10 Simple Standing Desk Exercises (with Instruction Video)
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10 Simple Standing Desk Exercises (with Instruction Video)

Autonomous|Jan 31, 2021

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You probably know a height-adjustable standing desk is good for you and your health in more ways than one. If you haven’t had one already, you definitely need to consider our SmartDesk - the most affordable motorized desk in the market. If you have, let’s dive into all the standing desk exercises that you can do at your standing desk. 

Having a desk job is certainly problematic for most of us, mostly because of the fact that our bodies are definitely not having a good time from all of that sitting. If you are one of us who has a desk job, you’ve certainly been looking for ways to fight your back or neck pains from all that sitting. The problem here is that an overwhelming number of those solutions requires time, and time is truly a commodity in this day and age.

One of the few things that will help with all of these pains is working out, but as we said, that can be problematic as it requires time.

So how do you deal with this? You deal with it by combining work and working out. One of the few ways to do this is by doing exercises at your stand up desk. Obviously, this is more than just possible, it can actually be quite beneficial for your health.

First of all, a sit-stand desk can do wonders for your health by itself. But by combining it with some easy exercises, you will get even more benefits. Plus, the prolonged sitting itself is detrimental to your overall health, so you will not just be exercising, you will also be eliminating the problems sitting causes.

As you can see, a height-adjustable standing desk is good for you and your health in more ways than one. If you haven’t already, you definitely need to get one for yourself. If you have, let’s dive into all the standing desk exercises that you can do at your workspace, all of which will make you feel great over time, get you more fit and healthy, and definitely relieve much of that stress that works causes.

standing desk exercises

Check out our article on how to properly use your standing desk. It will give you some amazing tips on how to use your standing desk like a real pro!

1. Gluteal squeeze - Start off with a sitting exercise.

If you have your sit-stand desk at your office where there are many other people working as well, it can understandably feel weird to do exercises while you work. First of all, you have to realize that you will need to get over this if you truly want to do these exercises properly. The more varied your workout is and the more movement it entails, the better it will be for you in the end.

However, if it’s hard to start doing them and feeling embarrassed, you can always start small and get used to it over time. The best thing to do for starters is the gluteal squeeze. This exercise is easy and quick, but most importantly, unnoticeable. All you have to do is contract your butt muscles and hold them tight for three seconds or so. After that, you relax for two or three seconds and do it again. You can repeat the process several times, even make several sessions during one working day. Check the video below for details instruction if you still find it hard to understand. 

Over time, you will start getting a firmer and stronger backside and your colleagues won’t even notice that you’ve been creating it at work.

Bonus tip: once your colleagues start noticing your butt, tell them what you’ve been doing. Trust me, they are bound to love it as they’ll realize how easy and useful it is and start doing it themselves. Furthermore, this can prove to be a great icebreaker and get you to start doing more complex exercises at your stand up desk.

2. Chair dips - Use your chairs again. 

You can see that not all of these standing desk exercises have to involve your height adjustable desk. It’s always good to use everything you have at your disposal. The ergonomic chair is one of those things and you can use it to do some chair dips.

To do them properly follow these steps: first, sit on the edge of the chair with the legs in front. Then place your hands behind your hips and hold to the edge of your seat firmly. Then start the dips by lowering yourself and then going back again, The key here is to only move your arms and keep the rest of the muscles in your body firm. Also, try to keep your back and neck firm as well and in the proper position as this exercise can cause you some unnecessary pains when it's not done properly.

Please note that when you just start with this exercise, it’s good to start small, with some 7 or 8 reps and then increase their number over time as you get stronger.

3. Squats - The regular exercise. 

Squats are one of the most common exercises you can do in any type of workout and in any occasion basically. The good thing about them when it comes to your sit-stand desk is that they are truly perfect here. You can continue to read your emails for example, while you do some squats.

However, you have to do them properly in order to get the best effect. Start by setting your back and head straight. Extend your arms and use the edge of your desk for support when necessary. Start doing the squats from your knees by first bending them as you start to go down. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, you should start going back up.

The key here is to do them slowly and firmly, never changing the overall position of your body and keeping all the muscles that you’re using steady and firm.

Do several squats in a row every once in a while and start increasing their number per session as you get stronger and the squats get easier.

Also, who knows, you might even motivate your coworkers to start doing the same and start getting healthier just like you are!

4. Leg extensions - Keep using your legs. 

When you’re sitting, your legs are just wasting for no reason. When you’re standing, they are also wasting as you are putting a lot of strain on them. The solution here is to either use them or do some easy standing exercises that focus on your legs.

One of the best exercises for your legs is certainly leg extensions. They are quite simple to do, you need to be sitting in your chair and then start by extending one of your legs to the hip level and holding it in that position for as long as possible. Then you need to do the same with the other leg. You can repeat this process for as many times as you want as well.

5. Abdominal curls - Don’t forget your upper body. 

You can do this standing desk exercise while you’re sitting as well as while you’re standing, using the full potential of your sit-stand desk.

The key to this exercise is to keep the upper body straight. Cross your hands over your chest and start this standing desk exercise by squeezing your abs tight and then curling your chest down toward. Hold this position for a few seconds and return to the original position. Then you just need to repeat the process for as many times as you want.

6. Walking - Recommended standing desk exercise

Walking is always recommended when you use a stand-up desk. This standing desk workout helps relieve the strain that’s caused on your legs by standing in one place for an extended period of time.

But, you can probably guess that you can walk in one place even without the moving track of your gym. Also, some cardio can never hurt. While walking in place, you can also jog and do some jumps as well. The thing is that the higher your knees get, the better the burn and the overall effect will be!

According to several publications, you can burn more than 200 calories per hour by pacing or marching in place next to your desk. That’s definitely not a small number of calories for one hour!

7. Calf raises

Not every leg exercise can have a strong effect on your calves, you need to do some exercise that specifically targets them as calf raises do. They are great and easy to do while standing next to your height adjustable standing desk as you won’t have to move much and you’ll be able to continue looking at your monitor without interruptions.

The process for calf raises is pretty straightforward. You only need to raise your heels a few inches from the ground and keep the position for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Do this with both of your legs equally. Also, whenever you need to, you can hold onto your standing desk for support and balance.

8. Hamstring curls

You don't have to be an athlete to do hamstring curls. They are pretty easy and good for your legs. It can help strengthen your hamstrings, the leg parts that are most susceptible to all sorts of sports-related injuries.

You can do them by using a chair, or even better, by using your stand up desk for holding onto and keeping your balance.

Start by holding onto the desk and raising one foot up to your backside and then lowering it down. Repeat the process for 10 or more reps and then switch to the other leg and do the same. All the while you need to keep your body straight and firm.

9. Standing desk pushups

Pushups are the core of many workouts and are quite useful for your upper body and your hands. The problem with them when it comes to the office is that the floor is most likely very dirty. Thankfully, you can avoid it altogether and use your sit-stand desk. Hold onto your standing desk and assume a similar position to the one you have while doing regular pushups, the only difference now is that you are not completely in a horizontal position. Then you only need to do the pushups as you normally would.

10. Side lunges at a standing desk

Yes, you most definitely can. Side lunges can be done next to your height adjustable standing desk as well, with no problem.

However, you need to do them properly to get the best effect. This is because when done correctly, side lunges can affect several parts of your body, like the outer thighs and glutes.

Start the side lunges by standing with your feet parallel, only hip-width apart from each other. The start stepping to the side, straightening one leg while bending the other one. Hold the position for a few seconds and then start going back. Then repeat the process to the other side and keep on alternating the sides while you do this exercise for as long as you want.

Don’t forget to keep your back and especially your head and neck straight.


As you can clearly see, there are plenty of exercises to do at work while standing that you can practice next to your motorized desk. Most of them won’t even change your working habits too much and will definitely give you a lot of benefits. For one, you will start getting fit if you already aren’t. Two, you will stop sitting or standing for long periods of time, both of which can cause problems to your overall health in time. Third, you’ll start feeling healthier, more relaxed, and happier while you work.

When you look at all these benefits, you start to realize that doing some standing desk exercises each day can certainly be really helpful. What’s more, you can finally start having that minimum of 30 minutes of daily activity that the World Health Organization keeps recommending for all adults.

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WRITTEN BYAutonomous

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