Exercises That You Can Sneak In At Your Desk

Recent research says that even completing the recommended 30 minutes of cardio five times a week might not reverse the health risks that come with a sedentary lifestyle. That means even if you’re working out at night or in the morning, sitting in your desk chair all day undoes much of that effort. The solution is doing short bursts of aerobic strength exercises, fixing your posture, and stretching while you’re putting in those office hours. Workouts done at your desk probably won’t get your body summer-ready, but they will help you burn calories and tone up. Continue reading for some exercises to try at work.

The Wallstreet Sit

sitting against the wall while at work
glamour/Pinterest
glamour/Pinterest

The best athletes in the world do this move all the time. Wall sits help build strength and endurance, but the best part is that anyone can do them anywhere, including at work!

Stand with your back against the wall, bend your knees, and slide down until your thighs become parallel to the floor. You can start by holding this position for 30 seconds, but once you get stronger, try and do 60.

The Wanderer

wanderer person
thealtizen/Instagram
thealtizen/Instagram

Taking a walk by yourself at work is overrated. It’s time to get to know your employees a bit better. Stroll through the hallways and catch up with any co-workers you haven’t chatted with in a while.

This is also a great time to get to know a new employee. Also, forget about sending that email to Accounting. Get some facetime with Karyn down the hall instead. She might appreciate it!

Silent Seat Squeeze

move
rocelcoinc/Instagram
rocelcoinc/Instagram

The silent seat squeeze is a “deskercise” you can do discretely whenever you’re sitting at your desk. For everyone looking to get toned glutes, this is a good one for you.

To do this isometric glute workout, simply squeeze your buns, hold for five to ten seconds, and release. Continue at it until you finish a task, or when your behind begins to tire. After doing this consistently for a couple of weeks, you’ll start to notice a difference when you look in the mirror!

The Desk Pull

at desk
marcusmichaels/Instagram
marcusmichaels/Instagram

Where’s the fun in having a wheeled chair if you can’t play with it? When sitting in one of these enjoyable devices, make sure you’re arm’s length from your desk and grab onto the edge.

Next, you’ll want to activate your core, raise your feet slightly, then pull toward the desk while allowing your chair to roll forward slowly. Your chest should barely touch the edge of the desk before you push back to your starting place. Keep those feet raised and do this for 20 reps.

Stand More

standing
standsome_standingdesk/Instagram
standsome_standingdesk/Instagram

Research says that long periods of sitting are linked to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This makes standing the better choice while you’re at your desk all day long.

Research also says that standing greatly increases daily caloric expenditure. Staying on your feet is something you should invest more time in while you’re working. And you can try and encourage your co-workers to have standing meetings if they are able to.

Wait By The Printer With Intention

printer calf
studio_fidele/Instagram
studio_fidele/Instagram

The printer sometimes needs an extra moment to heat up before it gives you what you need. Also, depending on how many pages you have waiting for you, your trip to the printer could be much longer than you want.

Never fear — that’s time you can use to sculpt your calves. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, press up with your toes, pause at the highest point, then come back down. These are super fun and easy to do; the only downside is the soreness you might feel the next morning.

Get In Some Leg Raises

at desk
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images

Didn’t get that pay raise you thought you were going to get? Try out the leg raise instead. People barely notice these, and you can complete them whenever you want to get a little burn going.

While sitting down, straighten your legs and hold them in place for at least five seconds. Once you’ve done the time, lower your extremities without letting anything touch the floor. Repeat this for a minimum of 15 reps, and you’ve got yourself a solid workout.

The Paper Trick

grim repear
cristybastidas/Instagram
cristybastidas/Instagram

For this activity, you’re going to have to do a little scouting. Look around the office for a ream of paper, or a sealed package of paper. When you take a seat, place whatever you found between your knees.

Once it’s there, press your legs inward, activating your inner thighs. Continue with this grip for 30-60 seconds while you’re readying up those reports. You should feel anywhere between a lot of or a little amount of tension, depending on the strength of your legs.

Take The Stairs!

stair master
Instagram
Instagram

Are you not in the mood for elevator talk? Do you need an extra cardio burn? Well, take the stairs instead! Ditch waiting on the elevator and put a pep in your step.

For a better burn, you can accelerate on the straight-aways and remember to take two steps at a time. You might feel it in your legs the next morning, but that’s what you signed up for, isn’t it?

The Abs Squeeze

oops
deskadvisor/Instagram
deskadvisor/Instagram

Here’s another silent workout that won’t bring any attention to you. It’s called the abs squeeze, and you can do it while at your desk or walking through the hallways.

You start by taking a deep breath and tightening your abdominal muscles. Then, you bring them in towards the spine as you exhale. Remain in the squeezing position for five to ten seconds and release. Feel free to repeat for 12-15 reps and get ready to feel the burn.

Curl The Stapler

stapler curl
therealmateriagirl/Instagram
therealmateriagirl/Instagram

A good stapler can be an employee’s best friend. Whether you’re seated or standing, take a stapler in one hand with your palm facing upwards. Now, just do a basic curling motion using the stapler as a weight.

Start with your arm at your thighs, then bend your elbow and curl your arm up toward your chest. Remember to pause at the top before you bring your arm back to your thigh area. It works best with a weighted stapler.

Make Your Posture Perfect

posture
Anne-Marie Jackson/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Anne-Marie Jackson/Toronto Star via Getty Images

When you sit at your desk for the whole day, you must work on your posture. Practicing safe desk ergonomics is key to making sure you sustain a healthy body and a strong core. We hardly notice that we’re slouching when we are.

The first thing you do is adjust the chair height to make sure your feet, arms, and hips are all at a 90-degree-angle to the floor. You must also engage your core to keep your back straight throughout the day.

The Secret Dancer

mover
themrmobile/Instagram
themrmobile/Instagram

It’s only Tuesday, and you’re already looking forward to Friday and an evening out at the dance club. Fortunately, there’s a solution for that weekly problem.

Release whatever stress you have and get some energy going with the seated dancing technique. You can make sure no one is watching beforehand, or you can show off your moves to your neighboring co-workers. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable, and have fun.

Pump Those Fists

office girl - lauren.asana
lauren.asana/Instagram
lauren.asana/Instagram

Okay, this activity might draw some attention to you if you aren’t lucky enough to have an office of your own. It’s the simple fist pump move. Do this simple movement whenever you need to stimulate some blood flow.

Fist pump into the air like a champion and do this for one minute. Don’t forget to switch arms as you pump, and don’t be afraid to do it for longer than 60 seconds.

The Hamstring Helper

move
abovetek/Instagram
abovetek/Instagram

Toning and strengthening your hamstrings isn’t as hard as one might think. You can accomplish this at your desk whenever you stand up for a quick stretch. Stand behind your chair in case you need support.

Once you find your balance, kick one foot back in a controlled manner, and aim your heel towards the top of your thigh. Once you reach the top, slowly bring the leg back down and alternate to the other. Do at least ten reps of these.

Desk Squatter

person standing
Instagram
Instagram

Has standing around become too mundane for you? That means you need to add an extra step to this process and pop a squat. It’s simple and only requires that you start in the correct stance.

Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. You’re basically taking a seat, without physically getting into a chair. You can raise your arms out in front of you toward the computer screen as you bend.

Throw Some Knuckle Sandwiches

woman
scphrp/Instagram
scphrp/Instagram

This move is similar to the fist pump, except you’re throwing your fists forward and not toward the sky. They call this one shadow boxing, and you can wait for some extra motivation when you need it.

Stand up and begin throwing some jabs, uppercuts, and hooks repetitively. Once again, unless you have a private workspace, your co-workers might find this activity a little odd, but you need to get in your workout!

Call This One ‘The Flapper’

exercise
Instagram
Instagram

This simple move is easy to do anywhere, including at your desk. And it’s a pretty good way to tone up your arms while getting your blood flowing a bit.

Stand up and place your arms by your side with your palms facing behind you. Then, pulse your arms backward for five seconds. After the five seconds, release and do this 12-15 times. Be sure to keep your arms extended and straight.

Shoulder Shrug It Out

workouts
mini_medeiros/Instagram
mini_medeiros/Instagram

The shoulder shrug might be the most straightforward desk exercise for you to complete at work. We don’t recommend doing these shrugs during board meetings, however.

All you have to do is raise both shoulders simultaneously toward your ears and hold them there for five seconds, then relax. Repeat this action for 15 reps, and once you get strong enough, try doing it by holding heavy items in each hand.

The Celebratory Activity!

at work
amandacharronrealtor/Instagram
amandacharronrealtor/Instagram

Did you win over a new client? Have you finally received that raise you’ve been praying to get? Did you figure out how to fix the printer? Any of those are enough to warrant a split squat jump!

All you have to do is place your feet hip-width apart, put the left leg back two feet, and balance on the ball of the foot. Next, you get into a lunge position and drive upwards with an explosion of energy. Switch your feet while you’re airborne. You can repeat as many times as you wish.