Body weight exercise station
The captain’s chair looks like what it’s named after, except there isn’t a seat on this chair. It consists of a large metal frame with arm rests, foot rests, a back rest and hand holds. Exercises you can do on the captain’s chair include ab work and triceps dips.
What to look for in a captain’s chair
There are actually several pieces of equipment that offer variations on the captain’s chair. If you are trying to decide between a few there are some important things to consider. First of all, if the main purpose of the equipment is ab work, it should have padded arm rests with upright handles at the end and a padded back rest. That way it’ll be easier to do knee lifts when you start out and more comfortable to do advanced moves as you progress. Captain’s chairs have foot rests that attach to the back frame or along the sides so your legs can hang straight without touching the ground while you exercise.
If you are shorter than average it’s a good idea to find out the machine’s measurements, or try one out if possible. Doing ab work in a captain’s chair that’s not the right size isn’t just uncomfortable, it can increase your chances of injury. An adjustable chair with moveable foot rests and back pad can solve the size problem.
Some captain’s chairs have a second set of handles that jut straight out from the arm rests. A machine with these can be great for working the triceps. Most beginners won’t be able to use these handles right away, but it’ll be a good testament to how strong you’re getting when you’ve moved up to triceps dips.
The final important thing to look for on captain’s chair style equipment (by this point it should probably be considered a multi-exercise station) is a chin-up bar. These are generally attached to the top back of the machine and allow you to do exercises such as close- and wide-grip pull-ups and chin-ups, which are great ways to get your back muscles in shape.
Some machines will have push-up handles at the base of the machine. They can be beneficial for people with weak wrists who find traditional push-ups painful.
- The captain’s chair is considered the second best way to strengthen abs.
- The chair is low tech compared to other weight training machines. There are no moving parts or easily breakable pieces.
- It’s a pretty big piece of equipment. If you’ve got room for free weights and still have extra, it can be a great addition. But if you only have a small amount of space it’s a good idea to consider something more versatile.
Gym-quality captain’s chairs can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. But home versions from companies like Weider are about $100, not a bad price for equipment that’ll work the abs, back and triceps.