Six desk exercises that don’t need a lot of room or equipment

By Ea Francisco | Lead photo by Nicole De Khors/Burst

It’s easy to say you’re going to start exercising during lunch but it’s another to actually do it. We all don’t have access to gyms near our offices or a big enough workspace. Luckily, there are exercises that don’t need either. Here are some exercises you can do even if you’re chained to the desk.

Wall sits

This one might look easy, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. Wall sits are great for building strength and stability. All you need to do is squat while leaning against the nearest wall. Press your back straight against the wall then lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold that position for as long as you can or do 30-second intervals.

Tricep dips

This exercise targets your triceps, forearms, shoulders, and even your lower back. First, stand in front of a chair, make sure it’s one that won’t move easily. Sit on the edge with your arms on your sides and your feet flat on the ground. Hold onto the edge of the chair as you scoot your butt forward off the seat. Make sure your arms and back are straight; this is the first position. Next, lower your body by bending your elbows until it’s bent at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your arms to go back up and repeat.


The simplest way to do this is to stand with your feet apart then lower your body by pushing your hips back. However, you can step up your squats by doing other variations to maximize your exercise. To raise the intensity, you can try doing jump squats. Instead of just lifting yourself back up, jump as high as you can and return to your squatting position as you land.

Leg lifts

First, make sure you have enough room to fully stretch out your legs. While sitting properly on your desk, lift one leg as high as possible and extend it in front of you. Hold it for 30 seconds then do it with the other leg. This exercise can help counter the negative effects of sitting too long.It doesn’t even have to be during your lunch break; you can do it any time throughout the day, so your legs won’t go stiff.

Desk push-ups

Push-ups are staples in every workout, but you might not always have enough space if you’re limiting your exercise to just your desk area. To get into position, stand a few feet away from your desk and place your hands at the edge of the table. Lower your body onto the desk while using your arms as support, like you would on a regular push-up. Make sure your body is straight from head to heels. Then, push back up while maintaining your position. You can do 10 to 20 repetitions per set or as much as you feel necessary.

Figure four stretch

This exercise is actually a variation of its namesake yoga position. To do this, put your left ankle over your right knee while sitting. With your back straight, lean forward while gently pushing yourself on your knees. Hold that position for 30 seconds and then switch legs. This can help you stretch not just your legs, but your hips too.

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