Workplace Desk Exercises

workplace desk exercises physical therapy

For many of us, a normal work week means 40+ hours sitting in front of the computer, often hunched over with poor posture and little consideration for our body’s need to move. After a full day of catching up on e-mails, phone calls, and meetings, the thought of sweating it out at the gym is an exhausting one. Despite the fact that so much sitting can have a detrimental effect on our overall health and may potentially lead to a number of musculoskeletal conditions, many of us just don’t have the time. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to feel better and keep the blood flowing without missing a beat of the work week. Follow this exercise schedule to target different parts of the body that may be prone to injury during your normal 8-5.


Arrive to work. Catch up on e-mails.


Take 5 deep breaths to prepare your body and mind for the day ahead.

10AM: Pivot Prone

Set yourself up for success with a posture check: Pivot Prone stretches the pecs, activates scapular stabilizers-lower traps, and helps relax upper traps.

• Try to find a good sitting posture.
• Bring your arms out to your sides, palms toward the ceiling, and raise up your arms.
• Slowly bend your elbows while squeezing the shoulder blades together.
• Drop your chin down slightly and make the back of your neck long.

pivot prone-1
• As you squeeze the shoulder blades down, you should feel a stretch through the chest (pecs)
• Try not to arch your back or stick your chest out.

11AM: Wrist Extensor Stretch

For those who spend a lot of time typing away on their computer, the wrists can potentially suffer repetitive strain of the tendons. Try this stretch to maintain the flexibility of your extensors and prevent overuse injuries like tendonitis.

• Hold your arm out straight in front of you.
• Use your other hand to bend the wrist down, fingers toward the floor.
• Apply gentle pressure to the palm of your hand as you pull toward you. (This should not be painful)
• Keep the elbow straight on the affected side the entire
• Feel the stretch at the top of your wrist and hold for 30 seconds.

wrist extensor 1

• Repeat on the opposite side.
• Alternate arms until you’ve completed 3 reps for each.

wrist extensor 2


Lunch time! Take a walk outside to keep the blood flowing throughout your body.


Back to work. Take another deep breath to get your mind focused for the second half of the day.

2PM: Seated Hip Flexor Stretch

Sitting a lot throughout the day can cause tight hip flexors, which actually shortens your muscles. This stretch can help reverse the negative effects of sitting all day, and can be performed right in your chair.

• Scoot to the front of your chair and let one leg drop down and extend under the chair.
• Your knee should be just above the ground, not touching.
• Feel the stretch in the front of the thigh and/or hip.
• You can also extend the trunk (maintaining a neutral spine) to increase this stretch.
• Hold for 30 seconds.

hip flexor 1

• Switch legs and repeat.

hip flexor 2

• Alternating between legs, perform 3 sets per side.

3PM: Wrist Flexor Stretch

The wrist flexor stretch can be felt at the bottom of the forearm and helps to combat against overuse injuries.

• Hold your arm straight out in front of you.
• With your elbow straight and your palm up, pull the wrist back using the opposite hand.
• Be sure not to pull on the fingers, rather pull in the palm of your hand.
• Feel the stretch at the bottom of the forearm and hold for 30 seconds.

wrist flexor 1

• Switch arms and repeat.
• Perform this stretch 3 times on each wrist.

wrist flexor 2

4PM: Seated Piriformis Stretch

This is a great stretch to perform after sitting all day as it targets the piriformis and the gluteal and outer hip muscles.

• Sit in a chair with your back unsupported.
• Cross your right leg over the left leg and hinge slightly at the waist.
• Use your hand to push down onto the knee until you feel a deep stretch. (This should not be painful)
• Hold this position for 30 seconds, breathing deeply 2-3 times.

piriformis 1

• Repeat on the opposite side.

piriformis 2


Time to go!


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