5 Sneaky Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

AKA lazy girl ways to get a little fitter this year whilst avoiding the treadmill.

Desks and chairs
(Image credit: GETYY IMAGES)

After a long day of work, sometimes the last thing we want to do is head to the gym, even though we know it's good for us, we'll feel better afterward, etc. And while we are inspired to actually make it to pilates every once in a while, what about those days when you know that you should tone but are stuck at the office? Enter deskercise, in which you tone at your desk. Sure, sometimes you'll look a little silly, but who will be the one laughing when your beach bod looks slamming? For a few effective and minimally embarrassing/sweaty deskercise moves, we spoke with trainer and fitness expert Brooke Marrone, president and founder of Brooke Marrone Fitness. Here are her top moves: 

"On your way into the office, skip the elevator and head to the stairs to walk or jog up and down ten times as a cardio warm up. Stairs will benefit everything from building muscle to burning fat and boosting your metabolism." 

Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves 

Sweat Factor: 3-5/10

"These are a compound strength exercise that targets numerous muscles in the lower body. Stand up tall in front of your chair with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms bent in front of your body. Keeping your abs in, bend your knees and lower your body down towards the chair. Make sure to shift your weight back into your heels and not your toes as you sit into the chair. Stand back up straight, pushing from your heels and repeat 20 times."

Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves

Sweat factor: 2.5/10

"This is one of the most effective exercise for the back of the upper arms. Sit on the edge of your chair with your hands shoulder width apart and your knees bent with your feet flat about two feet away from the chair. Keeping your chest open and shoulders back, slide your butt off the chair. Slowly bend your elbows towards the back of the chair and lower your body to the floor bringing your elbows to about a 90 degree angle. From there push back up, straightening your arms to your starting position. Make sure to keep your body close to the chair. Repeat 10 times." 

Muscles worked: Triceps, chest, and shoulders

Sweat factor: 1/10

"Incline push-ups are a strength training exercise that target the muscles in the upper body. Place your hands on your desk slightly wider than shoulder width. Set your feet far enough away so that your body is in a straight line with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms perpendicular to your torso. Keeping your core in tight and maintaining a straight line with your body, bend your elbows out to the side to lower your chest towards your desk.  Only go as far down as you can keep proper form. Push back up straightening your arms to your starting position and repeat 15 times." 

Muscles worked: Chest, shoulders, and triceps

Sweat factor: 1.5/10

"One of my favorite ways to work the inner thigh muscles! If you have a small smooshy ball that is ideal, or you can use a small towel or even a roll of paper towels. Sit straight up in your chair with your shoulders back, abs in, knees bent at a 90 degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Place whatever you have between your knees and lightly squeeze to hold it in place. Keeping your abs in, begin to slowly squeeze your knees together as hard as you can 25 times. Follow that with 25 fast little squeezes and repeat for 3 sets."

Muscles worked: Adductors a.k.a inner thigh muscles and abs

Sweat factor: 1/10

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Alanna Greco

I'm a writer and editor based in New York City. I love a good coat, a well-articulated feminist rant, and face masking (yes, that’s a verb) like it’s nobody’s business.