Work From Home Exercises to Sneak in at Your Desk

woman doing arm stretches at her desk work station

No time for the gym? These quick and easy desk exercises will help you keep up your fitness, even on the busiest of work days.

Work from home exercises for your upper body

Desk Push ups

Stand up and take a few steps back. Place your hands on the desk a little more than shoulder width apart, Lean forward so that you are in a plank position (head is in line with your toes). Keeping your core tight, lower your body towards your desk, bending at the elbows. Straighten your arms and push back up. Aim for 15-20 reps.

Wall Push ups

If desk push ups are too challenging, start building strength with wall push ups. Place your hands on the wall a little wider than your shoulders. Then, keeping your core tight, lower your body so that there’s a bend in your elbows. Aim for 15-20 reps.

Chair Tricep Dips

Make sure you have a sturdy chair or surface. Place your hands at the edge of the chair, palms down and fingers facing forward. Scoot forward and off the chair with your glutes and hamstrings in line with the bottom of the chair, and your knees in line with your ankles. Bend your elbows and lower your body towards the ground, until your elbows and arms form 90 degree angles. Press back up and repeat 12-15 times. 

Optional: for these next exercises, add in light dumbbells for added resistance.

Arm Circles

Extend both arms out to the sides, so that they are at shoulder height. Rotate your arm in backward circles for 5 times, then switch and circle them forward 5 times. 

Tricep Pulses

Keep your hands down by your sides, then slightly hinge forward. Raise your arms behind you with palms facing towards the ceiling. Pulse your arms up and down for 10-15 seconds.

Air shoulder press

Extend your arms out to the side, then bend your elbows and point your hands towards the ceiling. Your arms should form 90 degree angles. Then, press arms up and overhead until your fingertips touch. Repeat 10-15 times. 

Work from home exercises for your lower body

Chair (or air) squat

Stand up from your chair and squat as if you are about to sit back down. Make sure to keep your weight in your heels, knees over your toes, and chest proud. Once you sit in your chair, stand back up again, pressing off from your heels. Repeat 15 times.

To perform an air squat, just remove the chair but repeat the same squatting and standing motion. 

Calf Raises

Stand up at your desk and raise up on your toes, so that your heels are lifted off the ground. Do 2-3 sets of 10 raises. If needed, you can lightly use your desk for stability. 

Wall squat

With your back against the wall, lower your body into a squat so that your knees are over your ankles. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3 times. 

Glute Kickbacks

Stand up and place your hands on the desk for stability. Transfer your weight to one leg, and bend the other behind you and flex your foot. Press your heel out like it’s pushing off a surface and engage your glute. Release back in, and repeat 15-20 times per leg. 

Optional: add a loop resistance band or ankle weights 

Lunges

Step one foot backwards and lower into a lunge. Your front leg should have your knee in line with your ankle and form a 90 degree angle. Press up from the heel of your front leg and bring your feet back together. That’s one rep. Repeat for 10-15 times on one leg, then alternate sides.

Optional: do alternating lunges where you lunge forwards then backwards as one rep. Repeat 10 times on each side.

No equipment jump rope

Space in your home office might be limited for using an actual jump rope, but you can still get your heartrate up without one. Keep your arms at your side and pretend like you are holding a jump rope. Stay light on the balls of your feet and do small jumps in jump rope like motions. Aim for 1 minute intervals.

Work from home exercises for your core

Seated bicycle crunches

Remain seated in your chair with your feet on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Lift your left knee up towards your abdomen and twist so that your right elbow crunches to meet your left knee. Lower your leg and twist back to your normal position, then alternate sides. 

Repeat for 20-30 reps.

Seated knee raises

Staying seated with your feet on the floor, inhale and raise your knees up towards your chest. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then exhale and lower feet back down to the floor. Repeat for 20 reps.

Optional: alternate legs, lifting one at a time.

Swivel chair oblique twists

If your office chair has wheels, this one’s for you! Hold onto your desk and raise your feet off of the floor a few inches. Swivel your body to the right then left. Repeat 20 times.

Work from home desk stretches

If you’re used to working at a desk throughout the day, you’re probably no stranger to the neck, back, and shoulder cramps. Stretching at your desk can alleviate these issues and help improve bad posture caused by slouching. 

Try making some of these desk stretches part of your workday routine:

Neck stretch

Place your right hand over to the left side of your head, then very gently pull your head to your right shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds then alternate sides.

Back stretch

Reach both arms out in front of you. Lower your head, so that it’s between your arms. Then, lean forward and round your back. Hold for a few seconds then release.

Head roll

Lean your head forward then slowly roll your head around in a circular motion clockwise. Then, repeat counterclockwise.

Shoulder roll

Raise your shoulders towards your ears then roll them backwards 5 times, then alternate and roll forwards.

Shoulder stretch

Clasp both hands together then raise your arms straight overhead towards the ceiling. Breathe deep and hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds.

Chest opening stretch

Clasp both hands together behind your lower back. Push chest forward, keeping your gaze straight. Hold for a few seconds then release.

Tricep stretch

Raise your right hand towards the ceiling, then bend at the elbow behind your head. Your hand should touch your left shoulder blade (or top of left shoulder). Using your left hand, pull your elbow towards the left shoulder. 

Take a couple deep breaths, release, shake it out, and repeat on the other side.

Typing stretch

This stretch targets your wrists, forearms, and fingers to alleviate the strain caused by prolonged typing and texting. Stand up, rotate your hands so that when you place them on the desk, your elbows and fingers point towards your body. Lean forward on your hands and hold for a few seconds. Repeat as needed.

Spinal twist

Stay seated on a chair with legs and feet together. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh, left hand on the back of your chair. Exhale and twist, pressing the palm of your right hand into your thigh. Take a few deep breaths, then switch sides.

Calf and hamstring stretch

Remain in your chair and extend one leg out in front of you. Flex your foot so your toes point upwards and lean forward. If you can, grab hold of your toes, and breathe for 15-30 seconds. Release and alternate sides.

Glute and hip stretch

Staying seated, grab one knee with both hands and pull up and in towards your chest. Hold for a few seconds, release, and switch sides.

Final Thoughts: Work from home exercises to sneak in at your desk

If you’d like more easy tips on how to stay active throughout the workday, try Yes Health free for 14 days, and see what your health coaches recommend for you.


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