How to Get a Workout at Your Desk Job

Fitness Tips

How to Get a Workout at Your Desk Job

Long gone are the physical days of toiling in the fields or felling giant redwoods. Today’s workers are in cubicles, not under the hot sun. And even the recess of our childhoods has given way to Chex Mix scarfing in the break room. Between hour-long commutes and 10-hour workdays, how is anyone supposed to fit in their recommended daily allowance of exercise?

More and more people are looking for solutions closer to home – or the desk really. In fact, by performing a few basic exercises during the day, sedentary office laborers can build muscle and burn calories with minimal interruption to their daily work schedule.

Below are a few ideas for how to get a workout at your desk job (and no, not everything involves an exercise ball or a stress gripper).


One of the most important methods of relieving stress and improving posture is frequent stretching. It’s easy, however, to overlook this necessary warm-up to the “heavy lifting.” Sit tall and push your shoulder blades together for quick back relief. Twist your neck slowly in clockwise and counter-clockwise circles, then turn your gaze to the right and left. Further loosen up with some quick shoulder shrugs, then dip into the ever-popular toe-touch. After a few ab twists, you’re ready for step 2!


There’s no reason you can’t kill a few calories right on your chair pad. While no one wants to get too sweaty at a desk job, thirty seconds of running in place can get your heart-rate up while keeping your shirt dry. A quick set of jumping jacks can also help burn the lunch pizza party calories.


A few minutes of planks and pushups per day can quickly add up to increased strength. Start by seeing how many planks and pushups you can do in 2 minutes. Every day, add 30 seconds until you’re in pro shape. And remember: there’s no shame in starting on your knees if you haven’t yet built up to the full military. (Some people even do pushups against their desk.)

Leg lifts are also a fantastic exercise when pressed for space. Merely sit in your chair and slowly lift your legs until they are parallel to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat in sets of five. Another option? Using the arms of the chair (provided they’re strong enough) for leverage: push yourself off the seat and hold.

The ideal 5-minute work-out

  • 1 minute of stretching – think toe-touching, arm-reaching, torso-twisting goodness
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks
  • 1 minute crunches or planks
  • 30 seconds push ups
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds of stretching cool-down

Take a lap

Consider making a loop of your office a few times per day. You can high-five co-workers while ensuring you get a little exercise.

Take advantage of a slow computer

Why get frustrated with seemingly interminable load times? Stand up and do some jumping jacks while the internet’s up to its sometime shenanigans. How do you stay fit during the long workdays? Let us know in the comments.