Easy Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

Your desk: You have to sit at it to get work done, but it’s not always so good for your body. “People in desk positions really need to do certain exercises during the day—especially stretching,” says Delray Beach, FL, trainer Erin Connolly. “Luckily, there are some easy ones to do at work that are wardrobe-friendly and won’t look unprofessional or questionable.”

Stretch It Out

Place your left foot on the floor with knees at a 90-degree angle and cross your right ankle on top of your left knee (at a right angle). “Then, sit up straight and breathe deeply for a few seconds, lightly pressing your knee down toward the floor, feeling a stretch in the hips and glutes,” says KC Sklar, New York SoulCycle instructor. “If that’s easy, fold your body down over your leg (bringing your face toward your ankle) for a more intense stretch.” Repeat with opposite leg position.

Tone Your Arms

Don’t have weights sitting around your office? Swap them for a water bottle. “Scoot to the edge of your chair and plant both feet on the floor with knees at a 90-degree angle,” says Sklar. “With one water bottle in each hand, fold your lower arms up and down with palms facing the ceiling and elbows positioned firmly beside your rib cage. The key is to move slowly and articulate the motion, counting to two on the way up and the way down.” Repeat 10 times, then rotate palms to face each other (turning the motion into a “hammer curl”), and do that 10 times. Perform two sets, 10 of each. 

Work Your Abs

No need to get on the floor for a full sit-up—just put your posture in check! “All you need to do is sit up straight, focus on your breathing and draw your belly button back to your spine,” says Traci D. Mitchell, fitness and nutrition expert and author of The Belly Burn Plan. “Hold, release and repeat. Soon it will become habit.”

Tackle Your Thighs

To target your thighs, Tracey Mallett, creator of bootybarre, suggests doing seated squat hovers, which consist of lifting your butt off your chair a few inches and holding for 20 to 30 seconds and repeating five times. “You can also sit and stand on your chair—just make sure it’s a non-rolling one,” adds Connolly.

For Some Extra Burn

Seated leg extensions are great for working the quads. “Work the quadriceps on the front of your leg by sitting up straight and extending one leg straight out, flexing your toes toward your face,” says Mitchell. “Squeeze your quadricep, then return your leg to a bent position. Repeat 20 to 30 times on each leg. “Add in small pulses for extra burn,” Mallett adds.