Desk Exercises At Work
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Desk Exercises At Work


I have previously published an article entitled “DESK JOB HEALTH”. In that article I review several basics of preventive health maintenance for people who have sedentary jobs (for instance, a desk job). This article will review how to easily perform desk exercises at work (or perhaps more accurately stated exercises that you can perform in your work space).

Most people who work at a desk all day will not be able to outfit their work space with the optimum equipment for that environment due to cost and space restrictions. In lieu of that kind of set-up, I have devised a way for you to cheaply and space efficiently reorganize your work space and activity so that you can obtain some exercise while at work. The exercise program that I will be outlining for you can be done during a long break or a lunch break. It is very inexpensive, offers some light exercise while you are actually sitting at your desk, and allows you to perform exercises in a tight work area.

My exercise system for the office centers on you using an EXERCISE BALL as the “chair” you will be sitting on while typing, sitting at a desk or drafting table, or sitting at a computer. Whether you know it or not, this device gives light exercise to your lower back, neck, legs, buttocks, and abdomen while you sit on it at your desk.

The exercise ball will replace your chair. It causes you to recruit your nervous system for balance, contract muscles in the areas mentioned for stability, cushions your lower back (the area most stressed when sitting for long periods), and will help maintain the normal curvature of your spine.


The ball should be the smooth variety and you will need to check that you have no allergies to the material it is made from. The exercise ball will gradually soften over time so you will have to reflate it at regular intervals.

The first week you replace your chair with it will be challenging. Your nervous system has to learn the proper neural signaling to keep you stable on it. You may even “fall off” a few times when first starting to use it…that’s expected.

You are learning a new skill of how to sit and get some light exercise while doing it.


1) Exercise Ball Pushup

During your break, place the ball in front of you while you are kneeling. Grasp the ball in front of you and extend your arms until they are straight. If your arm strength is low your can do this on your knees. As you gain strength over several weeks you can graduate to extending your legs straight, balance on your toes, and extend your arms. If you have good arm strength already you could perform the movement with your feet elevated on a chair with the ball a little in front and under you.

To perform the entire movement, lower your chest to the ball while bending your arms at the elbows and shoulders. The ball will have a tendency to roll so grasp the ball firmly. You may even find your arms “shake” a little as you lower your chest to the ball. This is expected as your nervous system learns how to balance your body over the ball.

Repeat the movement until your arms can barely finish one repetition chest to ball and back up again. Rest 2 minutes and repeat the process to fatigue. Rest again, repeat 1 more time. Each group of movements is called a set. Each movement chest to ball and back up to straight arms is called a repetition.

So…you will perform as many repetitions as it takes to fatigue your arms for 1 set. You will perform a total of 3 sets. When you first start doing this you may only be able to perform 2 or 3 repetitions. That’s acceptable. You are not competing with anyone but yourself.

2) Exercise Ball Crunch

Lying with your lower back curving over the top of the ball, slowly contract your abdominal muscles pulling your chest forward about 3 inches…then relax your abdominals. That is one repetition. Do as many as you can until you feel your abdominals fatigue. That will be one set. Perform 3 sets of this exercise.

3) Exercise Ball Hip Flexion

With the ball under your buttocks in the seated position, bring one leg up in the straight knee locked position to a 90 degree angle with your hip…then slowly lower it to the ground. You will balancing with the opposite leg.

Then repeat the motion with the opposite leg. Doing both legs is one repetition. Repeat the motion until you feel your legs fatiguing. Rest 2 minutes and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

4) Exercise Ball Hip Extension

With the exercise ball under your abdomen (you will be lying on the ball face down) balancing on one leg…draw your opposite leg fully straight off the ground as far as you can. Repeat the motion with the opposite leg. Doing both legs is one repetition. Repeat the motion until you fatigue. Rest 2 minutes and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

5) Exercise Ball Back Extension

In this exercise, lying with the ball at your hips, arch your back as far as possible. Repeat this until you feel your back starting to fatigue. Rest 2 minutes and repeat for 3 sets total.

6) Exercise Ball “Plank”

This is a static (or motionless exercise) where you assume the same position you did to do a push-up on the ball (with your arms straight out). Hold in that position for as long as you can or a count of 60 then relax. Repeat this for 3 sets total.

7) Exercise Ball Front Roll

Assuming the position similar to the “plank” allow the exercise ball to roll forward firmly gripping the sides of the ball. You will feel incredible stretch on your chest, abdomen, and arms. Repeat this motion until you feel fatigue of the muscles. Perform 3 sets total.

These 7 exercises constitute a total body work-out and will begin to define your body musculature. Assuming that you can complete each exercise in 5 minutes, this work-out should be able to be done in a 30 minute break from work.


I have created a total body work-out for you that can be done in a relatively small space. The cost of the exercise ball should be affordable for most people with a job (certainly cheaper than an expensive office chair).

This work-out is affordable, available, attainable, and adequate…the “4 A’s” for fitness. If you combine this with the dietary principles that I have outlined in my posting, “Your Weight Matters” you will have a measure of health that will lead to abundant living.

Wishing you joy and good health,


Street Talk

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