3 Ab Exercises While Sitting at a Desk

You won’t even have to stand up ;). I promise.

Staying healthy at work is hard. I would guess you are probably a desk bound human. Did you know that the average American sits for 13 hours a day. Is that not crazy? Human beings were not built to sit all day. We were built to move!

You know what else is crazy? The only way to combat the negative effects that being seated has on your body is to move your body for 2 minutes for every 30 minutes you are seated. For many that is not realistic or plausible so I created the moveatworkchallenge.com membership program (you can find out more about that here and for $10 off ongoing monthly membership fees use coupon code “Ireadtheblog” here).

Last crazy fact- One hour a day in the gym does not and cannot reverse the negative effects that being seated has on your body. WHAT?????

“Even people who exercise regularly could be at increased risk for heart disease and stroke if they spend lots of time sitting”, according to a science advisory from the American Heart Association. The main conclusion is that “vigorous physical activity doesn’t cancel out the negative impact of time spent being sedentary, which appears to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (the leading cause of death) and diabetes, even among people who exercise regularly”. This should be even more evidence that staying healthy at work needs to be a priority.

“When we’re depriving ourselves of that kind of essential muscular activity throughout the day, very potent things happen inside our bodies” says Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., author of several studies on sedentary behavior and a professor at the University of Houston. “Our bodies were built to move all day. They weren’t built to be idle and stationary with a metabolic rate similar to a person in a coma,” says Hamilton

Okay you get it. Being seated all day sucks- so how can you stay healthy at work? What can you do at your desk right now?

Here are 3 ways to exercise your abs while sitting at a desk (some are even “secret” so your office mates won’t even know you are exercising 😉). You don’t even have to get up. It is suggested you do 3 sets of each but any little bit of moving counts in my books. Anything you can do to stay healthy at work is awesome! (Here is a virtual high five ✋!)

You can find directions in video format if you scroll down to the bottom of post.

You’ll need to back your chair away from your desk so you have enough room to lift your knees without hitting them on a desk.

Ab Exercise #1 While Sitting at a Desk: The Awkward Sit (Secret abs)

  • Skootch to the edge of your chair and sit up super straight

  • Slightly tilt your pelvis forward and pull your low belly in

  • Brace your low belly like you are going to get punched- not like you are sucking in to put on super tight pants

  • Pull the bottom of your ribs down and in and then try to pull your shoulders blades back.

If you are doing all of that right now and don’t feel a bit uncomfortable, try to think about pulling your belly button into the spine and slightly up.

Relax your face, I’m sure you look silly trying to engage that lower core 😉

Hold this for 20 seconds and try to breath normally (be aware of what your low ribs are doing- they will want to flail out….don’t let them!) Do 3 sets of these- when this gets easy you can increase the amount of time.

Ab Exercise #2 While Sitting at a Desk: Marching Wo-man (Legs up for advanced)

Ab exercise while sitting at a desk- Level 2 Marching Woman, keep belly in and spine flat

Ab exercise while sitting at a desk- Level 2 Marching Woman, keep belly in and spine flat

Ab exercise while sitting at a desk- Level 3 Marching Woman boat pose, keep belly in and spine flat

Ab exercise while sitting at a desk- Level 3 Marching Woman boat pose, keep belly in and spine flat

  • Skootch to the edge of your chair and sit up super straight

  • Keep your spine SUPER straight and hinge back while pulling your belly in.

  • This is level 1, your abs should be firing here!

  • If you want to increase the intensity and can keep your spine flat you can SLOWLY start to march your legs one at a time, level 2.

  • Lift your knee towards your chest- make sure you are far enough away from your desk that your knee won’t hit it.

  • Keep your spine straight and your belly in.

  • For the advanced version lift your legs and start in a boat pose, level 3.

Alternate your legs and repeat this 12x SLOWLY on each side.

Ab Exercise #3 While Sitting at a Desk: The Pushing Exercise

….I know super creative name :) but trust me you will be surprised how much effort this one requires and you really are not moving all that much!

  • Make sure your feet are flat on the ground so adjust your chair if you are able

  • Sit up tall

  • Place your hands on your thighs

  • Push the palms of your hands into your thighs while simultaneously trying to lift your thighs into your palms.

  • You won’t really move anywhere but you should start to feel a contraction in either your core or your thighs or both.

  • You’re welcome :).

  • Hold this for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Pushing exercise

If your face isn’t doing this…..You’re not doing it right.

So there you have it. 3 ways to work your core at your desk without even getting up. Staying healthy at work is easier than you think. If you are into the whole “living a better life” thing and would like to stay healthy at work and improve your body in 5-7 minutes a day check out my Move at Work Challenge membership program. It’s less than a cup of coffee a day. Or click here to sign up for a free demo video.

I am always curious to hear what the humans are requesting so please comment with request for upcoming articles on how to move your body and stay healthy at work.

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3 ab exercise you can do while seated at your desk. #1 The Awkward Sit #2 Marching Wo-man #3 The Pushing Exercise