The Cubicle Workout - How to Workout at Work

Read Time • 5 Min
  • Category Fitness


The office has got to be the easiest place on the entire planet for extra pounds to sneak up on people. It’s the perfect storm, really. You’ve got all these hurdles and derailing elements all in one environment; stress, boredom, unhealthy snacks galore, and physical confinement in the form of an office or cubicle.

(Original printable routine below)

Over the years the American workweek has gotten longer and longer. A week that is between 32 and 40 hours is generally accepted as full time, but more and more often, people are putting in somewhere between 45 and 55 hours that are typically sedentary and stress-ridden.

Another related variable in America that is increasing and escalating is our waistlines and intensity of tango with the obesity epidemic. While no one factor is solely responsible for this, it definitely does not seem like too much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that a longer workweek is not doing the weight gain issue any favors.

One way to combat weight gain is by doing office workouts like the one below. Whether you’ve got a teeny cubicle or a whole office to yourself, here’s one example of how to workout at your desk.

The Office or Cubicle Workout Routine

Warm up: 2 Minutes jogging/marching in place, or walk briefly around the building

15 Glute Squeezes – Sitting straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, contract your glutes and hold for 2-3 seconds so that you raise up a bit in your chair before relaxing muscles.

15 Arm Circles in each direction – Extend arms and make small clockwise circles with your fingertips. Switch directions to repeat circles counterclockwise.

15 Abdominal Contractions – Sit in your chair with a straight back and pull your belly button in towards your spine. Hold for 5 seconds for each repetition.

15 Seated Tricep Dips – Scoot to the edge of your chair and support your bodyweight with your fingers hanging over the edge of the seat. Lower your body weight, keeping elbows tucked into sides. Make sure to choose a chair without wheels for this office exercise!

15 Squats – This is an easy way to bump up your calorie burn and tone glutes and thighs in an office workout when you are limited on space.

15 Wall Push Ups – To tone your chest with an office exercise routine, do push ups against the wall (you can do regular push ups if you’re not in a dress and/or have enough space).

15 Toe Raises – A great move for cubicle routines, these allow you to tone the calves without breaking a sweat and with minimal room.

15 Dumbbell or Resistance Band Curls – Keep dumbbells or exercise bands handy at your desk and you will open up a wealth of different office exercises and toning moves that require very little space.

Do this office workout once or twice through, or just throw in the exercises sporadically throughout the day as time allows. Taking short breaks for physical activity can actually increase your mental focus, creativity, and productivity, so time exercising in the workplace is not wasted time.

Fit movement into your day whenever you can
Here’s another tip for getting in exercise on the job; you are legally supposed to have a number of 15 minute breaks per day (the number depends on how long your working day is). Take those 15-minute breaks and walk around the block or building. Each 15 minute round of brisk walking will burn about 100 calories. Walk for both of the 2 breaks associated with a full 8 hour day and you will have walked roughly 2 miles and burned an extra 200 calories by the end of the day.

In addition to mini office workouts, take the stairs whenever possible. Park your car further away from the building to get in a extra few steps. Get up and away from your computer often to take short walks or stretch. None of these are novel ideas, everyone has heard them before…it’s just that very few people employ these tactics.

Cubicle workouts and efforts to get in exercise on the job are all about making little changes that can add up to a big difference when it comes to keeping weight off, despite a long, deskbound workweek.

It can be really difficult to keep up with the demands of the working world and still have the motivation to get in a good sweat session, but adding in little bouts of physical activity like the one above can help fight off the accumulation of extra calories over the years.