The Mini Desk Workout

6 Jan

Got a desk job? Many do and it’s not cool. Being tied to our computers at a desk for 8 hours per day, then coming home to relax on the couch or sit at the kitchen table to help the kids with homework, leads to all sorts of nasty things like weight gain, cardiovascular disease, weak muscles, slow metabolism, blood sugar imbalance and the list goes on. Whether you get to the gym for an hour a day or not, these are easy stretches and exercises you can do at your desk (or nearby) every day during your break. Activity clears the mind, increases productivity, builds confidence, decreases stress and brightens the soul. Go forth and conquer! (And make sure it is cool with your doctor, keep good form and never do anything that hurts–joint pain and muscle fatigue are very different things.)

Exercise Program***

Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday

Perform 1-2 sets during two of your breaks. Make sure to keep the core activated during each stretch and exercise (think belly button to spine).

1. Upper Trapezius Stretch

Grab bottom of chair with right hand and tilt head towards left shoulder like you are pouring water out your ear. Slightly tuck chin and slightly turn head, looking at right knee. Gently pull down on head with left hand (Fig. 1). Hold for 10 seconds and use left hand to lift head to neutral. Switch sides.

2. Seated Figure 4 Hip Stretch

Sit tall on chair. Cross right ankle above left knee. Use hands to gently push down on thigh of right leg (never push down on the knee joint) (Fig. 2). Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides.

3. Push Up

Start in a neutral spine position with your wrists under your shoulders and elbows straight, hands on wall, desk or floor. Inhale, squeeze your shoulder blades to pull yourself towards the ground, elbows pointing back at a 45 degree angle (Fig. 3). Once your arms are level with your torso, exhale and push up to start position. Perform 10-20 reps.

4. Split Squat

Start in a split stance with right leg in front and left leg back, legs hip width apart. Inhale, bend knees to lower your body, leading with the left knee towards the ground (but don’t touch the knee to ground) (Fig. 4). Exhale, squeeze the glutes and push with the right heel to start position. Keep the spine neutral the entire time. Perform 10-20 reps, then switch to the other side. If this is too difficult, perform squats instead.

5. Bent Over Reverse Fly

Bend knees 30° and hinge forward at the hips, keeping neutral spine. Arms are extended and hands hold weights (or water bottles) with palms facing towards your body (Fig. 5). Inhale, squeeze shoulder blades and raise arms parallel to the ground (Fig. 6). Exhale, lower to start. Perform 10-20 reps.

Tuesday/Thursday (keep a pair of athletic shoes at work)

Choose 1 cardio activity below and perform it during two of your breaks. Make sure to start slow by walking for 3 minutes to warm-up the body.

1. Walk, jog or run up stairs (walk down them for recovery) 3-5 times. Take a longer rest if needed.

2. Walk, jog, run, step side-to-side or do jumping jacks in place for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and continue for 3-5 minutes. Take a longer rest if needed.

3. Briskly walk outside around your building for your entire break.

***This program is designed for healthy individuals with no medical concerns. Always speak with your doctor before performing any exercise program. If you are new to exercise or haven’t exercised in a while (but your doctor has given you the A-OK), start with one set and build your endurance and strength from there. Optimal results can only be obtained with a customized exercise and nutrition program.

For an effective and efficient workout at home, try the 30-Minute Workout, or contact me for all of your exercise, nutrition and life coaching needs. 402-819-8970.

Fig. 1 Upper Trapezius Stretch

Fig. 1 Upper Trapezius Stretch

Fig. 2 Seated Figure 4 Hip Stretch

Fig. 2 Seated Figure 4 Hip Stretch

Fig. 3 Push Up

Fig. 3 Push Up

Fig. 4 Split Squat (you can use the chair for balance if you are a new exerciser)

Fig. 4 Split Squat (you can use the chair for balance if you are a new exerciser)

Fig. 5 Start position of Bent Over Reverse Fly

Fig. 5 Start position of Bent Over Reverse Fly

Fig. 6 Mid Position of Bent Over Reverse Fly

Fig. 6 Mid Position of Bent Over Reverse Fly

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One Response to “The Mini Desk Workout”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to Go From Desk Jockey to Wellness Warrior in Five Simple Steps | Squats and Squash - July 14, 2014

    […] and move. Your office/ cubicle, stairwell, hallway or outdoor areas are great places to do this mini desk workout or other energy-building exercises such as jumping jacks and walking lunges. Fear feeling foolish […]

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