Have you ever found yourself momentarily bored while seated at your desk? Have you ever been killing time and looking busy when you are waiting for a colleague or a client to respond to you about something you need before you can continue your day’s tasks? If you’re looking for ways to make use of these valuable moments, here’s one solution. In just a few minutes, you could slyly use your free moment to get in a quick glutes workout! All it takes is a few steps to get ready.
01: Be seated at your desk.
02: Kick off your shoes! If you haven’t already . . .
03: Adjust your chair so both feet are planted flat on the floor, your hips are all the way at the back of your chair, and your back is flat against the chair’s back. Now you are ready for your workout!
Note: To pull off this sneaky workout, it is helpful if your desk is set up so that when seated you are directly facing your computer screen with your keyboard directly in front of you. It is also preferable if your legs are hidden under your desk while seated.
EXERCISE #1: Rockin’ Ankle Roll
Use this warm-up to get some blood flowing down to your toes. Starting with your feet flat on the floor and back straight, against the back of your chair, briefly glance down to make sure that your knees and feet are hip-distance apart. Also make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead and parallel to one another. Then, attention can go back to your computer screen. Pull your belly button to your spine and sit up tall.
Next, lift both heels off the floor keeping your weight on your big toes, and bring them back down. Do this for three sets of 10-20 ankle rolls. If you want to change it up, alternate feet bringing one heel up while the other is down, then switch.
EXERCISE #2: Knee Lift Tummy Tightener
Now that your blood is flowing and you are already sitting up tall, it’s time to wake up your abs and glutes. Position yourself the same as for the ankle rolls, parallel feet and knees hip-distance apart, feet on the floor, and back straight. Press your back gently against the back of your chair and pull your tummy muscles toward your spine. Hold them there, but don’t hold your breath. Sitting tall, lift just your right foot 1-2 inches off the floor. (See if you can feel your abs doing the lifting instead of your thigh.) Return your foot to the floor. Now the left foot, then return it to the floor. That counts as one rep. Do three sets of 10-20 reps. Bonus if you can keep your glutes gently squeezed the entire time!
EXERCISE #3: Sneaky Desk Chair Non-Wall-Sit
So your tummy is pulled in and you are sitting up straight right now, yes? Also your feet are planted evenly on the floor and you have been squeezing your glutes, right? Great! The next exercise is simple but definitely not easy (and harder on a chair that has wheels).Push your heels hard into the floor and squeeze your glutes and hamstrings (the back of your thighs) until your behind has the teeniest bit of air between your seat and the chair. Put your hands in your lap or rest them lightly on your desktop—you want to use your glutes, not your arms! Now hold that for thirty seconds or more. Repeat! Note: A variation of this one can also be practiced in a public restroom.
EXERCISE #4: The I-Need-to-Adjust-My-Monitor Air Squat
This last one builds upon Exercise #3 and starts the exact same way. It is the least sneaky of all so be prepared to sell it a bit, pretending that there is something wrong with your computer monitor or something on a shelf above and in front of you that needs your attention. Heels press into the floor again, glutes and hamstrings wake up, and this time you stand all the way up out of your chair. Fiddle with your monitor and then control yourself back into your chair. Repeat as many times as you can without drawing too much attention to yourself. Rest and repeat throughout the remainder of the day.
Who knew you could tone your body in a sedentary office job? Let us know how it works for you.
Art by Emma Block