5 Desk Exercises (That Don’t Involve Crawling Under Your Chair)

desk exercises

My good friend Fit Bottomed Erika sent me this video at the exact right time. She must have known I needed some inspiration. But before you start to believe that I’m going to do all that, let me explain.  

Everyone is busy, and I’m no exception. This summer, I took two graduate courses and renovated my small kitchen, all while working a full-time job. It was nuts. I can’t believe I’m here to tell the tale, honestly. All of that activity left little time for exercise. Don’t get me wrong — a DIY kitchen renovation is full of manual labor, and I burned my fair share of calories every evening and weekend, but I definitely didn’t have time for my usual exercise.

Now, as the fall semester begins, I need to get back into an exercise routine. Ever since I ran my (first and only) half-marathon in April, I’ve been leaning away from running as my primary form of exercise (and if you read my story about that, I think you’ll understand why). I plan to hit up some group cardio classes between work and school, but I need more. I need something quick and effective — maybe you can relate — because I just don’t have the time to put in at the gym right now.

So this video definitely sparked some thoughts within me. My first thought: “Y’all are crazy. Who comes up with this stuff?” And then, “I could try that … Ha! No. Prrrrooobably not, actually. I would hurt myself.” And finally, “I could do something in my chair though. Maybe I could work up to this craziness. Well, okay, probably still no, but I could do something.”

Simple desk exercises are a great way to stay “active” without actually being all that active, which is great if you sit at a desk for the majority of your waking life, as I do. Fortunately for me, my desk converts to a standing desk, so I threw an exercise in for that scenario, too. Time to get back into it. Wait no more. You — and I! — can literally do this RIGHT NOW.

Aaaannnd … go!

5 Desk Exercises to Try

1. Sit up straight. Seriously. Good posture is, well, good for you. It’s good for discipline and it’s good for your abs. Tuck your belly button into your spine and hold it as long as you can for as many times as you can. Do it every time you think about it and you’ll have stronger abs in no time.

2. Lift your legs. This will force you into good posture, so it’s a two-for-one move. Start with one leg, then do the other. Then do both. You can, of course, totally lift one leg or the other or both without sitting with your back straight, but that defeats the purpose. Squeeze those abs!

3. Swivel. Your desk chair swivels, right? Think of this as a mild version of that ab crunch move where you lean back (while sitting on the floor) and then move a weight from side to side across your body. This is that, except you’re sitting in your desk chair and the weight is the lower half of your body. Lift your feet off the floor, and use your hands as a light anchor to your desk. Let your abs do the rest. Swivel all day if you can.

4. Squat. Lose the chair all together. Hover over it inconspicuously if you don’t want to call attention to your awesome desk exercise, or go all in and move it aside for a deep squat. Do it as long as you can.

5. Calf raises. Stand all the way up. Raise your desk up to join you if you can. If not, try it in the break room or restroom or alone at your desk without hesitation. Raise up to stand on your tiptoes as many times as you can.

What desk exercises are you loving? Anyone crazy enough to try the crawling-under-the-chair thing? —Megan

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  1. These are some pretty awesome suggestions. I have a problem sitting up straight so that would be helpful. We are inviting fit bottomed girls to our website before we even launch. If you sign-up, you get $5 store credit. Check us out. The website is http://www.sportswatcherss.com. Thanks