.

4. Wall squats

These exercises are easier than the name lends to thinking and is great for targeting your quads (thighs), these, along with your extensors help drive you upwards, straightening out your knees.

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Again, there is two levels here, so that you aren't thrown straight in the deep end and can start where you feel comfortable

Level one: Squat and hold Action:

  • Lean against a wall with your feet at least a foot out from the wall
  • Slide your back down the wall, controlling this with your legs until you are about halfway down
  • Only go down as far as you are comfortable with!
  • Hold this for 5 seconds and then slide back up again
  • Repeat 10 times

Level two: Swiss ball wall squats

You will need a swiss ball (also called gym balls among other things) for this good little exercise

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  • Place the ball against the wall and lean against it at the height of your low-back -- make sure your feet are out from the wall
  • Slowly squat down, keeping the pressure against the ball
  • Only go down as far as is comfortable.
  • Return back up and repeat 10 times for 3 sets

5. Single Leg Stance

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Level 1 Action:

  • Stand on one leg on the floor
  • Don't let your legs touch each other
  • Goal: hold for 1 minute

Tip: if you cannot hold this very well, you can start with one finger on a wall or bench close to you

Level 2: Action

  • Stand on a wobble board, dura disc or bosu ball on one leg
  • Aim to hold this for 1 minute or build up to it
  • If you cannot afford one of these you can also fold up a towel and stand on that rolling it up firm to make it harder

As I mentioned above, these exercises are effective if they are done regularly, so make it routine and stick to it.

Aim to do these exercises at least 4 times per week and you will really notice the difference.

Source: physioprescription.com

  • This answer could be improved by discussing what do to when these exercises become easy within a few weeks. Aug 3, 2017 at 15:16

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