This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Exercise gives you energy, but what if you sit all day at work or at home? You can still get a workout from these sitting exercises— chair exercises that can be down without getting out of your chair.

These exercises you can do while sitting down are perfect for anyone working from a desk or spending most of the day in a chair.

Exercises You can Do while Sitting Down.

I started looking into sitting exercises (chair exercises) that can be done without walking around after my husband’s back surgery. Years ago, my husband had to have back surgery (caused by years of Highschool & College football, followed by a fall down an icy set of stairs). It was around that time that we realized how little he could do after the surgery since he would be sitting at his work desk most of the day.

Before Mickey started working from home, he spent many hours a day at his desk.  He spent countless hours working on the computer, making phone calls, sitting down while on conference calls, etc…

homework station

Chair Exercises are a great workout while sitting at the office.

Some days he spent more than ten hours a day at his work desk, which resulted in very little time moving around.  This is not healthy for anyone, especially those recovering from back surgery.

While exercising is important, sometimes getting the exercise you need during the day is hard.  The problem is that if you are sedentary for too long, you will begin to have aches and pains like my husband began having.

My husband’s back surgery recovery plan included seated workouts to help his mobility return, which was essential in controlling the pain.

Often, back pain is caused by an abdominal injury, hamstring injury, general leg injury, or a pulled muscle, so if you can fit in a workout or even squeeze in some exercise at work – you’ll be ahead of the game.

He had to find a solution, and he did: Sitting Exercises. These are simple exercises for different muscle groups that he could do without even standing up (while he was putting in a full day of work). These desk exercises and chair exercises helped so much- even simple stretches while sitting at the office will make you feel better.

Sitting Exercises you can do while sitting in your chair. 

I hope these ideas help: Chair Exercises You Can Do While Sitting Down in the Office. 

7 exercises while sitting down

Here are seven chair exercises you can do while sitting in the office that don’t require you to get out of your seat.

Calf muscle toning

Give your calf muscles a workout by raising your legs on the tips of your toes while remaining seated (you can still bend your knees). Your calf muscles should start to burn after a few seconds.
⇒ Hold for ten seconds, return to the starting position, and then repeat eight times.


The beauty of this exercise is that you aren’t getting up, and no one knows that you are secretly fitting in a workout. This one can engage your core muscles, too.
For buns of steel, clench your buttocks and hold for ten seconds. Do five sets of eight reps

Ankle Rotations

This exercise can strengthen the flexibility of your ankles and make you less likely to suffer from sprains.
While keeping your legs straight, rotate your ankles in both directions for five seconds. Do five sets of eight reps in each direction.

exercises to do while sitting down

Arm stretches

Just because you’re seated at your desk doesn’t mean your arms and the upper body can’t do just about anything they want. Many arm exercises can be performed while seated at your desk. First, stretch your arms up (palms facing inward) as far as you can.
Stretch the muscles in your right arm by reaching as far to the left as you can with your right arm while supporting it in the crook of your left elbow, and then hold it there.  Repeat with your left hand and arm. Remember to keep your arms straight to get the best stretch possible.
Feel the stretch for five seconds. Do eight reps before switching over to your left arm.

Rotating at the waist

Strengthen your core by rotating at the waist while remaining seated.  Get into the proper position by sitting with your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees bent over the edge of your chair.

It is almost like a wall sit position, but you are in your chair.

Rotate as far to the left as you can and hold for five seconds, then repeat on the right. Grab the backrest of your chair with your hands for extra support.
Complete five sets of five seconds on each side.


Move to the edge of your chair with your feet planted on the ground. Lean back on the backrest. Then lift your straightened legs a few inches above the ground and raise your back a few inches off the backrest. Feel the burn in your abdominal muscles and hold for ten seconds.

If this is difficult, bend your left knee or your right knee a bit.  
Eight reps of ten seconds each can strengthen your core considerably when done regularly.

Leg Lifts

Starting with both feet flat on the floor, do leg lifts, starting first with the right leg & foot and then the left foot & leg. Lift your left leg until it touches the underside of your desk.  Return to the starting position and repeat with your right leg.
Do ten sets of eight reps to strengthen your thigh muscles and core.

workout at home sitting down exercises

Being busy is never an excuse not to stay fit. While you should always try to make time for proper cardio and weight training, never forget that there are many other ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine by doing this at work or even workout at home.

Always stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle with you at your desk.  Eat healthy foods – like my favorite one: 4-ingredient Banana NICE cream! 

Doing a couple of simple exercises while sitting down in the office each day can, when done regularly, help to improve your flexibility, muscle tone, and strength.


With a standing desk, you can move from sitting to standing in a few seconds with the gas spring-assisted lift.   Standing desks do wonders for your posture and can help with back pain.
I have this standing desk: FlexiSpot’s Comhar Pro Standing Desk Q8. I love the features of this desk, like the Built-in Wireless Charger & the under-desk cable management tray. The smart control panel with USB ports and Anti-collision function are great. It’s so sturdy & the whole family can use it thanks to the broad height range (24.0” to 49.2”.)

standing desk - exercises to do while sitting down or while behind a standing desk

Glute Squeeze Standing Desk Workout:

While standing straight behind your desk, squeeze your glutes and hold for 45 seconds.  Release, relax, and then repeat.  Do at least 10 of these.

Calf Raises Standing Desk Workout:

Standing straight, raise your heels until you are on your toes. Hold for several seconds, lower your heels back down, and repeat.  Do this 30 times in a row, or more if possible. I often suggest trying to do this for a minute straight, then taking a break and doing it for another minute.
Tip: hold onto the back of your desk chair or the sides of the chair for extra support.

Standing Squats Standing Desk Workout:

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your toes pointing forward.  Looking straight ahead, put your weight on your heels and the balls of your feet.
Push your bottom back and your feet forward-facing. Squat down, keeping your knees in line with your feet.   Hold for a few seconds and stand back up.  Repeat 10-12 times.


1). WEIGHT-LOSS PLAN. If you are ready to get serious & lose weight…   My husband lost 30 pounds in under eight weeks using this plan. (Here he was at six weeks & 25 pounds lost… the before & after)

2). YoNananas is one of my favorite things- it will change how you snack.   If you love ice cream or sorbet, this is for you. Put frozen fruit into the machine, and it comes out like ice cream! My favorite combo is mango, pineapple, and one banana. I might do a youtube video on it.

 exercises to do while sitting down or while behind a standing desk

3). NINJA Blender Turn fruits or vegetables into a smoothie or juice ( for heart health).  It’s a huge hit in our family.

exercises to do while sitting down or while behind a standing desk - smoothie for weight loss & heart health

4). Under-Desk Stair Stepper: Put this stair stepper under your desk & work out while you work – physical activity without going anywhere. 🙂

exercises to do while sitting down or while behind a standing desk

5). FITBIT   Track steps, distance, floors climbed, quality of sleep, and more. Plus- it has the time, heart rate, Caller ID & Text support (Depending on which FITBIT you get).

fitbit - exercises to do while sitting down or while behind a standing desk

6). Check out the weight-loss course (to lose fat, gain muscle, and feel your best) here.

A bowl of oranges  on a table, with a glass of lemon water. How to lose weight quickly

Note: Always check any terms and conditions that your doctor may have for you before moving forward with any new exercise.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. I do these as well. You can also use the counter in the bathroom to do modified push-ups every time you go to the restroom. Just try 10 reps each time you go. It really adds up

  1. One more way but works outside the office also adding to a more active day…., is park as far as possible from the entrance incorporating extra walking into your day. On weekends when I shop, I do the same thing. You’ll find more parking spaces that way! We’ve all heard take the stairs instead of elevators, I take that time to race up the stairs. I also try to bike to my destinations as much as possible. It provides cardio AND saves fuel.

  2. I workout my glutes on a regular basis, and tried the bun clenches…they killed me!! My booty was sore for days!! Very effective. Thanks for this post, I’ve shared with my mom and boss.

    1. 🙂 haha!! Well yay for being sore b/c then you know it’s working! 🙂

  3. I am bound to a wheelchair and always looking for some type of exercise one can do sitting down. I can’t wait to try some of your ideas. Thanks, IR

  4. I really like this article! I sit for long periods of time at work and these exercises are very easy to do! Thanks!

  5. Arm crunches are most easy when I am sitting in front of my iMac. I will try out rest of the exercises too. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  6. I just found this and I think I can stay consistent this will work especially when I don’t wanna walk.

  7. Arm crunches and leg squats are most easy when I am sitting/standing in front of my pc. I will try out rest of the exercises too. Thanks for sharing these amazing workout tips.

  8. Thank you so much for this article!! About 3 months ago I started working from home and my space is so poorly setup, but i didn’t really know how to fix it. I know my back and spine are suffering from it, and now you’ve given me the tools to be proactive about fixing it. 🙂

  9. Exercising really helps to build a good posture. Thanks for this informative blog it helps me what exercise ill do for working out.

  10. Thanks for sharing information about exercise sitting down, Your post is very helpful for more people.

  11. Hey Becky! Love your content girl! I’m commenting because I am so lost and I don’t know what to do. My name is Jenny and I’ve been trying to get to my ideal weight of 140 lbs. I tried vegan, keto, raw before 4:00 pm, 80/20 and a bunch of other diets. Nothing worked. I even hired a nutritionist ( she ended up being a total b and not helpful). I actually lost weight on vegan but felt like crap which I feel defeats the purpose of diet. I found this program and I just want to know if you think it’s any good. My friend said it worked for her .

  12. Sitting all day at work can really affect your health. Right now, I am going to the gym and include strength, flexibility, and mobility training. The majority of people work on a 9-5 basis and they need to at least do some little exercise there. Thanks to this article, you can keep yourself a little active while sitting.