My Top 7 Desk Exercise Tips
In this blog post I’m not only going to show you some exercises to do at work but also how daily desk exercise can help keep your body healthy and prevent it from becoming a couch potato. I have news for you, if you’re sitting in a desk 40-60 hours a week working or whatnot then there’s a good chance you’re going to end up being overweight or at least an imbalanced body even if you work out a few times a week.
Don’t get me wrong exercising some is always better than not doing anything at all but sitting the rest of the time can have negative effects on our bodies. When you think about it the human body didn’t evolve to sit in one spot for the majority of the day no matter how comfortable someone’s chair is.
Researchers from Louisiana State University found that 50% of jobs 50 years ago required a moderate amount of exercise but today only 20% of jobs require anything near that. Also workers in 1960 only weighed an average of 170 lbs. but today they weigh an average of almost 200 lbs.
And there are ton more studies just like this basically telling us we’re sitting way too much now compared to the past and we need to get our butts moving.
The human body will simply adapt to whatever you do the most and if you’re sitting all day then you’re body is going to adapt to doing that. The big problem here is that it’s going to make it that much harder to do the natural things our bodies want to do such as exercise, running, walking, swimming and even standing.
I’m always hearing these older guys complain about their bodies and how it’s because how old they are but the bottom line is that they’ve have sat on their butts thei majority of their lives. Eventually they’ll find pains in their lower back, hips, shoulders and neck because they’ve lost mobility and balance while becoming overloaded with muscle stiffness.
If you’ve ever seen somebody with rounded shoulders and their head tilted forward then that’s most likely because they’ve been sitting hunched over a keyboard for way too long. And you can bet your money that on top of having bad posture you’re also destined to have shoulder, neck and back problems from this.
When you’re body is in the sitting position for too long your hip flexors and hamstrings will also shorten leading to tight hips and knee/lower back problems. Your glute (butt) muscles will also forget how to fire and activate placing more stress on your short and stiff muscles.
What Does A Desk Exercise Have To Do With Fat Loss?
And what does this all mean when it comes to fat loss? If your body is unable to move and function the right way then you’re not going to be able to get the full benefits from exercising because you won’t be able to properly do all the essential exercises such as deadlifts, front squats, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.
If you’re body is in this bad of state it’s also only a matter of time before you hurt yourself and then you won’t be able to work out even more! For many people this is an never ending cycle of getting hurt, finally healing up and then getting hurt again!
So should you run out and quit your job? Not necessarily, but you’re going to have to more active when you’re working to not only keep off the fat but to also keep your body healthy.
You should still keep up with your regular gym work but I’m going to share with you some exercises to do at work that will help keep your body healthy.
Desk Exercise #1: Hip Flexor Stretch
The first desk exercise is then one I consider the most important to lengthen the hip flexors so you can prevent an anterior pelvic tilt, which could lead to lower back problems. Also when your hip flexors become too tight this anterior pelvic tilt will move your posture so that your stomach pushes outward and it makes you look like you have more belly fat then you really do.
Desk Exercise #2: Hip Bridges
This exercise will help strengthen your weakened glutes and it’s a simple enough exercise. All you have to do is lay on your back with your knees bent and toes up off the floor pointed towards the sky. Squeeze your cheeks together and push your hips up towards the sky until there’s a straight line from your knees to your glutes.
Desk Exercise #3: Thoracic Extensions
The next few exercises to do at work are to help prevent or reverse the hunched back syndrome. I really don’t think too many people are looking for the Quasimoto look so here we go!
While sitting in your chair adjust the height of your backrest so that the very top of it reaches to just under your armpits. Then place your hands behind your head and lean back over your back rest. Preferably you could do this with a foam roller but if you’re not up getting one then using your chair will do.
Desk Exercise #4: Prone Cobra
Another reason desk jockeys get the Quasimoto look is because they have weak back muscles. The prone cobra is an excellent exercise to strengthen all the muscles in your back. Lie facedown on the ground with your arms at your sides and your palms up. Then lift your chest and arms off the ground while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Keep your chin down and hold for 5-15 seconds while breathing steadily.
Desk Exercise #5: Doorway Chest Stretch
Having tight chest muscles is usually the primary problem if you have rounded shoulders and this is for an number of reasons. But the main one is because we’re living our lives with our shoulders in the rounded position as we constantly are sitting around typing on a keyboard, steering the wheel in the car and even brushing our teeth.
To perform the doorway chest stretch all you have to do is bring your arms up in an L position like you’re going to high-five somebody. Making sure your elbows are at 90 degrees step through the doorway until your elbows hit the doorjam and you feel a stretch in your chest.
Desk Exercise #6: Upper-Trap Stretch
This upper-trap stretch will help loosen up your neck and the back of your shoulders as the muscles can easily become shortened. To do this stretch place one arm behind your back and then with the opposite arm grab the top of your head and gently pull it down and away from the arm that’s behind your back.
Desk Exercise #7: Chair Shrugs
This last exercise will help strengthen your serratus anterior muscles which weaken from sitting in a chair for too long. To do this exercise sit upright in a chair and then place your hands on the sides or top of the seat cushion. Then push your body up off the chair with your arms until your arms straighten out. After pausing at the top for a few seconds slowly bring yourself back down before repeating again.
Wrapping Up This Desk Exercise Guide
When it’s all said and done we’re going to have to live more active lives overall. Sitting too much even if you work out isn’t going to be healthy for yourself in the long run whether that means putting on a few extra pounds or having more internal health problems.
But the best way you’re going to be able to minimize these problems is going to be to doing these 7 desk exercises while at work. All you have to do is get these exercises done on a quick 10 minute break. No more excuses, time to get these desk exercises done!
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.