5 Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

Hover Squats

Paige Waehner

If you're stuck in an office chair, you already know how butt-numbing that can be.  You also know how hard it is to exercise without, at best, drawing some raised eyebrows or at worst, getting reprimanded by the boss - Although he or she should be encouraging exercise, since it makes you more productive.  Too bad they didn't ask me.

That's why I love this hover squat.  You can secretly work your hips, glutes and thighs, as well as the core, with this tough exercise.  Now, body weight squats are usually not quite as challenging as squats with weights, but we add intensity here by throwing in an isometric contraction, so you'll be holding that hover squat for 8 counts.

  1. Begin standing in front of your chair (make sure the chair won't roll away), feet hip width apart.
  2. Lower into a squat and briefly sit down on the chair.
  3. Immediately lift up and hold your hips just over the chair for 8 counts, then stand up.
  4. Repeat for 10-20 reps.
  5. If standing up draws too much attention, just sit and hover for each rep without standing up.

One-Legged Squat

Paige Waehner

Think you can't get a good lower body workout at work?  Try this one-legged squat.  Having all your body weight on one little leg really increases the intensity of the exercise, targeting all the muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs.  For this one, you'll want a sturdy chair - If it has wheels, make sure it's propped up against the desk or the wall so it doesn't move.

  1. Begin sitting in your chair with hands on the seat or arm rests.
  2. Straighten the right leg lifting the leg completely off the floor and push up a few inches off the seat.
  3. Try using your left leg to lift up as much as possible, using the hands only for balance.
  4. Hold for 8 counts and repeat for 8-20 reps before switching sides.

Triceps Dips

Paige Waehner

Dips are one of my absolute favorite exercises for the triceps and they're a real winner for office exercise because you can pretty much do them anywhere.  I recommend using your desk, a table or some other sturdy surface, although you can also use your office chair as shown.  Obviously, make sure the chair is stable and won't roll away.

  1. Begin sitting on the edge of a desk or chair, hands on either side of the hips.
  2. Lift up, balancing on your hands and take the hips just forward so they can clear the edge of the desk or chair.
  3. Bend the elbows and lower down until they're at about 90-degree angles.
  4. Keep the hips very close to the desk to avoid tweaking the shoulders.
  5. Push back up and repeat for 8-20 reps.
  6. You can make this harder by straightening the legs or even propping your feet on another chair.

Chest Squeeze

Paige Waehner

The chest is a bit more difficult to work when you're at the office, unless you can do pushups on the floor, the wall or using a rail of some kind. If that's out of the question, this isometric chest squeeze does the job.

  1. Sit in your chair with good posture and scoot forward, feet flat on the floor and the abs engaged.
  2. Press your palms together in front of your chest and squeeze them together, fingers facing up.
  3. Keeping the pressure on your hands, turn your fingers so that they're pointing forward and slowly straighten the arms out in front of you.
  4. You should find it hard to keep pressing the hands together at the end of this movement.
  5. Slowly bring the hands back to prayer position and repeat for 10-20 reps.

Ab Twist

Paige Waehner

Working your abs may seem impossible to do at work, but it just requires a little creativity.  This ab twist focuses attention on the obliques, the muscles on either side of your waist.  Holding the water bottle helps activate the upper body as well as your core.

  1. Scoot forward in your chair and sit tall with good posture and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a water bottle on either side, pressing gently to activate your chest and core.
  3. Keeping the feet flat and the hips square, slowly rotate the torso to the right as far as you can, squeezing the right obliques.
  4. Rotate back to center and then rotate to the left side, again feeling it in left side of the obliques.
  5. Continue rotating from side to side, moving very slowly, repeating for 8-20 reps on each side.

Continue Reading