Krista Bugden
Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden worked as a Rehab Exercise Expert at a physiotherapist clinic in Ottawa, Canada for 4 years.

Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Young Businesswoman Stretching At Workplace In her modern Office

Undoubtedly working out isn’t always feasible when a nine-to-five desk job is on the agenda. However, there’s no need to fret, as these standing ab exercises will help you boost your body’s flexibility and strength within minimal time.

More often than not, it gets tough to take ample time out for a proper exercise routine in a day that requires sitting at a desk for the most part of it. And unfortunately, the abdominal area suffers the most as excess fat gets easily accumulated here due to the least amount of movement. Fortunately, there are some standing ab exercises that you can do to keep your body and health in optimum shape. Incorporating a standing ab workout with an apt amount of standing core exercises in a busy schedule will not only work towards strengthening your core, but it will also majorly contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at all the standing exercises one can do while multitasking at a standing desk and targeting all the core areas of the body.


Asian businessman doing exercises at his standing desk

Speaking of multitasking, the best thing about integrating squats in standing core exercises is that a bunch of other tasks like reading emails can be carried out while performing this exercise. Simply keep the back straight and bend as if sitting on an imaginary chair, while keeping the core tightly tucked in. Make sure to keep the thighs parallel to the floor while in the squat position, and return to the standing position periodically. The position can also be modified to make it more challenging, by doing the squat on one leg instead of both.

Abdominal Curls and Side Bends

businessman doing side bend on his ergonomic chair

This is one of the best exercises to do while sitting, and for all those who want to start with something slow-paced, this exercise will be a treat. However, the pace can be increased as per the doer’s preference. Moreover, it also does not require special attention, as it can be performed conveniently while answering calls. Just sit up straight with arms crossed across the chest and squeeze abs tightly while curling the chest down towards the hip area. Hold the position for a few seconds, and slowly return to the starting position. From seating position you may also do several side bends between abdominal curls or after them. Repeat exercise as required.

Lateral Leg Raises

businessman doing lateral leg raise at workplace

This effective standing exercise helps tremendously with balance, and can also be considered as a leg slimming exercise. To do so, lift one of the legs as high as it goes while facing your stand up desk, and hold the peak position. Bring it back down and repeat the simple procedure, and switch legs whenever necessary. To throw in a challenge in there, make use of a resistance band as well. This will not only increase the intensity of the standing exercise, but it will also yield effective results much faster.

Calf Raises

Woman doing calf-raise exercise

Oftentimes, our calves tend to face neglect and become severely out of shape as a result. Calf raising exercises can counteract the growing fat in that specific area and are easy to carry out while working at a desk. Just stand at the tip of your toes and hold the position for a few seconds. Return to the floor in due time and repeat the exercise. If it gets too easy or monotonous, try doing it with one leg only to one-up the game. A slight burn in the calf area will be felt in no time.

Gluteal Squeeze

Employee is sitting in ergonomic office armchair in proper position

The best thing about this exercise is that it can be performed without drawing any attention from co-workers, as no one will figure out that actual butt stretches and glute exercise are being carried out. To perform the gluteal squeeze, just contract the butt muscles while sitting on ergonomic office chair or simply standing and hold the position for a few seconds. Release, and repeat. Not only is this exercise super easy to perform, but it can also contribute to a firmer, lifted butt with close to minimal effort.

Desk Push-Ups

Young Businesswoman Doing Push Up On Office sit-stand Desk

Who says push-ups can only be executed on the floor? Desk push-ups can work just as well as the regular push-ups and are an integral part of standing core exercises. Simply plant the hands on the edge of the desk, keeping them at least shoulder-width apart. While keeping the legs firmly stretched out behind, push the upper body towards the desk while holding the core as tight as possible. Return to the original position and repeat as necessary. To keep it interesting, keep some reading material in front or listen to something upbeat while pushing it further.

Shoulder Stretch

office employee is exercising during work

Time and again, tension tends to build up in the upper body while sitting or standing at a desk all day long. It is crucial to perform a few stretches in this case, to prevent back pain or to help alleviate it. For this move, simply stretch out one arm across the chest, and bring the other arm under and in front of the first one. Pulling the arms close to the chest, hold the position for a few moments and reverse the stretch. Repeating this exercise will release all pent-up tension and will also aid in giving better performance at work.

Chair Dips

Young Businessman Doing Triceps Dips In Office

A chair is a tool that is almost always available at work, so why not make use of it to get into a better shape? Any variations of the chair dips are some of the best exercises you can do at your desk, and with practice, are super convenient to perform. Start off by sitting on the edge of the chair with the legs in front and placing the hands behind the hips. Once the position is secured, start the dips by lowering the body and then going back again, keeping the focus on the arms while keeping the rest of the muscles in your body all tight and firm.

As evident by this comprehensive guide, a desk job is no excuse to slack on some fitness time. With these standing core exercises, one can find themselves on the road to a healthier lifestyle, without compromising on the quality of their work or having to slack in on office hours. Once you have implemented these exercises in your workout routine, feel free to share the progress. Or better yet, share variations of the aforementioned exercises that seem to be working for you or others around.


Krista Bugden
Krista Bugden worked as a Rehab Exercise Expert at a physiotherapist clinic in Ottawa, Canada for 4 years. She has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. She uses her extensive knowledge in this area to educate others through well-researched, scientific, and informative articles. Her passions include helping others and inspiring each person she meets to get the most out of their life.