Clear Your Schedule it’s Time to “Deskercise”

Stuck at the office? No worries, this workout will burn calories and get you moving!

Text by Danielle Peters | Photography by Jim Wells

If you are like most working individuals, you spend eight hours a day or more completely inactive at your desk, with poor posture and brain fog . Throw cold weather into the mix and you have a recipe for poor health. From diabetes, to heart disease, cancer, and being overweight, sitting at a desk all day is wreaking havoc on your wellbeing. Luckily, spending all day at the office doesn’t have to be spent inactive. Danielle Peters, Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Pilates Trainer, and owner of ABSolute Pilates & Fitness, has created a five day office workout to get you up and moving! It’s quick, effective, and takes as little as ten minutes to do. The best part, your boss will never know you’re exercising at your desk! Whether it’s a flood of emails, or a to-do-list a mile long, Danielle has created an office workout you can squeeze in for a healthier and happier workday.


Sturdy office chair, water bottle, and yoga mat for core work depending on your office floor surface.

Every day warm-up:

March in place, arm circles, calf raises, standing roll down – roll up with shoulder roll x 3 reps. All exercises should be done for 10-15 reps on each side. Complete this office workout 2-3 times. Use modifications when needed.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Arms, Legs & Core Workout

Chair Squat

Stand with back to chair seat, shoulders rolled back, arms out in front, chest facing forward, chin up, feet shoulder-width apart, and knees over ankles. Avoid twisting toes in or out as it places unnecessary stress on the joints. Rest weight on heels. Push hips back; don’t bend knees into the squat position, until hips are all the way back. Slowly lower buttocks to the chair seat, tap it and slowly rise back up. For an added challenge perform the exercise with a single leg squat. For those with knee issues do not lower down into squat as far.

Mountain Climbers

Assume a plank position with palms resting on the seat of the chair. Keep abdominals drawn in and spine long. Draw the right knee into chest as quickly as you can and immediately place your foot back on the ground behind you. Quickly switch to the other leg and repeat. Continue alternating, running in place in plank position for 30 to 60 seconds. (If you have hip or knee issues or can’t handle impact on your joints, slow the exercise down by simply pulling in the right leg and setting it back down without a hopping motion. Repeat with the left leg.

Seated Oblique Twist

Sitting up tall in your chair, place hands behind head (to support neck) and pull abdominals in towards spine. Take right elbow and reach towards left knee while bending torso forward. You should feel abdominal muscles contract. Think about reaching your right ribcage up and over to your left knee, rather than leading with your elbow. This will help target the oblique muscles even more. Repeat the same on the left side.

Tricep Dips

Sit in a chair, holding on to the edge with both hands, knuckles pointing forward. Place your feet flat on the floor, with knees at a 90 degree angle. With your arms straight, slide buttocks off the edge of the seat. Do not allow your body to shift forward and move away from the chair, as this will place extra tension on the shoulders. Keep your body close to the chair. Slowly lower your body down for two counts as you bend your elbows (keep elbows pointing directly behind you, not out to the sides). Straighten arms pushing back up for a count of two. When pressing back up, push through your feet for assistance if needed.

Plank Walks

Begin in plank position with the toes resting on the seat of the chair. Walk hands back toward the legs of the chair, keeping the legs straight, if you can, so that your body is in a V position. Walk your hands back out returning to plank position. If you’re not quite ready to master this exercise, you can start with a normal static plank and time yourself for thirty to sixty seconds. Once you feel confident with a regular plank you can add the plank walks.

Tuesday and Thursday: Hips, Glutes and Core

Single Straight Leg Stretch

Lie flat on your back, curl the head and shoulders off the mat, and bring both knees into the chest. Extend both legs straight to the ceiling, place both hands onto the right ankle, and lower the left leg to 45 degrees. Inhale pulse the right leg towards the chest two times, and then exhale while you scissor switch the legs, placing both hands on the left ankle and lowering the right leg to 45 degrees. Ensure that your low back does not arch — keep it pressing down towards the mat, and focus on keeping your lower abdominals engaged. Your torso should remain stable throughout the entire exercise.

Side-Lying Leg Circles

Start on your side with hips stacked, spine long, abdominals pulled in, legs extended flexing both feet. Place your top hand on the ground in front of your abdominals, and your supporting arm under your head. Make sure your bottom leg stays extended through the duration of the series. Pull your ribcage up to create a little space between your ribcage and the floor. This allows the lats and Serratus anterior muscles to work while keeping you lifted. Lift your top leg up about six to eight inches and begin one inch forward circles. Do this 10 times then backwards 10 times concentrating on not letting your pelvis rock forward or backward. Repeat 10 reps on each leg.

Side Lying Leg Kicks

Lie on your side, supported on your elbow. Draw your rib cage up and press upper body into the ground. Keep legs extended and slightly in front of the body. Raise the top leg to hip height, exhale to kick the leg forward without changing the position of your pelvis, inhale and lengthen the leg back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Double Leg Stretch

Lie on your back, hugging your knees into your chest. Curl your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. While engaging your abdominals, inhale Extend your arms overhead next to your ears as your push your legs straight out in front of you. Hold for one count, then exhale bend the knees circling the arms out to the sides to return hands back to your shins. Keep upper body lifted, and inner thighs pressed together.