Quick desk workouts for home office
Two images. One of woman stretching and the other of the woman touching her toes with her daughter

Quick desk workouts for home office

Too lazy to go to the gym? Need a little boost to keep yourself awake at work without needing to get another coffee? We’ve gone through a few physical therapy guides and gathered some easy exercises you can do at your desk. Just remember that you should always contact your doctor before starting a new stretching program (even if it seems like an easy desk workout).

Hint: if you need a bit more of a challenge, you can get a resistance band or weights.

Getting started

In this article, we’ll go over two different types of mini-workouts that you can do from your desk. The first will be for your upper body and can be done on a chair or standing up since you won’t be moving your legs. For the second half, you’ll need a stable chair that won’t tip over easily. Please also try not to lean back while attempting this workout.

Working out too quickly and not allowing your body to adjust can also cause you to damage your tendons and ligaments which require more time to heal than muscles. These exercises are intended to be fun and simple, so take your time!

Let’s work out the arms and the shoulders

We’ll start our desk workout by moving our arms and our shoulders. You can follow the diagram above and repeat until you’re satisfied. Start by lifting your left arm as high as you can go, then the right, and then both. You might need a bit of space, so make sure you have enough room. Weights can be added to this workout for more intensity.


Make sure that your computer isn’t in front of you (or anything else for that matter), and enjoy a little boxing time. Don’t go too quickly or make jerking movements because it’s more about the motion than it is about speed (plus, you might hurt yourself). Start by reaching your left arm out, then switch to reaching your right arm out, then both arms out, and both arm in. You can repeat this until you’re satisfied. 


You’re going to reach out next to you and flap as if it were a wing (again, no quick or jerky motions). It also feels nice if you lift your arm up and then draw small circles in the air with your finger and slowly begin to make bigger ones. Repeat this on both sides until you feel satisfied. 


Much like the half-bird, you’re going to flap your arms on both sides in gentle movements as if they were wings. Relax your muscles and move your arm up as if it were the wing of a bird. You can imagine yourself as a bird flying through the sky and not having to work at your desk. You can also make the small circles and develop them into bigger spirals going clockwise and then counterclockwise. 

Arm lifts

Imagine that you’re in the gym, and you want to do a bit of weight training (if you have a resistance band, you can put your foot on one end and pull on the other or just use normal weights). If you’re not using weights or a band, please don’t strain your arm or pretend to be lifting weights. It’s only going to hurt you and add no additional benefits. Start with the left arm, then right, then both, and repeat. 

Shoulder rolls

Go ahead and roll both of your shoulders and move your head around a bit. Rotating first in one direction and then in the other. Make sure that you relax while doing this and hold any position that helps you stretch your muscles. The point is to feel your body and work with it – not against it. 

Full Body desk workout

Our next workout will be a full-body workout. Please make sure that you’re sitting down for this workout on a stable chair that won’t tip over easily. Please also remember not to lean back while doing the workout as it can cause your chair to tip over.

The crawl

Imagine that you’re standing in front of a wall, and you’re getting ready to climb it. Go ahead and reach your arms above your head and then lift your left arm and leg. Push yourself up the wall and switch to the right side. Continue to crawl up the imaginary wall until you feel satisfied.

The pull

Similar to the former exercise, you’ll pretend that you’re going to pull yourself up the same imaginary wall. First, you’ll need to reach out above your head and then pull your body up. Your legs also will come up to help push you further up the wall. Make sure that you don’t lean back in your chair while doing this, or you could risk tipping over or injuring yourself.

Body twist

You’ll need a bit of coordination for this one and a stable chair. Go ahead and take your left arm and reach towards your right while your left leg goes to the left. This is a great stretching position reimagined for the chair. If you got that down, go ahead and try reaching with your right arm to your left with your right leg stretching to the right. No repeat at a comfortable pace until you’re satisfied.

Chair waddle

Ready for something new? It’s the chair waddle. Go ahead and pick up your left arm and leg and lift them up as high as it feels comfortable, put them down, and do it on the right side. If you go at a nice rotating pace, you can feel confident that you mastered the chair waddle. 

You’re all finished! 

Did you enjoy our little desk workout? We certainly did. Just remember that we like to keep it calm and collected, so if you’re looking for more of a challenge, you might want to hit the gym. Read more on our healthy living series for more great tips and tricks.