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  • Writer's pictureDavid Wilderman

6 Great Exercises You Can Perform Right At Your Desk!

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

You’ve most likely heard the news by now...sitting is the new smoking. Unfortunately, sedentary jobs are often unavoidable. It would be great to be able to get a standing desk, or be able to do a bodyweight workout every day, but that’s not always feasible. So at least you can do some desk exercises during the day without even having to break a sweat. Here are 6 to get you started…

1) Seated neck stretch–Sit up nice and straight with both feet on the floor. Place your left hand behind your back (if you do this standing) or you can grab the bottom of your chair with your left hand (if sitting). Slowly bring your right ear down toward your right shoulder (you should feel the stretch on the left side of your neck). Gently take your right hand and place it by your left ear. Add a gentle overpressure with your right hand (pulling your right ear further down toward your right shoulder) so you feel a good stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for 15-20 seconds without holding your breath. Repeat a total of 3 times, then switch sides and perform 3 repetitions to the left (just switch arm/hand positions and bring left ear down toward left shoulder).

2) Seated/standing child’s pose stretch–Stand or sit up nice and straight and gently pull your abs in. Move your chair 1-2 feet away from your desk. Hip hinge forward at the waist, placing both hands on your desk. Let your head fall between your hands. Slowly “walk” both hands to the left (so you feel a gentle stretch on your right side) and hold for 15-20 seconds. Do 2 more times to the left, then repeat 3 times to the right.

3) Shoulder external rotation–Sitting or standing, let your arms hang down at your sides with your palms facing in toward your body. Imagine you have a string tied to the top of your head pulling your head up toward the ceiling. Now imagine another string, this one coming from the floor to your fingertips and pulling your hands toward the floor. As the “string” pulls your head up toward the ceiling and the other “string” pulls your hands toward the floor, turn your palms out so the backs of your hands are now facing your body. Hold 2-3 seconds, then rotate palms in again. Hold another 2-3 seconds, then rotate your palms back out. Repeat for 10-12 reps on each side (you only need to think about the “string” when you rotate your palms out).

4) Seated trunk twist–Fold your arms across your chest, feet flat on the floor. Take a deep breath in. Now exhale, and twist your upper body to the left (as if you were trying to look over your left shoulder, but keep your neck still). Hold for 7-10 seconds, then come back to center. Now repeat to the right side, again holding for 7-10 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times to each side.

5) Shoulder and hamstring stretch–Standing 2-3 feet away from your desk, hip hinge forward and place your outstretched hands on your desk. Keep your back and knees straight so you feel the stretch in the backs of your thighs. Now pull your shoulders down and away from your desk so you feel your lats working (the muscles you use when you do a pull-down). Hold 15-20 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

6) Desk push-up–Stand about 2 feet away from your desk. Keeping your wrists in line with your shoulders, place both hands on your desk. Now bend your elbows to lower your chest down toward your desk. Make sure to keep your elbows in tight to your body. Start with 10 reps. As you build up, you can add 1 to 2 more sets so you are doing 2-3 sets of 10.

There you have it. 6 ways to begin exercising at your desk. If you or someone you know have questions on how to get started with a strength training program, call my office at once at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation to see how Physical Therapy can help. Don’t delay–schedule now!

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