How To Exercise In the Office

Hello!  How many times have you had one of those days where your schedule gets thrown completely out of whack and you miss working out that day?  I think it’s happened to all of us from time to time.  Well, today I’m going to discuss how to exercise in the office so you can still get some physical activity in for the day.

I’m also going to go over some things you can do close to or around your desk to help.  The great thing about these activities is they don’t require a lot of space.  Just because you have a hectic schedule or some unexpected meetings doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a little exercise.

After all, some exercise is better than no exercise at the end of the day. Also, most of the moves I’m going to explain can be done in any type of attire.  However, if you’re wearing a 3 piece suit you may want to take your jacket off to make things just a little easier.  So without further ado, let’s get started!

Squats – This is a very simple movement that can easily be done just about anywhere.  To start you stand up with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.  You squat down until your butt is even to the height of a chair seat.  As you’re moving down remove your hands from your hips and place your arms in front of you.

Your arms should be parallel to the ground and palms facing down.  Once you’ve squatted down to the correct level, raise yourself back up to the same position you started.  This will help improve your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings.  Do 12-15 repetitions if you’re able to.  One side note here, if you have knee problems please don’t do this exercise.

Push-ups – Push-ups are a great, easy, and effective way to improve your chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles.  The proper way to do a push-up is with your hands on the floor in front of you and your body in a generally straight line.  Your feet shouldn’t be any farther than 12 inches apart.

Lower your body with your head and eyes forward until your upper arms are parallel to the ground.  Then raise your body back up until your back is straight again.  Do 12-15 push-ups with good form if you’re able to.

If you want to make it more challenging, you can move your hands wider apart and do wide arm push-ups.  Or you can move your hands close together until your thumbs are touching and do close hand push-ups.

How To Exercise In the Office






Bend and Reach – To do this you start out standing with your hands on your hips and feet a few inches more than shoulder width apart.  You bend down and place both hands in front of one foot on the floor like you’re picking something up.  Then you raise your torso and hands up so you’re standing straight again.

Then you raise your hands and arms up diagonally to the opposite side of the foot you leaned toward.  For example, if you bent over in front of your left foot, then you raise yourself up diagonally with your hands and arms going up in the air to your right side.  It’s kind of like you’re reaching to put something on a shelf.

Do this 12-15 times to each side if you can.  This movement can help strengthen your core.  Also, if you have bad knees please don’t do this exercise.

Jog In Place – The name of this exercise is pretty self-explanatory.  You simply jog in place near your work station or wherever you have a little space.  Do this for 1-2 minutes or as long as you can go.  This will help your cardiorespiratory system, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

Calf Raises – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.  Raise the heels of both feet off the ground simultaneously and hold that position for 2-3 seconds.  It’s basically like your standing on your tip toes.  Or for those who have kids they might say tippy toes lol.  Do this 12-15 times or as many as you can.

Chair Tricep Extensions – For this one you’ll need access to a chair without wheels and that’s stationary.  Place both hands on the edge of the chair with your legs straight and extended in front of you.  Make sure your back is about 1-2 inches in front of the chair and no farther.

Then lower your body down toward the floor until your butt is about 3-4 inches off the floor.  If you can do this 12-15 times that’s great, if not do as many reps as you can.

Glute Bridge With Leg Raise – You may want to make sure the floor is fairly clean before doing this.  You lay on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and knees flexed.  Your palms should be face down on the floor also.  You raise your butt off the floor at least 6-8 inches.

While holding that position raise one leg in the air and hold that position 2-3 seconds.  Then bring the leg back down so both feet are on the floor again.  At that point you lower your butt back to the floor.

This will help strengthen your hips and other core muscles.  Do this 12-15 times for each leg or as many as you can do.  A note of caution, if you have back problems please don’t do this exercise.

Jumping Rope – Keep a jump rope at your desk or in your car.  It can come in very handy on busy days.  You can jump rope easily near your desk or in the parking lot.  If you can find time to do it just a minute or two in between meetings or on the go, it’s great cardio and helps your balance and coordination.

How To Exercise In the Office







In and Out – This is another exercise you’ll want to make sure the floor is fairly clean before doing.  You sit on the floor with your knees flexed and palms facing down on the floor.  Then you raise your feet a couple inches of the floor and extend both legs forward keeping them fairly straight.

After you’ve extended them, bring your legs and knees back toward your chest until your knees are a few inches from your chest.  Extend your legs back out to repeat the repetition.  This is good for your core, hamstrings, and quadriceps.  Do it 12-15 times if you’re able to.

Single Arm Front and Lateral Shoulder Raises – You stand up with your feet shoulder width apart.  Use a small item with some weight such as a paper weight, large book, etc.  Start by holding the item at your side.   Then raise your hand and arm forward until your arm is parallel to the ground.

Then lower your arm back to the starting position.  You then raise your arm sideways until it’s parallel to the ground again.  This movement is good for your shoulder muscles and rotator cuff.

Stationary Lunge – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.  Place one foot forward like your taking a large step. As you move that foot and leg forward, keep your other foot stationary on the ground.  At the same time lower your back knee until it’s 1-2 inches off the ground.

Then raise yourself back up until you’re in the same position you started. If you can, do 12-15 lunges to each side.  These are great for your glutes and hamstrings.  Also, if you have bad knees please don’t do this exercise.

How To Exercise In the Office






Stairs – When possible, take the stairs when going from one floor to another whether it’s up or down.  I always suggest that if it’s 3 floors or less in either direction you should take the stairs.  If it’s more than 3 floors and you still want to take the stairs that’s even better!  Using the stairs is good for your glutes, hamstrings, and cardiorespiratory system.

Summary –  The next time you have a crazy, hectic day that’s running long and you plan to work out that day don’t abandon all hope.  It’s not the fitness apocalypse that day and you can still squeeze in some physical activity.  All you need is a minute or two here and there and you can still work in some awesome exercises.

I hope this information has been helpful.  If you have some exercises you do at the workplace you’d like to share please let us know.  Also, if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!


photo credit: Skip via photopin (license)

photo credit: Morning Yoga via photopin (license)


4 thoughts on “How To Exercise In the Office”

  1. Hi Jon,
    These are some great ideas for exercising in the office. not the same as a full on gym workout or a 3 mile run, but like you say “some exercise is better than no exercise” and many of us excuse ourselves too easily by saying we don’t have enough time to go to the gym or whatever, so we end up doing nothing. These simple in-house office tips and exercise routines are great and easy to pull off. I find when I do take even a little time out to stretch or do a few exercises, I can then refocus on my work with more energy and clarity and I actually end up getting more quality work done than if i had just tried to slog through without taking an exercise or stretch break.

    1. Hi Peter, you’re definitely right about how doing a few exercises can help you refocus on work or whatever task you might be doing. Thanks for sharing your experience and comment!


  2. Hello I just have a pretty simple question. I need to remember to do this the next time I am stuck somewhere like work and can’t get to the gym. For squats and push ups do you recommend I do 1 set to failure? or lets say squats 3×20? I’ve never done body weight workouts so any extra input into how many sets for these would be great! i want to feel the burn!

    1. Hi Kurtis,

      To answer the question it depends on what your overall goal is. If you’re looking to gain maximum strength and bulk up then it’s better to do 1 set to failure. If you’re trying to achieve general and overall balance in body strength then you can do 2-3 sets.

      The amount of reps to feel the burn will depend on your current strength level. You should do enough so the last 2-3 reps are a bit of a struggle. I hope this helps and thanks for the great comment and question!


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