Best Standing Desk Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk (2024)
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Best Standing Desk Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk (2024)

|May 31, 2023

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.

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!

Best Standing Desk Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

In today's rocky hill lifestyle, where most of us spend long hours sitting at a desk, it's crucial to find ways to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines. One effective solution is performing standing desk exercises. These exercises can help improve your posture, increase energy levels, and prevent the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

In this section, we will explore some of the best standing desk exercises you can easily do to promote a healthier and more active work environment.

1. Balancing Exercises

Start by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift one leg off the ground and hold the position for 30 seconds. Then switch to the other leg. Repeat this exercise a few times to improve your balance and strengthen your leg muscles. You can do so many balancing exercises just with your desk's help.

Balancing Exercises - standing desk exercise

2. Arm Pulses

Extend your arms straight out before you and make small up-and-down movements. Perform this exercise for about 1 minute to engage your shoulder and arm muscles. These are one of the simplest exercises you can perform in your workspace without additional equipment.

3. Warrior Pose

Stand with your feet wide apart and extend your arms sideways. Turn your right foot out and bend your right knee, keeping your left leg straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch sides. The warrior pose stretches your legs, strengthens your core, and improves stability. Just be sure not to knock your colleagues while performing this sit-to-stand exercise.

Warrior Pose - standing desk exercise

4. Arm Circles

Extend your arms straight out to the sides. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles. After 30 seconds, reverse the direction. This exercise helps improve shoulder flexibility and blood circulation. Moreover, they also improve your wrist movement.

Arm Circles

5. Wall Sits

Stand with your back against a wall and slowly slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for 30 seconds to engage your leg muscles and improve lower body strength. This simple exercise just needs a wall to be performed and does wonders if completed with consistency.

6. Seated Bicycle Crunches

Sit on the edge of your chair with your hands behind your head. Lift one foot off the ground and bring your knee toward your opposite elbow. Repeat on the other side. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions on each side to work your abdominal muscles. These work great for chairs with no wheels since they stay in the same position without wobbling.

7. Oblique Twists

Next, stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Rotate your torso to the right and left, keeping your hips stable. Perform 15 to 20 twists on each side to target your oblique muscles. While these might be challenging for beginners, they do great wonders for your overall body once you get the hang of it.

Oblique Twists - standing desk exercise

8. Gluteal Squeeze

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.

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.

9. Chair Dips

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.

Chair Dips

10. 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 electric 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!

Squats - The Regular Exercise

11. 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.

12. Abdominal Curls

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.

Abdominal Curls

13. 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 with desk treadmill 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!

Walking - Recommended Standing Desk Exercise

14. 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 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.

Calf Raises

15. 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.

16. 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.
Standing Desk Pushups

17. 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.

Side Lunges at a Standing Desk

How to Maintain a Proper Exercise at Work Routine?

In today's fast-paced work environment, finding time for exercise can be challenging. However, you can maintain a proper exercise regimen even while at the office by prioritizing your health and making small changes to your work routine. Here are some tips to help you incorporate exercise into your workday:

Set Reminders

Getting caught up in work and forgetting to take breaks is easy. Set reminders on your phone or computer to alert you to take exercise breaks regularly throughout the day. Use these reminders to get up from your desk and move your body.

Set Reminders - standing desk exercise

Plan Your Schedule

Treat exercise as an essential part of your work schedule. Allocate specific time slots for physical activity and consider them as important appointments that cannot be missed. Whether it's a quick walk around the office or a dedicated workout session during your lunch break, schedule exercise time and stick to it.

Find an Accountability Partner

Having a colleague or friend who shares similar health goals can provide motivation and support. Team up with someone who also wants to maintain an exercise routine at work. Encourage each other to stay active and hold each other accountable. You can plan workout sessions together or participate in group activities such as walking meetings or office fitness challenges.

Find an Accountability Partner - standing desk exercise

Modify Your Workspace

Consider investing in a standing desk or an small portable standing desk if possible. These allow you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, promoting movement and reducing time spent in a sedentary position.

Additionally, arrange your workspace in a way that encourages physical activity. Keep frequently used items slightly out of reach, so stand up and stretch to reach them.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking an adequate amount of water not only keeps you hydrated but also encourages you to take regular breaks. Aim to drink water throughout the day and keep a water bottle at your desk. This promotes hydration and prompts you to get up and refill your bottle or use the restroom, providing opportunities for movement.

Stay Hydrated - standing desk exercise

Take Active Breaks

Instead of scrolling through social media or browsing the internet during your breaks, use that time to engage in physical activity. Take a brisk walk around the office, climb a few stairs, or do a quick stretching routine. These short bursts of movement can help increase blood circulation, relieve muscle tension, and re-energize you for the tasks ahead.

Incorporate Desk Exercises

Even at your desk, you can do exercises to stay active at work, as discussed in this post. For example, you can perform seated leg raises, shoulder shrugs, or neck stretches.

Additionally, try doing seated or standing desk yoga poses to stretch your muscles and improve flexibility. These exercises can be done discreetly and provide a refreshing break from sitting for extended periods.


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.

Incorporating standing desk exercises into your daily work routine is a simple and effective way to improve physical health, enhance posture, and boost productivity. By performing the best standing desk exercises mentioned in this article, you can counter the negative effects of prolonged sitting and enjoy a more active and energetic workday.

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