With so many of us following strict schedules and tight deadlines at work, it’s easy to procrastinate about our daily workout. A key aspect of being successful in sticking to a workout regimen is to find a system that works for your hectic life. This is why working out at work is so helpful. One trick for staying in shape throughout the year is to work out on your lunch break. But for those days when you’re just too swamped to even pull yourself away from your desk, a “deskercise” routine can really save your resolution to get into shape.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple exercises that you can do throughout the day, during breaks, without needing to leave your desk. Start by checking with your doctor to make sure you are in physical shape for this (or any) exercise routine. Then verify with your employer that performing these exercises at your desk is allowed and won’t pose a liability. When you’re ready to get started with the exercises I recommend below, three sets of 15 reps each is an ideal place to begin. You can switch it up to 20-25 reps x three sets once you've completed three weeks of the same program.
1) Tricep curls
Have a paperweight or a big water bottle on your desk? If yes, you have the perfect DIY dumbbell. Holding the “dumbbell” in your hand, keep your upper arm close to your body and move only your forearm. This is one of many upper body workouts you can do at your desk.
2) Desk dips
Here is another great triceps exercise. If you’re familiar with traditional triceps dips, which are usually done from a bench or table, then you know exactly how to do this exercise. However, even if you’re just starting out, it’s quite simple. All you have to do is use your desk as support, then lower your body up and down like a traditional dip. Make sure before you start that your desk is capable of supporting your weight and can be safely used to perform this exercise. Desk dips are good for your entire arm.
You can use your desk as the perfect tool to perform inclined push-ups! This is a simple exercise to do and it is great for your arms and chest muscles. Set your hands on your desk and feet on the floor like a traditional push-up but at an incline. Just be sure that your back is straight and not arched in any way. As with the desk dips, make sure that your desk is capable of supporting your weight before performing this exercise. Even just a few desk ups squeezed into your daily routine can go a long way.
4) Leg extension
For this exercise, bodyweight is more than adequate. However, you can add more resistance through ankle weights once you’re ready for something more advanced. While you’re sitting, put your legs together and lift them to become parallel with the ground. Hold for a few seconds and then lower them down slowly but not fully. This works the same way as using the leg extension machine at the gym, like the image below but without equipment.
5) Hamstring curls
This exercise is similar to the traditional hamstring curl done on your hands and knees but you are standing up. Stand behind your desk chair, with one hand on the chair for support. Then gently curl one foot back, making sure that your heel touches the top of your thigh. Also, squeezing your glutes during this motion can help work your butt. Do this without footwear so you can avoid unsightly marks on your clothes. Make sure to alternate between legs.
6) Desk squats
Squatting is one of the best ways to tone your glutes and, fortunately, there’s no restriction on where you can do it. Push your chair away and use your desk as a support to get a nice, low squat. Raise your arms straight ahead as you bend your legs to form a perpendicular angle with the ground.
7) The silent squeeze
If your job requires you to sit in the same seat for hours and you can’t really move away, then at least you can make the most of it. While seated, squeeze your glutes for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat this a few times over the day, whenever you can, for an effective butt-toning workout.
Every few hours, take a break and go for a walk whenever it’s appropriate for your work schedule. Step outside and walk around the building, park your car farther from the front door of the office, take the stairs instead of the elevator or head to the water cooler at the other side of the building instead of the one near your workspace. The key is to look for any opportunity in your busy day to MOVE.
9) Sit and stand
Another office cardio tip is to take a minute to repeatedly sit and stand at your desk. While it may look weird, it is actually a great mini cardio break and can be really effective for pumping adrenaline through your body.
Your body may tend to get stiff when you stay in one position most of the day. Thankfully, you can easily do some stretching while you’re seated at your desk. Set a timer or notification on your computer to stop and stretch your legs, your arms, neck, shoulders and back. Even a few moments a couple times a day can make a big difference. As a bonus, stretching is a great way to wake yourself up and feel refreshed.
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