Fit Tip: Desk Workout

Posted On Feb 19, 2021 By Lisa Traugott

A woman performing a desk push up.

The holidays are over and it’s time to get back to the grind. Whether you are working from home or have a desk job, it can be tough on your body to sit all day. Our bodies were designed to move!

If you can’t get away from your desk and your body is aching, here are a few things you can try out that won’t raise too many eyebrows from Greg in accounting.

This is a quick fifteen minute workout that works your entire body.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Warm up: Shoulder Shrugs 3 12 30 seconds
Desk Push Ups 12 30 30 seconds
Core Stabilizer 3 10 30 seconds
Chair Dips 3 6-8 30 seconds
Gluteal Squeeze 4 15 30 seconds
Calf Raises 4 15 30 seconds

Shoulder Shrugs

This exercise works your trapezius and upper back muscles. It helps to stabilize your neck and improve your posture. For an added challenge, hold some weights. (Try keeping light 5 lbs. dumbbells in your desk drawer.)

  • Stand up with your arms at your sides, palms facing each other.
  • Inhale, bringing your shoulders as high up towards your ears as you can.
  • Exhale, lowering your shoulders back to start position.

Desk Push-Ups

Desk push-ups are great for the office because you will work your upper-body, lower-body and core at the same time without getting sweaty. It also helps with your posture and loosens up your chest muscles.

  • Stand in front of your desk, extending your arms in front of you.
  • Suck in your stomach and place your hands against the desk. Your legs should be behind you, so your body makes a diagonal.
  • Slowly lower your chest to the desk, then push back to start.

Core Stabilizer

Everyone wants great abs but who wants to lie down on a dirty office floor to get them? Also, if your business attire includes a skirt or dress, you probably don’t want to do any major leg lifts. This is a core exercise that works your oblique muscles and is super easy to do. It does require a weight, so if you don’t have dumbbells at your desk, get creative and hold the five pound budget binder.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-length apart. Hold a dumbbell straight out in front of your chest with both hands.
  • Tighten your core. Twist your torso and slowly rotate your arms as far to the right as you can.
  • Pause, then rotate in the opposite direction. That’s one rep.

Chair Dips

Only do this exercise on a stable chair! If it swivels use your desk instead. This exercise work the triceps muscles on the back of your upper arms. This exercise is one of the most effective for working this muscle.

  • Sit on the edge stable chair with your legs stretched out in front of you. Place your hands on the edges of the chair.
  • Lift your butt off the seat and slowly lower it down until your elbows reach a 90 degree angle. Keep your chest and head up. Your knees should not go past your toes.
  • Extend your arms back up to start position.

Gluteal Squeeze

This is a fun and sneaky exercise you can do anywhere without people realizing you’re doing anything at all. It helps you increase your power, endurance and strength.

  • Standing (or sitting!) squeeze your butt muscles.
  • Hold for three seconds.
  • Repeat.

Calf Raises

If you have weights handy, try holding them during this exercise. Even if you don’t just raising and lowering your own body weight will help you tone up these calf muscles.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly raise your heels off the ground. Pause for one second.
  • Slowly lower your heels back to the ground.

You can do all these exercises at once or spread them throughout the day if you need a work break. Have fun and be healthy!


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A woman stretching in her home office.