Desk Exercises

Desk Plank with Leg Lift

  • For an extra challenge try adding push-ups in-between each series of leg lifts
  • Safety note: Make sure you have a non-slip surface in which to anchor your feet

What it works: 

  • Strengthens front and rear core (abdominals, hip flexors & lumbar) & shoulders 
  • *If push-ups added – chest (pectorals) & rear arm (triceps) strengthening

How it works:

  • Stand straight in front of your desk and pivot forward at your hips to place your hands palms flat on the edge of your desk, arms straight
  • Walk your feet backwards until your back and knees are straight (back and legs are all in straight alignment). Heels can but don’t have to be flat of the floor
  • You are now in an angled plank position
  • Exhale as you raise one leg at a time keeping your hips from rotating and keeping your body straight. 
  • Hold each leg up for about 2-3 seconds, inhale slowly lowering it each time.
  • Perform this 1 – 2 sets, 10 repetitions each leg per set.
  • Again if you want an extra challenge add a push up in between each set of leg lifts.
  • Exhale each time you push up from the desk and then inhale as you lower back down slowly

Standing Windmill

What it works:

  • Rotational core, rear legs (hamstrings), butt (glutes)

How it works:

  • Stand straight up with legs wider than shoulder width apart at the same time have arms outstretched and out at opposing angles forming an “X” with your body, palms facing forward
  • Inhale as you reach the opposite hand toward the opposite foot by bending down at the hips, sticking your butt out as you lean over. You do not need to touch your hand and foot together.
  • Exhale as you return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite sides
  • Complete 2 sets of 10-15 each side

Air Squats

  • Note: For those with weight bearing, bending knee issues try ‘knee raises’ listed below

What it works:

  • Front of leg (quads), butt (glutes), calves, core & shoulders

How it works:

  • Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides
  • Inhale as you squat down, bending at your knees but keeping your back straight, bring your arms straight out in front of you
  • Try to keep your heals flat on the ground
  • Exhale as you stand back up straightening your knees and bringing your arms back to your side
  • Perform 2 sets of 10 each

Knee Raises (with arms)

  • Optional (and good alternative to ‘air squats’)
  • Safety note: Make sure you have something stable near-by (wall, desk, stable chair) to grab just in case balance is lost

What it works:

  • Front of leg (quads), butt (glutes), calves, core, shoulders & arms

How it works:

  • In standing position, exhale and raise 1 leg with bent knee (as high as comfortable) while standing on the other straight leg, foot flat on the ground
  • At the same time swing your arms in opposite direction with the opposite arm forward with the opposite knee up (in a walkers/runners arm pose)
  • Inhale as you return both arm and leg back to starting position
  • Take your time with this and perform 2 sets of 10 each leg/arm or perform 2 sets of 15-20 seconds each

For more information on this and other desk exercises, please e-mail us at renew.you@halifax.org