Fitting a long workout into your already hectic day can be difficult — if not impossible — to do at times. If you’re one of those people who struggle to get enough physical activity every day, trying short and simple exercises at different points of the day can help.
Even spending as little as 5 to 10 minutes of exercising in an office chair can help improve blood flow and help you get that extra energy kick to get you through the day.
To help you get started, we’ve made a list of 5 easy exercises you can do in an office chair. We’ll also include simple variations to some exercises, so it’s easier for even beginners to follow.
Let’s dive right into it!
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Also called bench dips, box dips, chair dips, or bar dips — tricep dips are essentially a bodyweight exercise that helps a person develop their arm and shoulder strength. You can do this exercise almost anywhere you like, from your home sofa to your workplace office chair.
Besides helping develop the arm muscles — specifically your triceps — this exercise also engages your core, developing the muscles in that area.
How to do a tricep dip properly
To do a tricep dip, you’ll need a stable surface to push off of. This could be a chair, a short table, or a stair step. If your office chair has wheels, you can push it against a nearby wall to keep it stable.
Sit on the edge of the surface and grip the edge next to your hips. Your fingers should be facing forward, you should extend your legs, and your feet should be hip-width apart.
Make sure your toes are pointing upward so that you’re balancing on your heels. Keep your head and upper body straight with your core engaged.
Slowly lower yourself to the floor. Your elbows should be bent at a 45 to 90-degree angle. Make careful and controlled motions throughout the exercise.
Once your elbows are at the right angle, you can slowly bring yourself back up until your arms are almost straight.
Repeat the motions 10 to 12 more times to complete a whole set.
You can make this exercise easier by planting both feet flat on the floor instead of balancing on your heels. This will give you a more substantial base to support yourself and decrease the weight your arms will need to carry.
Alternatively, if you want to add more intensity to your workout, you can use two chairs when performing tricep dips. One chair will support your upper body, and one will support your lower body.
Deep neck stretches
People — mostly office workers — who sit in front of a desk for hours at a time experience neck and shoulder discomfort. This can be due to bad posture or poor sitting habits.
Neck stretches are great for relieving joint stiffness and muscle tension caused by poor posture. It can also increase flexibility and preserve the range of motion.
How to do deep neck stretches
Grab a chair or stool and sit yourself down with your back erect, shoulders dropped, and your neck stretched long and high. Make sure your hips are pressed evenly into the chair to maintain your balance.
Bring your hands behind your head and clasp your fingers. Slowly and gently push your head forward, tucking your chin into your chest.
Keep your shoulders and elbows wide open. This gives your shoulders a good stretch, loosening any tight muscles and joints.
Hold this stretch for 30 to 40 seconds. Once done, slowly bring your head back to the starting position.
From there, raise your head so that you’re facing the ceiling. This stretches the front of your neck.
Make sure your head doesn’t fall too far back by activating the muscles on the back of your neck and keeping yourself steady as you continue the stretch.
Hold for 30 seconds before going back to start.
Bring your right arm over your head and let your hand rest on the side of your left temple. Now, pull your head down to the right side, slowly and gently, to give the left side of your neck a good stretch.
Hold this position for another 30 to 40 seconds before proceeding to the other side.
Overhead tricep extensions
This exercise is ideal for people who have wrist pain or discomfort or a condition that has made their wrist weaker or more vulnerable to injury. It puts very minimal pressure on the wrist and maintains the same angle throughout the exercise motion.
Besides stronger triceps and upper body strength, this exercise can also help improve posture, engage the core, and strengthen shoulder and back muscles.
How to do tricep extensions
Traditionally, you’d need a set of dumbbells or one light barbell. But you can substitute this equipment with either a book or a large bottle of water.
Sitting on the edge of your seat, reach your arms over your head, elbows facing forward and hands grasping your chosen weight carefully.
Bend your forearms down to a 45-degree angle. Make sure to keep your muscles engaged in controlling how far your forearm drops.
Bring your forearms back up, straightening your elbows and stretching your triceps. Be careful not to hit your head with your weight on the way back.
Keep your arms close to your ears — don’t let them flare out during your up and down motions.
Continue doing the same steps 10 to 12 times to complete an entire set.
Instead of both arms simultaneously, you can do single-arm tricep extensions. You’ll essentially follow the same steps on each arm, with one arm supporting the arm that’s working out.
Seated leg extensions
Squats aren’t the only leg exercises you can do to get your leg muscles activated. Seated leg extensions are a great alternative, especially for people stuck working behind a desk all day.
Seated leg extensions help strengthen the patellar ligament and quadriceps attachment for the knees. It focuses mainly on the quads and requires core engagement, so you can still get a good core workout from this leg exercise.
How to do seated leg extensions
Sit with your legs evenly planted on the floor. Make sure your back is straight and doesn’t touch the back of your chair.
Engage your core, bringing your belly button in and your lower abdomen up. Keep your back straight, and your chin raised high.
With your glutes activated, start the movement by raising one knee as high as you can. Using a hand, push down on your thigh to add a bit of resistance to the movement.
Straighten your knee, raising your feet as high as you can. Point and flex your toes to get out some of the kinks in your ankle.
Hold this pose for 30 to 40 seconds before pulling your leg back down. Be sure to control the movement, so your leg doesn’t just flop back down. Keep your muscles engaged at all times.
Repeat the same process on the other leg. A complete set is 12 to 15 repetitions, but you can always adjust this number to one that’s appropriate to your abilities.
Seated leg circles
Leg circles are typically performed on the floor or a mat; however, it’s perfectly fine to do it on a chair or stool.
Along with strengthening your core muscles, seated leg circles can also help strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings. It’s also an excellent exercise for promoting healthy hip joints.
How to do seated leg circles
Bring your butt to the middle of your seat, leaving enough space behind you for your arms to grasp the seat.
Lean back, engaging your core, so your back is kept straight. Make sure to roll your shoulders back, so you don’t end up hunching over.
Raise your legs with your knees bent; toes pointed to the floor. From this position, move your legs along with your hips to the right in a circular motion. Finish at the center starting point before moving to the next side.
Repeat the motion ten times on each side for a complete set. You can rest in between sets to avoid overexerting yourself.
Exercise and adequate physical activity are essential for our overall health and fitness. And while we all have to make a living to keep on living, sitting in front of a desk for long hours at a time can cause you more harm than good.
Taking at least 5 to 10 minutes out of your day to practice the exercises we’ve mentioned above can help improve your fitness and wellness significantly. It can also help you prevent unwanted injuries and diseases.