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42 Office Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk To Stay Fit

42 Office Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk To Stay Fit

Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”
- Edward Stanley

In modern times, our lives are becoming ever so easy because of the advances in technology. Almost everything we want can be attained while sitting at home or the office. From food to clothes to different goods and services, everything is available at the click of a button.

But these conveniences come at the cost of low physical activity and health issues. Now people, especially corporate employees, are stuck on their chairs for 6-8 hours a day 5-6 days a week. Also, most of us commute to our jobs in a public or private vehicle while sitting the whole way.

Sitting for long periods is associated with many health risks and problems.

A study conducted by the American Cancer Society found a connection between long periods of sitting and a higher risk of death. Moreover, without any physical exercise, the risks are doubled.

In our busy schedules, it is hard to find time to exercise and make efforts to improve our health. Still, there are many ways corporate employees can improve their health by doing activities such as cycling to work, eating healthy snacks, etc.

Though difficult to incorporate in our lifestyles, regular exercise is also very beneficial in improving health. Exercising daily has many benefits such as improved heart health, low blood cholesterol, increase strength and endurance, etc.

I have enlisted below 42 easy-to-do exercises you can do in the office at your desk. These exercises will help you stay fit and improve your health. There are many options so you can mix it up daily.

A good rule of thumb is to warm up with a 5-minute walk before you start doing these exercises as it helps to prevent injury.

Start and End your Sessions with Some Stretching

Stretching before and after exercise increases muscle flexibility, strength, and recovery. It prevents the risk of injuries such as joint pain, strains, and muscle tears.

1. Shoulder Stretch

Clasp both your hands above your head with the palms facing upward. Extend and push your arms up, raising both shoulders. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat for 5 times.

2. Tricep Stretch

Stand on your feet with your hands by your sides. Clench both of your fists. Slowly extend your arms behind by contracting only the tricep muscles. Hold for 3-5 seconds.

Repeat for 3 times.

3. Bicep Stretch

First, stand on your feet. Raise your arms sideways and extend your wrists outward. Hold this for 10 seconds.

Repeat for 3 times.

4. Chest Stretch

Clasp both of your hands behind your lower back. Raise your chin upward and push your chest outward. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat for 3 times.

5. Seated Knee Stretch

Sit in your chair or lean on the edge of your desk. Tuck one knee toward your chest. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds.

Do the same with the other knee. Repeat for 5 times each.

6. Wrist Stretch

Stand on your feet and place your hands on the desk. With your palms facing down and your fingertips facing toward you, lean forward. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat for 5 times.

7. Back Stretch

Stand on your feet and clasp both your hands. Raise them above your head and towards the back. Emphasize contraction on the back, especially the lower back. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat for 3 times.

8. Hamstring Stretch

Sit in your chair with your feet planted to the ground. Now extend one leg outward as far as you can and try to reach toward the toes. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat 4 times on each leg.

9. Neck Rolls

First, sit in your chair and lean your head forward. Roll your head slowly in a circular clockwise motion for 15 seconds. Repeat in an anti-clockwise motion.

Repeat 2 times in each motion.

10. Torso Twists

Sit in your chair and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Now, with one hand on the outer side of the armrest, twist your torso towards it and hold for 5-10 seconds.

Use your other hand to push against your thigh for support. Repeat on the other side.

11. Toe Touchers

Stand up with your feet together and straighten your arms above your head. Slowly bend down and try to touch your toes without bending your knees. Hold for 3-5 seconds.

Repeat for 10 times.

Upper Body

12. Desk Push Ups

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 5/5
Fat Loss - 3/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Chest, Triceps, Back, Shoulders, Core

Place your hands at shoulder width on the edge of your desk. Take a few steps back and lower yourself toward the desk. Push back with as much force as you can until the arms are straight.

Keep your core tight throughout the exercise. Repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

Remember to make sure that the desk is fixated and not moving.

desk-push-up

13. Tricep Dips

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 5/5
Fat Loss - 2/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Triceps, Shoulders, Chest

This exercise must be done with a stationary chair or a desk. Move in front of the chair and with your hands facing forward place your palms on the chair. With your elbows bent, lower yourself towards the ground till your elbows extend and go back up again.

Keep your back close to the chair and keep your chest up. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

tricep-dips-1

14. Overhead Shoulder Press

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 3/5
Fat Loss - 2/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Shoulders, Trapezius, Triceps, Upper Chest

You can do this exercise with a heavy book, filled water bottles or something moderately heavy. Hold the weight at shoulder height with your palms facing forward. Push it all the way overhead and lower it back again to the starting position.

Do 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

15. Wall Push Ups

Difficulty - Moderately Hard
Muscle Gain - 4/5
Fat Loss - 2/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Back, Core

This is a variation of the desk push up. Standing a few steps back from a wall, place your hands flat on it at a little more than shoulder height and lean toward it. Lower your torso toward the wall and then push back until your arms are straight.

Do not extend your arms fully and keep your abs tight and your back arched throughout the exercise.

wall-pushup

16. Tricep Kickbacks

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 3.5/5
Fat Loss - 2/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Triceps, Shoulders, Core

Stand on your feet and bend forward at a 45-degree angle. Clench your fists, bend your elbows and extend them behind you till you feel a contraction in your triceps. Keep your elbows close to your body.

You can do this exercise with weighted objects. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

17. Shrugs

Difficulty - Easy
Muscle Gain - 3/5
Fat Loss - 1/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Trapezius, Back

Stand upright with your arms by your side. Lift both shoulders towards your ears, contracting the trapezius and back muscles. Hold for one second at the top and go back to the starting position.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

18. Arm Circles

Difficulty - Very Easy
Muscle Gain - 0/5
Fat Loss - 1/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps, Back

Stand with your arms extended straight to the sides. Move your arms forward in a circular motion. Do it 10 times and then do it backward for 10 more.

Complete 30 times in each direction.

19. Bicep Curls

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 4/5
Fat Loss - 2/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Biceps, Forearms

You can do this exercise with any heavy object such as a heavy book or a filled water bottle.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms fully extended downward. Start by holding the object with one hand with your elbow slightly bent and your palms facing forward. Now, bend your elbow and curl the object up to your shoulder contracting your bicep. By fully extending the arms, lower the object.

Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each arm.

20. Good Mornings

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 2/5
Fat Loss - 2.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Back, Glutes, Hamstrings

With your back slightly hyper-extended, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands at your sides parallel to the ground. Push your hips back with your knees slightly bent and lower your torso maintaining a slight arch in your lower back. Keeping your core tight, lift your torso to return to the starting position.

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

Lower Body

21. Chair Squats

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 5/5
Fat Loss - 3.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Thighs, Glutes, Hip, Core

Stand in front of your chair with your feet hip-width apart. Slightly bend your knees and slowly lower your body toward the chair until it touches your body. Putting the weight on your heels, push up to the starting position and repeat.

Keep your abdominals tight throughout to help stabilize the back.

Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions each.

chair-squat-1

22. Lunges

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 5/5
Fat Loss - 4/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Thighs, Glutes, Hip, Core

Stand with one leg in front of the other. Then, slowly lower the knee of the leg behind down towards the floor without touching it and go back to the starting position.

Remember to keep your abs tight throughout. Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions each.

23. Wall Sits

Difficulty - Moderately Hard
Muscle Gain - 3/5
Fat Loss - 3/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Thighs, Hamstrings, Back, Core

Stand up with your back against a wall and slowly lower your body towards the ground. Stop when your thighs are at a 90-degree angle to the floor and go back up.

Do 3-4 sets of 12 repetitions each.

24. Calf Raises

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 3/5
Fat Loss - 1.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Calves

This exercise can be done anywhere. Stand up on your feet and hold on to something if want support. Slowly raise your heels off the ground until all your weight is on your toes. Slowly lower yourself towards the floor and repeat.

Do 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions each.

Calf-Raises

25. Standing Hamstring Curls

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 2/5
Fat Loss - 1.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lift one leg slightly from the ground. Then, raise that leg behind and bring the heel upwards towards the buttock opposite to it and back to the starting position.

Put your body weight on to the foot on the ground. Grab the edge of a desk if you need support.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

ham-curl

26. Side Lunges

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 3.5/5
Fat Loss - 4/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Thighs, Hamstrings, Hip, Glutes

Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Keeping one leg straight, transfer your body weight to one leg by bending your knee until it reaches a 90-degree angle. Return back to the starting position and repeat.

Always keep your back straight. Do not lean forward.

Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions for each leg.

side-lunges

Core

27. Seated Leg Raises

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 4.5/5
Fat Loss - 4/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Abdominals

Sit in your chair with your legs in front and together on the floor and your knees slightly bent. Resting your hands on the armrests, raise your legs till you feel a contraction in your abdominal muscles and lower them back slowly.

Do 4-5 sets of 12-15 repetitions each.

28. Seated Crunches

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 4.5/5
Fat Loss - 4/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Abdominals

Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the ground and your hands positioned behind your head. Slowly lower your torso towards your knees, contracting the abdominal muscles. Return back to the starting position and repeat.

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

29. Standing Knee Raises

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 2.5/5
Fat Loss - 2.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Abdominals, Hips, Back, Shoulders

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise one knee up towards your chest, squeezing your abdominal muscles. Hold for one second at the top and then lower it back to the starting position and repeat.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

30. Desk/Chair Plank

Difficulty - Moderately Hard
Muscle Gain - 3.5/5
Fat Loss - 3.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Abdominals

Stand up and put your hands on the edge of your desk or chair. Place your legs behind until you are at 45 degree to the floor. Tighten your abdominals and hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Do 3-4 sets and aim for 60 seconds in each set.

31. Plank Knee Cross

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 3/5
Fat Loss - 5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Abdominals, Glutes, Back

You can do this exercise with a fixated chair or a sturdy desk. Place both your forearms on the chair/desk and position your feet back into a plank position. With your hips low and your core tight, raise one knee to the inside of the opposite arm.

Return to the starting position and repeat on the other leg. Do 3 sets of 8-10 for each leg.

32. Seated Bicycle Pedal

Difficulty - Easy
Muscle Gain - 1.5/5
Fat Loss - 2.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Abdominals

Sit on the edge of your chair and put your hands on the armrest for support. Bring your knees toward your chest and position your legs as if you are pedaling on a bicycle. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted and start pedaling with your feet.

Repeat in a continuous motion for 30-60 secs and complete 3 sets.

Conditioning Exercises

33. Spot Jumps

Difficulty - Easy
Muscle Gain - 1.5/5
Fat Loss - 3.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Calves, Thighs

Stand with your feet slightly lesser than shoulder-width apart. Hop on both feet until you are a few inches above the ground.
Contract your abdominals while doing this exercise, Do 3-4 sets for 80-100 times each.

34. Pretend Jump Rope

Difficulty - Easy
Muscle Gain - 1.5/5
Fat Loss - 4/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Calves, Thighs, Shoulders

Stand up and clench your fists as if you are holding a jump rope. Hop on both feet and twist your wrists simultaneously. Slowly increase the speed gradually to burn more calories.

Do it 3 times for 1 minute minimum each time.

jump-rope

35. Squat Jumps

Difficulty - Very Hard
Muscle Gain - 4/5
Fat Loss - 5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Thighs, Abdominals, Hamstrings, Glutes, Back, Calves

First, make sure you have ample space in front of you so that you can jump freely. Stand on your feet and lower your body halfway into a squat and jump up with as much force as you can. Hold your arms in front of you or behind your head,

Do this for 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

36. Jumping Jacks

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 2/5
Fat Loss - 4.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Calves, Hip, Shoulders, Core

Stand with your legs together and slightly bend your knees and your hands to your sides. Now, move your arms above your head and your legs sideways. Go back to starting position with your legs together and your hands to the sides.

Do 3-4 sets of 10-20 repetitions each.

Isometric Exercises

37. Isometric Desk Push Ups

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 3.5/5
Fat Loss - 3/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Chest, Triceps, Back, Shoulders, Core

Start off with the same starting position as the desk push up, When you lower the body, hold the position for 10-15 seconds and then go back to the starting position.

Do 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions each.

38. Glute Squeezes

Difficulty - Easy
Muscle Gain - 2.5/5
Fat Loss - 1.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Glutes

Stand straight and squeeze your glutes forcefully keeping the contraction for 30-40 seconds. Relax and then start again.

Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions each.

39. Squat Hold

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 3.5/5
Fat Loss - 3/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Thighs, Calves, Hip, Hamstrings, Core

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly turned outward. Place your hands behind your head and slowly bend your knees and push your hips backward. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground and hold this position for as long as you can and then go back to the starting position.

Do 3 sets of 10 repititions each.

40. Static Lunge

Difficulty - Hard
Muscle Gain - 3/5
Fat Loss - 3/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Thighs, Calves, Hip, Hamstrings, Core

Stand in the starting position of the lunge and lower yourself in a deep lunge without touching the ground with your bent knee. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.

gesina-kunkel-1506211-unsplash

41. Isometric Internal Shoulder Rotation

Difficulty - Easy
Muscle Gain - 2/5
Fat Loss - 0.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Shoulders, Back, Forearms, Biceps, Triceps

Stand adjacent to a wall with the elbow close to the wall slightly flexed at 90 degrees. Keeping your elbow closely tucked to your side, push your arm into the wall as if you are rotating it outward. Hold this position for 10 secs and repeat with the other arm.

Do 3 sets of 8 reps for each arm.

42. Isometric Crunch Hold

Difficulty - Moderate
Muscle Gain - 2,5/5
Fat Loss - 2.5/5
Targeted Muscle Groups - Abdominals

Sit in your chair with your feet planted to the floor and place your hands behind your head. Slowly lower your torso towards your knees, contract your abdominal muscles and hold this position for 10-20 seconds and go back to the starting position.

Do 2 sets of 10 reps each.

So, get on your feet and start exercising your way toward a healthier and more productive life.

   Apart from being a content writer at Vantage Circle, Shah Alif Ahmed is also a certified nutrition specialist, pro bodybuilder and a musician. For any queries reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com