30 Office Exercises to Try Right Now


0

exercising at desk
visualspace / Getty Images

It can be difficult to fit a long workout into your already packed schedule. If you’re struggling to find time to stay active, you may want to try doing short workouts throughout the day instead.

Even spending 5 to 10 minutes exercising at your desk can stimulate some midday blood flow and help you push through your mid-afternoon slump.

You don’t need a rack filled with dumbbells or a treadmill to get in a good workout. Below, we’ve curated a list of 30 office exercises you can try right now with no or minimal equipment.

Exercises with your desk or chair

1. Triceps dips

Muscle groups worked: triceps and chest

How to do them:

  1. Stand with a chair (that doesn’t have wheels!) behind you.
  2. Put your palms flat on the chair, with your fingers facing away from you. Keep your heels on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you.
  3. Lower yourself until your upper arms are almost parallel to the ground
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat for at least 10 reps.

2. Desk pushups

Muscle groups worked: triceps and chest

How to do them:

  1. Face your desk and lean against it, with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and your arms straight.
  2. Lower yourself until your chest almost reaches your desk, then return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat for at least 10 reps.

3. Calf raises

Muscle groups worked: calves

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall and hold your chair or desk for balance.
  2. Rise up onto your toes, hold for a moment, and then lower your heels back to the floor.
  3. Repeat at least 10 times.

4. Squats

Muscle groups worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall, with your office chair behind you. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands stretched out in front of you.
  2. Lower down until your buttocks almost touch your chair, keeping your knees in line with your toes.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 or more times.

5. Chair or desk side planks

Muscles groups worked: shoulders and core

How to do them:

  1. With your body in a straight line, place one forearm against the edge of your desk or the seat of your chair.
  2. Raise the other arm toward the ceiling.
  3. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

6. Desk plank

Muscle groups worked: core and shoulders

How to do it:

  1. Lean against your desk with your body in a straight line, your elbows and forearms against your desk and your hands together.
  2. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.

7. Desk donkey kicks

Muscle groups worked: glutes and hamstrings

How to do them:

  1. Face your desk and lean against it, with your body in a straight line.
  2. Stand on one leg, with your opposite knee bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Kick your bent leg back as far as you can.
  4. Hold for a moment, then slowly lower back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for at least 10 reps on each side.

8. Pistol squats

Muscle groups worked: quads, glutes, hamstring, and core

How to do them:

  1. Sit with good posture in your chair, with one foot flat on the ground and the other leg extended straight out.
  2. Stand up on the foot that’s flat on the ground, and keep your opposite leg extended out in front of you.
  3. Repeat at least 5 times on each side.

Exercises while standing

9. Lunges

Muscle groups worked: core, quads, and hamstrings

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall, with good posture and your hands on your hips.
  2. Take a big step forward. Bend your front knee while keeping it in line with your toes.
  3. Step back to the start position.
  4. Complete 10 to 20 reps on each side.

10. Side lunges

Muscle groups worked: quads, hamstrings, and adductor

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a big step to the side and squat down until your thigh is almost parallel to the ground.
  3. Step back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat at least 10 times on each side.

11. Single-leg deadlifts

Muscle groups worked: glutes and hamstrings

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall on one leg, with your hands at your sides.
  2. Push your hips back and reach toward the floor.
  3. Stop when your back is parallel to the ground.
  4. Return to the start position.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times on each leg.

12. Wall sit

Muscle groups worked: quads, core, glutes, and hamstrings

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your back against a wall.
  2. Slide down until your hips and knees are bent at about 90 degrees.
  3. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.

13. Step-ups

Muscle groups worked: quads, core, glutes, and hamstrings

How to do them:

Before you perform this exercise, make sure the surface you’re using is stable to avoid injury.

  1. Put one foot on a stable chair or stair that’s no higher than your knees.
  2. Push that foot down into the chair and step up.
  3. Lower yourself back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat at least 10 times on each side.

14. Single-leg squats

Muscle groups worked: quads, core, glutes, and hamstrings

How to do them:

  1. Place one foot onto a chair or other solid surface behind you.
  2. Stand with the front heel of your other foot about 2 feet away from the chair.
  3. Lower yourself until your back knee almost touches the ground and your front knee is over your toes.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times on each side.

15. Jumping jacks

Muscle groups worked: full body

How to do them:

  1. Stand with your arms by your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Jump up and land with your feet wider and your hands over your head.
  3. Jump again to return to the start position.
  4. Repeat at least 10 times.

16. Marching

Muscle groups worked: full body

How to do it:

  1. Stand tall, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lift one knee as high as you can without leaning back. Lift the opposite arm up in front of you.
  3. Continue switching legs to march in place, alternating your arms as if you’re running.
  4. Repeat at least 10 times on each side.

Exercises while sitting

17. Oblique twists

Muscle groups worked: obliques

How to do them:

  1. Sit in a swiveling chair with your hands holding the edge of your desk.
  2. Spin yourself as far you can to one side using your hands, then switch to the other side.
  3. Repeat for at least 10 reps on each side.

Note: If you do not have a swivel chair, you can bend your arms up in front of you and turn your body to the right and left. Just make sure to move from your core.

18. Seated bicycles

Muscle groups worked: obliques and abdominals

How to do them:

  1. Sit tall, with your feet flat on the floor and your hands behind your head.
  2. Lift one knee and twist your opposite elbow toward it.
  3. Return to the start position.
  4. Repeat at least 10 times on each side.

19. Leg lifts

Muscle groups worked: core, quads, and hip flexors

How to do them:

  1. Sit tall in your chair with good posture.
  2. Lift one leg straight until your hamstring comes off the seat.
  3. Hold for at least 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

20. Seated knee-to-chest

Muscle groups worked: abdominals

How to do it:

  1. Sit in a chair, with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Hold the bottom of your chair for support and pull your knees in toward your chest.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat at least 10 times.

21. Glute squeezes

Muscle groups worked: glutes

How to do them:

  1. Sit tall in your chair, with good posture.
  2. Contract (squeeze) your glutes as hard as you can for 10 to 30 seconds, then relax.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

22. Seated leg extensions

Muscle groups worked: quads

How to do them:

  1. Sit tall, with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift one leg until it’s parallel with the floor and straight out in front of you by contracting (squeezing) the muscle on the front of your upper thigh.
  3. Hold for a second, then lower back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

23. Seated windshield wipers

Muscle groups worked: abdominals and obliques

How to do them:

  1. Sit in your chair, with your palms gripping the seat for balance and your legs extended out straight and off the floor.
  2. Move your legs as far as you can to the right, keeping your feet together.
  3. Switch sides by moving your legs as far as you can to the left.
  4. Repeat at least 20 times.

24. Seated flutter kicks

Muscle groups worked: abdominals and obliques

How to do them:

  1. Sit with your legs extended out in front of you.
  2. Lift one foot up about 6 inches and pause for a moment.
  3. Return that foot to the ground while lifting the other foot up about 6 inches.
  4. Repeat at least 10 times on each side.

Exercises with weights

For the following exercises, you can use a dumbbell or another heavy object you have at the office. Some ideas include:

  • filled filing boxes
  • water jugs or bottles
  • books
  • a ream of paper

25. Seated shoulder press

Muscle groups worked: shoulders

How to do it:

  1. Sit tall in your chair. In one hand, hold a dumbbell or other heavy object that’s easy to grip, such as a water bottle.
  2. Hold it near your shoulder, with your elbow bent at about 90 degrees.
  3. Push the object upward until your arm is fully extended.
  4. Pause for a moment, then slowly lower it back to eye level.
  5. Repeat at least 10 times, then switch to the other side.

26. Bent-over rows

Muscle groups worked: upper back and lats

How to do them:

  1. Pick up a dumbbell or heavy object with both hands.
  2. Keeping your back flat, hinge forward from your hips. Push your butt back and keep a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Pull the object up toward your torso, pulling your shoulders down and back.
  4. Lower the object back down.
  5. Repeat for at least 10 reps.

27. Biceps curls

Muscle groups worked: biceps

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall, with a heavy object or dumbbell in one hand and your arm straight by your side.
  2. Without shifting your weight, curl the dumbbell up toward your shoulder, bending your elbow to do so.
  3. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, then lower to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for at least 10 reps, then switch to the other side.

28. Front raises

Muscle groups worked: shoulders

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall, with a dumbbell or another heavy object in your hand. Keep your arm by your side and your palm facing toward you.
  2. Lift the weight in front of you, keeping your arm straight.
  3. Stop when your arm is parallel with the ground.
  4. Pause for a moment, then lower your arm.
  5. Repeat for at least 10 reps, then switch sides.

29. Russian twists

Muscle groups worked: obliques and shoulders

How to do them:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet slightly off the floor. Hold a dumbbell or other heavy object in front of you.
  2. Twist the object to the side, keeping your arms straight.
  3. Pause for a moment, then repeat on the other side.
  4. Complete at least 10 reps on each side.

30. Romanian deadlifts

Muscle groups worked: glutes, hamstrings, and back

How to do them:

  1. Stand tall, with a dumbbell or heavy weight in both hands in front of you.
  2. Lower the weight while pushing your hips back; keep your back neutral throughout the movement.
  3. When your back is about parallel to the floor, squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat at least 8 times.

5-minute workout

You can combine the exercises above in several different ways to create a 5-minute desk workout. Here’s one example:

Sample 5-minute workout

Perform each exercise one after the other, without rest between exercises. Do one set of each exercise.

  1. Desk pushups: 20 reps
  2. Seated knee-to-chest: 10 reps
  3. Squats: 10 reps
  4. Desk plank: 30 seconds
  5. Seated flutter kicks: 10 reps on each side
  6. Romanian deadlifts: 10 reps
  7. Jumping jacks: 20 reps
Healthline

10-minute workout

You can also combine the exercises we discussed above to create a 10-minute workout. Here’s a look at one routine:

Sample 10-minute workout

Perform each exercise one after another without resting in between. After doing all six exercises, rest for 1 minute before repeating the routine a second time.

  1. Leg lifts: 10 reps on each side
  2. Wall sit: 30 seconds
  3. Seated shoulder press: 10 reps on each side
  4. Marching: 20 reps on each side
  5. Biceps curls: 10 reps on each side
  6. Side lunges: 10 reps on each side
Healthline

Benefits

Exercising — even just in short bursts throughout the day — is linked to a number of benefits. These include:

  • Decrease your body mass index (BMI). A 2013 study published by researchers at the University of Utah found that even short bursts of high-intensity exercise lasting less than 10 minutes can have a positive effect on your BMI. The researchers found that each minute of high-intensity performed throughout the day lowered the odds of obesity by 5 percent for women and 2 percent for men.
  • Reduce your appetite. A small 2013 study compared the effects of an exercise program made up of 12 daily 5-minute exercise sessions with those of a program made up of one hour-long session on individuals with obesity. The researchers found that participants who exercised in 5-minute blocks reported 32 percent less hunger throughout the day than the group who exercised continuously for an hour.
  • Improve your mood. According to a 2018 review, research has found that acute bursts of exercises are linked to positive changes in mood. Most of the research is on aerobic exercise, but there’s some evidence that anaerobic exercise like weightlifting can also have similar benefits.

Other options

Depending on your office set-up, it might not be practical to exercise at your desk, especially if you’re in close quarters with your co-workers.

However, there are many other ways you can fit in time for exercise at work:

  • Go for a short walk on your breaks.
  • Replace your office chair with an exercise ball.
  • Use the stairs regularly.
  • Consider a standing desk.
  • Consider walking or biking to work if practical.
  • Keep some exercise equipment at work so you can exercise during your lunch break.
  • Walk while on the phone.

How to stay motivated

If you’re having a particularly busy or stressful day, you might find it harder than usual to stay motivated for your workout. Here are some techniques you can use to help you stay focused:

  • Create an exercise challenge with a co-worker to keep each other accountable.
  • Set daily and weekly goals for yourself.
  • Focus on exercises you find fun.
  • Schedule your workouts on your calendar in advance.
  • Reward yourself regularly.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you miss 1 or 2 days.
  • Try listening to music you find motivating while you exercise.

The bottom line

Spending a few minutes exercising at the office each day is better than not exercising at all.

There are hundreds of exercises you can do with minimal equipment. Your chair, desk, and heavy books are just a few things you can use during your workout.

3 Yoga Poses for Tech Neck


Like it? Share with your friends!

0

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
0
hate
confused confused
0
confused
fail fail
0
fail
fun fun
0
fun
geeky geeky
0
geeky
love love
0
love
lol lol
0
lol
omg omg
0
omg
win win
0
win

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format