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standing desk exercises

12 Standing Desk Exercises You Should Try Out

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One of the challenges many office workers face is squeezing some exercise. Staying seated the whole day has some health risks, like an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Lately, many workers have turned to using standing desks in the workstation. It helps promote better posture and keeps an even blood flow. Today, we’ll list some of our favorite standing desk exercises you can do. Let’s stay healthy and fight obesity. 

The Importance of Standing Desk Exercises

Standing desk workouts have a lot of advantages to your health, mood, and overall productivity. You can keep on your toes and get your body active and moving!

1. Combating Sedentary Behavior

Living a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of suffering health diseases. It can potentially shorten your life, especially if you stay seated throughout the day. 

With a stand-up desk, you can break the monotony of your sedentary office routine. Research shows that standing up helps burn more calories than sitting down. 

2. Improving Posture and Spine Health

Using a stand-up desk helps you stretch your spine. Being in a standing position encourages good posture and keeps your body straight. 

Unlike a sitting position, you’ll be tempted to slouch and arch your shoulder forward. This is bad for your posture and can cause back pain in the long run. 

3. Enhancing Workday Energy and Focus

Based on our experience, standing desks help us stay awake and more focused during the day. Whenever we feel sleepy and tired, all we have to do is raise our sit-stand desk to wake us up. 

It helps break the monotony of our usual office routine, where we sit for several hours. 

How Often and How Long to Stand at a Standing Desk

Having a standing desk doesn’t mean you must stay standing all day. There’s a balance to it, so you don’t have to worry about straining your leg muscles and foot. 

The Ideal Standing-to-Sitting Ratio

Research shows that for every one to two hours of sitting, you should spend at least an hour standing. This is a good starting point, especially for people who have yet to get used to their standing desk. 

Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can stand longer. 

Signs It’s Time to Take a Seat

Standing for long periods can cause some discomfort in your feet and knees. Remember, our goal is to get you healthy and productive in the office. We don’t want you coming out of your workplace feeling more tired than we intend. 

That being said, alternate between standing and sitting. Once you feel discomfort, sit down and don’t force it anymore.

Appropriate Breaks Between Standing and Sitting

Don’t overwork yourself by standing for a long time. Remember to take frequent breaks, especially if you want to release tension on your foot. 

Take a seat and relax your muscles. You can continue working even while you’re seated. Once you’ve recovered and are good to go, you can work standing up again.

Top Standing Desk Exercises to Boost Health and Wellness

We’d love to share some of our favorite standing desk exercises with you. Rest assured; they’re all simple exercises that can get your blood flowing from head to toe. 

Plus, you can do it without disrupting the people around you!

Leg Exercises

A simple leg exercise can help strengthen your core quadriceps! It also helps combat any tension you feel after prolonged sitting. 

1. Standing Leg Extensions

As a starting position, stand with your feet hip-width apart. 

Slowly raise one foot off the ground without bending your knee. Starting with your one leg, slowly extend it forward and hold the position. Slowly swing it backward and hold it again. Repeat the process for your other leg. 

You can accompany the leg extensions with a gluteal squeeze to work your muscles around that area. 

If you’re having stability problems, you can put your hand on the standing desk for support. 

2. Calf Raises

We love calf raises because it’s so easy to do. Stand straight with your feet parallel to the ground. Think of this exercise as if you’re trying to do a tip-toe. 

Raise your heels from the floor and hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat the process at least ten times. 

Your leg muscles will have a good workout with this one. 

3. Hamstring Curls

Hamstring curls are so easy to do, contrary to what others think. It’s one of our favorite desk exercises because it stretches our legs and produces a good calorie burn. 

Stand on the floor with your back straight. Raise one foot backward, slowly bending your food to try and make it touch your buttocks. Hold the position for a few seconds and release. 

Switch to your left leg (if you started with your right), and repeat the process. 

Core-Strengthening Exercises

Core strengthening exercises are some of our favorites. It engages your muscles in the core and your whole body!

1. Desk Plank

The desk plan exercise shares a similar position with push-ups. Stand in front of your desk with your legs hip-width apart as a starting point. 

Place your hands on the desk and push yourself up from the desk, similar to a push-up. Hold this pose for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to engage your core and keep your chest straight while in this position. 

You might also feel some tension on your shoulder blades and arms.

2. Standing Oblique Crunches

This standing desk exercise is fun to do. You’ll look as if you’re trying to mimic a monkey, but you’re trying to strengthen your core. 

Stand with your shoulder-width and hip-width apart. Raise both your arms to your head and stand straight. 

Let’s begin with the right side of your body. Slowly bend your legs to a right angle going upwards. At the same time, lower your right arm to meet your knees. Think of it as doing crunches. 

Do the same for the other arm, and make sure it touches your knees. This exercise provides a great calorie burn that can get your heart pumping. 

This is a good alternative to doing side lunges or squat exercises.

Upper Body Exercises

Upper body exercises help strengthen your arms and even your core. It’s a good way to develop your biceps and triceps even while you’re in the office. 

1. Desk Push-Ups

Desk push-ups can be challenging for beginners. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most effective standing desk exercises today.

Before you begin, remember to keep your upper body and core engaged for this workout. 

Start by holding on to your standing desk and assume a push-up position. Move your foot backward and make sure it’s shoulder width apart. 

Slowly lower yourself towards the table, as you would in a push-up. Unlike floor push-ups, the only difference is if you won’t be in a horizontal position. 

Keep your body straight and your core engaged. Repeat the steps at least ten times. Don’t forget to take breaks in between. 

2. Arm Circles

Arm circles are so easy to do. They make a great standing desk workout because you can do it while sitting or standing. 

Start by extending both your arms to the side. Make sure it’s shoulder height, and keep your shoulder blades engaged. 

This would be a good neutral position to start with. Now slowly circle your arms clockwise and continue doing this for 10 seconds. Do it counterclockwise again and count. 

You can also modify this article and start with just one arm. 

Stretching and Flexibility

Squeeze some stretching exercises in the office and start improving your posture. Stretching is a good way to increase flexibility while working throughout the day.

1. Standing Forward Bend

The standing forward bends will flex your muscles and hamstrings. Start by standing straight, assuming a neutral position. 

Relax your arms and slowly bend your body forward. Make your fingers reach your toes, and hold the position for a few seconds. Ensure your feet stay flat on the floor, and don’t put the weight on one knee.

Don’t worry; you don’t have to reach your toes on your first try! Soon enough, you’ll be able to do it. 

2. Neck and Shoulder Stretches

If you always suffer from shoulder and neck pain, this exercise is good for you. It can relieve the tension in your neck muscles and loosen it up. 

Let’s start with your neck. Grab your right ear through the top of your head with your left hand. Lower your head to the left and hold the position. Do the same for the right side. Grab your left ear and lower your head to the right with your right hand. 

You can also tilt your head forward and backward or rotate it clockwise. 

For your shoulder, you can do simple shoulder shrugs. Sit or stand comfortably and shrug your shoulders upwards. Be deliberate with your movement, and make your shoulders reach your ear. 

Lower your shoulders again and assume a neutral position. Repeat this at least ten times. 

Tips for Integrating Exercises into the Workday

Based on our experience, integrating a standing desk workout is often hard. We’ve listed several helpful tips to keep you motivated and consistent with doing standing desk exercises. 

1. Establish a Routine

It always starts with a routine to get your mind and body used to doing frequent standing desk exercises. A good way to prepare yourself is by listing how many times you can squeeze an exercise in the office. 

We recommend dedicating at least five minutes of your time every hour. It can be as often as you want, as long as it doesn’t compromise your work or disturb your workmates. 

2. Use Reminders and Alarms

One of the ways that helped us stay consistent is by setting up alarms and reminders on our phones. It signals that it’s time to do a five-minute standing desk exercise. 

You can do the same for you. It’s a good starting point to establish a routine for your exercise. Soon enough, you won’t need alarms anymore, and you’ve already established a body clock. 

3. Stay Mindful of Posture and Ergonomics

Finally, be mindful of your posture, whether sitting or standing. If standing, ensure your chest is puffed outwards with your shoulders relaxed. 

Keep your legs straight while standing, and prevent putting all the strain on one foot. 

If you’re sitting, don’t put one leg over the other. Don’t cross them together; make sure they’re flat and rested. 

Potential Risks of Prolonged Standing and How to Prevent Them

Remember that some risks are also involved when you stay standing for too long. Thus, you should always strike a good balance between sitting and standing. 

1. Leg and Foot Discomfort

Based on our experience, we encountered some foot discomfort when we stood for too long. Thankfully, you can remedy this by taking a seat at least once in a while. 

2. Swelling in the Lower Extremities

Because of gravity, fluid builds up in our lower extremities when we stand too long. Luckily, this shouldn’t be a cause of concern unless you start to feel joint pain. 

3. Proper Footwear and Anti-Fatigue Mats

Never underestimate the power of wearing the right footwear. It can support your foot and lessen the strain it’s feeling. The same goes for anti-fatigue mats, which provide a good cushion for your feet. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we leave with our parting words, we’ve answered some of the FAQs we frequently get about standing desk exercises. 

What Are Some Quick Exercises to Do at a Standing Desk?

We’ve listed several standing desk exercises above. All of them are easy to do and require you to work your whole skeletal muscle.

You can choose from doing some abdominal exercises, lower and upper body workouts, and even stretches! 

You can also do some side lunges, although it requires more effort and space. 

How Do I Maintain Good Posture While Using a Standing Desk?

Awareness is important to maintain a good posture. Make sure to stand up straight, with your hand relaxed and chest puffed out. Keep your neck and feet straight. 

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using a Standing Desk?

There are some disadvantages when you use a stand-up desk for too long. It can cause discomfort on your legs and feet since it supports most weight. 

How Can I Track the Time Spent Standing and Sitting During My Workday?

A good way to track is by setting a schedule of when to sit and stand. Stick to this schedule as much as possible so you don’t have to guess how much time you’ve spent! 

You can also do a quick glance at your watch to check how much time you’ve spent. 

Is It Okay to Wear High Heels or Other Non-athletic Shoes While Using a Standing Desk?

You can, but we don’t recommend it because your feet will tire quickly. Instead, wear proper footwear like those with ankle and arch support! 

Ensure it has a good cushion underneath to ease pain or discomfort while standing. 


There are a ton of standing desk exercises you can do in the office. Exercise can boost your overall productivity and even your health! You’ll have good blood flow in your circulatory system all day. 

And the best part is you don’t need fancy equipment just to exercise. All you need is a sit-stand desk and the motivation to get started. 

You can squeeze in a couple of standing desk exercises while working without disrupting your workmates. We don’t want to risk our health by sitting the whole day.