The desk job afternoon slump buster {mini-workout}

by Kim on February 4, 2014

Now that I’m part of the whole 9-5 desk job culture again, I’m really starting to remember what gluing your butt to a chair and staring at a computer screen all day does to your psyche.

My full rant goes something like this: I don’t think humans were designed to do this, and I wonder how much it’s played into our overall health as a society over the past century. (Thoughts?)

My less dramatic internal struggle has to do with getting through these long afternoon hours–preferably, with something other than coffee and snacks.

I can’t tell you how much that stupid vending machine starts calling to me around 2 PM, hungry or not. My bad angel tries to convince me that I could use the mental boost from the calories anyway, and at the very very least, it’s a nice excuse to take a walk to the kitchen. (Working for a small company means that, unfortunately, I can get anywhere I need to go around the office in literally 10 seconds. So a “walking break” would require me to basically pace up and down the hall.)

I’ve been trying to get in the habit of doing push-ups throughout the day (behind a closed office door, of course). But then I’m all, what about my legs?

So today, I decided to put a little mini-workout together at lunch. I specifically chose exercises you can do directly in your chair, in a semi-inconspicuous way, for those of us who are always kinda scared someone will walk in on us awkwardly doing squats next to our desks.

I waited to bust it out until I started feeling the Afternoon Anesthesia kicking it, and–guys–by the end, I was almost sweating. After 5 minutes of working out. Which is convenient, because the other reason I’ve been known to do push-ups randomly throughout the day is because I’m freezing. (Happens a lot.)

To all my fellow butt-in-chair office workers: next time you find yourself sneaking to the vending machine, hopelessly browsing the internet for long stretches of time, or cat napping in your chair (not that you would EVER), try this instead.

slump buster


Big shoulder rolls: I’m talking biiiiig ones. Slowly circle shoulders in front of you, bring them up to brush your ears, then roll them back, squeezing shoulder blades together behind you. Repeat.

Tricep dips: Sit forward off your chair, gripping the edge of the chair with your hands. Slowly lower and lift your body using your triceps.

(Got a wobbly swivel office chair? Me too! Embrace the added balance challenge–carefully and safely, of course. If it doesn’t feel safe, you can do tricep dips on the floor instead.)

Balancing leg circles: Sit forward on the very edge of your chair, lean back slightly, grip the edge of the chair, and lift your legs. Hold your legs straight in front of you by engaging your core in a sort of V-sit position. Then, point your toes and draw small circles with them, in opposite directions. Reverse directions after 10.

Arm rest push-ups: (Only do this one if your office chair has pretty sturdy arm rests–if not, go for regular push-ups on the floor.) While sitting, put your legs out in a straight line in front of you, heels on the floor. With your hands on your arm rests, use only your arms to push your body up off the chair until it’s in a straight line. Lower until your hips just brush the edge of the seat before raising again (no sitting).

Knees to chest: Like you did with the leg circles, sit forward on the very edge of your chair, lean back slightly, and grip the edge of the chair. This time, reach your legs long and then pull your knees up to your chest in a slow, controlled movement.

Slow neck rolls: I’m talking slooooow ones. Some instructors only have you go forward and to the sides, but I’m all about the full circle, as long as you’re going slowly enough.

Happy slump busting!



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather February 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

totally printing that image out and posting it on my bulletin board at the office. THANK YOU for this!!
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char eats greens February 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Afternoon Anesthesia haha…love it!! I felt this same way with school last semester!! I find it ironic that I was a nutrition student, but hardly doing anything nutritious or to prevent my body from doing things it probably shouldn’t be doing!!
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Ali February 5, 2014 at 8:32 am

When I used to work at a desk job, I swear I was always more hungry than I am now that I’m home. Maybe it was marathon training, but gees I felt like I ate a lot even when I was trying to be ultra healthy and I didn’t lose any weight MARATHON training!
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Kim February 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

I think it was definitely that darn marathon training. :) I gained weight running mine!


Karen February 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm

This is great! “Almost sweating” is the perfect kind of at-work workout!
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Kim February 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

Exactly! :) I’ve never been a lunch break workout kind of girl, but a couple pick-me-up moves here and there can go a long way.


Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate February 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I don’t sit much during the day, but I can tell when I have been more than usual that’s for sure! Love these exercises!
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Kim February 5, 2014 at 9:01 am

So jealous of that! My dream job, whatever that is, involves very little sitting. :)


Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat February 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I have a desk job too, so I asked my office to order me a standing workstation, which they did and I love, but during the day I do take small breaks and do a small workout in my cube. I’ll do squats, lunges, wall push-ups, etc. I’ll definitely be trying your mini workout though!
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Kim February 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

I’ve been thinking about getting one of those too. I think they sound awesome!


Kim February 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm

This is awesome!!
I spent 5 years working in a school office and we set a timer to get up every hour and do something – push-ups, sit-ups (I took in a stability ball), leg abduction and glute lifts and wall sits – it really helped break up the day!
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Kim February 5, 2014 at 9:03 am

Wow that’s impressive! I would love to have that kind of camaraderie going on in my office.


Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries February 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

This is awesome! Way to take initiative and MOVE even though you’re parked at a desk all day. It’s tough to get in exercise when you have a desk job (been there!), but it’s totally do-able if you plan ahead and just make the effort.
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Kim February 5, 2014 at 9:05 am

For real! Although I don’t really count this as an official “workout”–just a little pick-me-up. That’s one thing I miss SO MUCH about the SAHM life. All the moving around!


Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome February 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Great workout for the working folks! I agree that desk jobs have definitely contributed to the obesity epidemic in our country. Just think of how many people sit in front of computers all day long! Crazy! Good for you for making something healthy happen :-)
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Kim February 5, 2014 at 9:06 am

It is so crazy! Now that I’ve been away from this lifestyle for awhile, I’m like, “how does everyone do this all day everyday??” I can’t tell if I’m just not used to it yet or if it’s really not for me. (I mean, is it really for ANYone?)


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