Work Exercises (Deskercises!)


You’re plunking away at your computer, minding your own business when you’re interrupted by the sound of heavy breathing and, yes, that IS grunting from the cubicle next door! Curiosity piqued, you slowly sneak a peek over the top of the dividers to find…

Your co-worker working out at her desk! Pushups, squats, leg extensions — even abs and triceps are getting put through the wringer right there in her little workspace.

She tells you she’s simply sick of sitting (to which you frantically nod in agreement) and her body was crying out for movement. You probably know the feeling — tight shoulders, ache in your back, restless legs, and distracted thoughts even with pressing deadlines.

Here are the 4 Deskercises she’s doing to get the blood pumping, oxygenate muscles, skyrocket energy, boost productivity, and prevent all those nasty side effects from sitting for too long (like back pain, headaches, depressed feelings, junk-food munchies, fatigue, and even deconditioned muscles, tendons and ligaments)

  1. Incline Pushups on Desk

         Targets: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Core, Quadriceps

         Set Up:

  • Place hands on edge of desk shoulder width or just slightly wider with fingers pointing forward.
  • Walk feet away from hands coming into an incline plank position with chest between hands and legs straight.
  • Engage core (belly button & spine press together) and tighten quads (tense up the front of your thighs)

        How To:

  • Bend elbows lowering chest toward desk as you inhale.
  • Press up as you exhale
  • Keep chin, spine and hips lifted, lengthened and in alignment.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions
  1. Alternating Leg Extensions OR Double Leg Extensions

          Targets: Core and Quadriceps

          Set Up:

  • Sit all the way back in your chair and leverage yourself by holding onto the edges of your seat or armrests.
  • Sit tall through your torso and engage your core by pressing belly button and spine together.

         How To:

  • Extend one leg at the knee until leg is straight. Tighten the quad and pause at the top of the extension.
  • Lower leg to the ground as the other leg lifts. Pause to tighten quads then continue alternating legs. Move in such a way that your core must brace the transition between legs.
  • Repeat for 10–15 repetitions each leg
  • For Double Leg Extensions, try extending both legs at the same time, hold at the top for 2 seconds, then lower slowly.
  1. Chair Squats

          Targets: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Core and Low Back

          Set Up:

  • Begin standing in front of your chair with feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Align feet so that toes point straight forward or slightly turned out (for cranky knees).
  • Lengthen up through your torso and engage your core (belly button & spine together)

         How To:

  • Press your hips back shifting weight into heels while staying connected to entire sole of foot.
  • Bend the knees and sit until your glutes just touch your chair. Remain lifted through your chest.
  • Drive up to standing by pressing into the heels and tightening the hamstrings, glutes, and core.
  • Repeat for 10–15 repetitions
  1. Triceps Chair Lifts – “Ski season may be over but you can still hit the chair lift” –Brook Barons, my Saving Grace.

          Targets: Triceps, Shoulders, Pelvic Floor and Core

          Set Up:

  • Sit halfway back on your chair and grip the edges of your seat. Keep knees bent and feet set on the floor to start.
  • Lift through the pelvic floor (think about squeezing those muscles that would help you stop urinating) and press belly button & spine together.

          How To:

  • Straighten arms and “lift” hips away from chair. If feet feel like they will lift off the ground go ahead and lift them.
  • Lower back to chair and repeat the lift.
  • Advance this exercise by holding the lift for 3-5 seconds with hips, legs, and feet suspended and arms straight, triceps engaged.
  • Repeat for 5–10 repetitions

Follow the notes for the Set Up & How To for each exercise or follow along with me in the quick Deskercise Video above!


In less than 5 minutes you can reawaken your muscles, get a little metabolic boost, and feel super energized and focused to zip through your day stress-free. Those deadlines got nothing on you!

In less than 5 minutes you can reawaken your muscles, get a little metabolic boost, and feel super energized and focused to zip through your day stress-free. Those deadlines got nothing on you!

In Love & Gratitude,

Signature 3

Missi Holt

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