Standing Ab Exercises & More for your Standing Desk

Did your employer recently invest in standing desk furniture? If so, it’s time to think about doing some standing desk exercises from time to time throughout the day.

Because you’ll need low impact exercises during the workday, bodyweight exercises are ideal for your standing desk.

Let’s take a look!

Standing Desk Exercises FTW!

Here’s the makeshift standing desk I’m using right now. Yes, I need a better one.

standing desk

You’ll notice I’ve got my laptop on a plastic container, and my monitor sitting on a couple of books. In fact, I shot this editing this very post–see the heading? (Really, is your old copy of The DaVinci Code providing more value sitting on the shelf? I think not.)

If you think about it, you can find moments of down time. Maybe it’s when you’re running a batch process. Maybe it’s while you’re waiting for that 34 megabyte Excel file your coworker sent you to open.

You’ve got an occasional bathroom break and–hopefully–lunch.

What should you do with that time?

Standing Desk Exercise Criteria

If you’re working at home, you may have more options than those of us working in an office.

It may take some motivation. You want to be a rock star, right? Think of the musicians you’ve seen playing live. Keyboard players are often standing up. Why aren’t you?

standing keyboard


So here’s some thoughts based upon whether you work at home or not.

I go to an office some days or every day.

You want something that is not going to make you sweat too much, but yet something that’ll raise your heart rate a little bit.

You aren’t at home next to your pullup or dip bars, so you probably have to work on some simple moves that don’t take a ton of space. Especially if you’re in a cube.

Here are some standing desk exercises you might consider for the breaks:

  • Pushups. Just drop down and knock out twenty or thirty. I do a bunch in the morning, but I’ve grown more comfortable lately about finding an empty meeting room and doing pushups way in the back where people walking by won’t notice.
  • Squats. Bodyweight squats allow you to remain vertical. You can do them without leaving your spot if you really want to. Deep squats are useful for strengthening the tendons, which can be useful if you’re going to do weighted squats with dumbbells later. Just be cautious that your dress pants aren’t too tight before going this route.
  • Walking. I’m trying to get better about taking a 15 minute walk at least once a day around lunch when I am not in meetings from arrival to departure. Even when I am, if I can take one by phone without staring at my monitor, I might take a walking meeting. Ideally it’s a walk without a meeting so I can clear my head and keep the blood flowing.
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Exercises you can do while working:

  • Calf Raises. People across the room may not even notice you’re doing these. Raise yourself up on your tip toes. Lower back down. That’s it. Hell, your neighbor might not notice.
  • Walking. For those of you with a treadmill desk, you can keep walking while you’re working. If you can type and concentrate while you’re walking, you may be a better man or woman than I. I’m not sold on this idea, but if it works for you, go for it!
  • Desk Squats. I am doing these as I’m writing this post. In between sentences, or when I’m thinking of words to complete a thought, I squat down. Depending on desk height you may not need to take your hands off the keys. Piece of cake!
  • Desk Pushups. If you have some room behind you, lean forward and lift yourself up with your arms by pressing on the desk. Give it a try!

I work at home every day.

You lucky mofo.

If you’ve outfitted your home gym with bodyweight fitness equipment, why are you even reading this? Get to it!

Seriously, this is the situation when you’ll want to grab 10 minutes every hour or two to work in a few sets of some of your staples. You can be creative here because of the flexibility of not having to be next to your coworkers in person.

If you’re on conference calls, make sure to watch your breathing rate and keep it light enough that you aren’t a “heavy breather” when you’re on the phone.

If you’re on video calls, make sure to watch the sweat. Nobody wants to tune in to see your impression of someone who just completed the Ice Bucket Challenge.

On days I work at home, in addition to my morning routine of at least 150 pushups (and counting!), I bang out a few sets of the following standing desk exercises throughout the day:

  • Pushups. Yes, I think they’re that important. Usually mid day I’m pushing up on a couple of dumbbells so I can give myself the extra depth I’m looking for to build my chest. A set of 20 or 25 is nice in between phone calls if you actually have 60 seconds.
  • Pullups. Because they’re strenuous, I usually save these for lunch or late afternoon. But pullups are a core exercise that I want to ensure I do enough of, and if I haven’t done them much in a given week, I’m more likely to do some of these during the workday.
  • Dips. These don’t require as much energy for me as pullups, so I’ve been pretty consistent about getting a few sets in throughout the day. The more I recognize the impact of exercise on my mental state, the better I am about getting out of my chair and dipping. Not tobacco.
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Maybe you’re into more advanced exercises at this point and you want to run outside and knock out a few handstand pushups? Don’t let me stop you. All I can say is it doesn’t have to be that complicated.

Work On Your Core

As people realize the physical risk of doing situps and crunches, more folks are getting excited about standing ab exercises. Try working towards that washboard stomach at your desk with a few stomach strengtheners.

I like a few of the exercises suggested at WikiHow:

  • Standing Bicycle. You need a bit of room for these, but the idea is that with hands behind your head, you’ll pull one knee up towards your chest and twist so that the elbow of your other arm meets it there. Then swap and do the other. This is also similar to the Standing Cross Crunch.
  • Choppers. A similar move, but bringing perhaps a light weight from above the head to the floor and back, going from one side to the other.
  • Tuck Jumps: Step away from the desk. Jump up, catch your knees in yoru arms and then lower them back to land.

Needless to say, there are a number of options for getting in some activity while you’re working at your standing desk. Get to it!


Images courtesy Pixabay.