8 Desk-Friendly Exercises For Office Workers Anywhere

By Athlete's Care on June 08, 2023

Our Toronto physiotherapists and chiropractors dispense a lot of advice to our clients about exercise regimens and much more. The first rule, though, is: you have to get out to exercise.

Finding time to exercise can be hard when you work in a typical office environment, where you’re sitting down for long periods of time. Sitting for hours at a time, though, becomes a known health risk in itself.

What’s an office worker to do? We’ve come up with desk-friendly exercises you can do while you’re at work.

Note: If you are just starting an exercise program, or have any questions on appropriate difficulty levels or other details, your Toronto physiotherapist or other sport medicine specialist can provide you with specific recommendations.

Use Your Desk Or Chair

Note: let’s assume your chair does not have wheels, or has wheels that can be locked.

Tricep Dips

  • Hold your arms straight and just behind you.
  • With your hands at a right angle from your wrist, place them on the seat of the chair until you are supporting your weight.
  • Depending on the height of your seat, you may have to take one or two steps forward.
  • Lower yourself until your seat is almost on the floor, and then lift yourself back up using the muscles at the back of your arms.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Desk Push-ups

  • Facing your desk, take two or three steps back – enough that you have to reach forward for the desk.
  • With your arms straight and shoulder-width apart, place your hands at the edge of the desk top.
  • If you’ve never done them before, start with 10 and work your way up.

Calf Raises

  • Using your desk or chair for balance, stand straight.
  • Raise yourself up on your toes, holding for a count of five.
  • Lower your heels, and repeat 10 times.

Pistol Squats

  • Sit in your chair with a straight back, one foot flat on the ground, and the other leg locked straight in front of you.
  • Stand up, keeping all your weight on the foot that’s on the ground, and your extended leg straight in front of your.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side.

No Equipment Required

These exercises take up a minimum of floor space, and let you stay off the ground.


  • Stand straight, with your hands on your hips.
  • Keeping one foot stationary, take a big step forward with the other. Bend the front knee, and keep it aligned with your toes, heel on the ground.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side.

Side Lunges

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a large step to one side, squatting down until your thigh is parallel to the ground – or as close as you can get.
  • Go back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side.

Single-Leg Deadlifts

  • Stand straight with your legs together, hands at your sides.
  • Keep your weight on one leg, and lean forward while keeping your other leg straight. Use your arms to balance by reaching for the floor.
  • Stop at a position where your back and leg form a straight unit, parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds, and then return to a standing position.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side.

Wall Slide

  • Stand with your back against a flat wall.
  • Slide your upper body down slowly as you bend your knees to about a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold the position for about 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.


If you work at a desk for extended periods, finding those bubbles of times to exercise becomes even more crucial. The negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle are well known. If you have any questions on how to stay more active or any issues around exercise, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics today for a consultation.