Standing from a chair

Standing from a chair

When considering difficulties with sitting and standing the first factor to consider is your technique. Ask for an assessment by a Physiotherapist if you are uncertain of the technique or if your weight is affecting your ability to stand/sit.

The following sequence of actions may help you to stand up:

  • Place your hands firmly on the front of the armrests
  • Lean slightly forwards away from the back of the chair
  • Move your bottom to the edge of the seat, either by shuffling forward by transferring weight from one buttock to the other, or by taking the weight through your arms and lifting your bottom
  • Make sure your feet are apart, one foot below the knee and the other slightly back towards the chair (you will find this difficult if you have not moved to the edge of the chair and the chair has been filled in or has a rail between the legs)
  • Bring your head and shoulders over your knees (nose over toes)
  • Lift your head and look straight ahead
  • Push with both arms and legs until you are in an upright position.

If you are using a walking frame, do not pull yourself up on a walking frame or another piece of furniture as they are not secure. Only reach for a walking frame once you are in a stable upright position.

Similarly, this sequence of actions may help with sitting down:

  • Move backwards until you feel the front of the chair seat with the back of your legs
  • Spread your weight over both feet. Slightly bend at the hips and knees, lean a little forwards and reach down for both armrests
  • Keep feeling for the seat with the back of your legs as you sit down gently
  • You should not need to move your bottom back if your knees maintain contact with the front of the seat cushion. However, if you do need to move your bottom back, use the technique that is best for you (shuffling or lifting back), until you are supported by the back of the chair
  • As before, a walking frame must not be used as support when sitting down. Always use the armrests of the chair

Alternative equipment that may assist you with sitting and standing includes:

The suitability of the equipment will depend on your needs and the budget available.

For people with muscular dystrophy or other neuromuscular diseases an information leaflet is available from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign on chairs to assist with sitting to standing.

If you would like further advice regarding issues with sitting to standing and questions relating to furniture then you could try the sitting and standing and chair sections of AskSARA. AskSARA is the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF)'s free online self assessment tool. AskSARA will ask you questions about yourself and your environment (in this instance sitting and standing, wanting to raise your legs) and then offer relevant advice, product suggestions and supplier details.
- AskSARA's sitting and standing section
- AskSARA's chair section

Advice last checked: 30 January 2018 Next check due: 30 January 2021

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement