Leg Exercises at Work

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Legs falling asleep at work? It happens to us all. Having your legs stuck in one position all day can wear on you.

We put together a guide of exercises you can do at your desk to loosen you up and get the blow flowing!

yoga pose

Horizontal Resistance Band

Do you need to be super discreet? Unfortunately, not every work environment values their employees health. But, you can be sneaky with these.

Grab yourself some resistance bands and get to work. These can be bought in varying strengths, and as the saying goes,”no pain no game”. 

Try to do 3 sets of 20 reps for these. We want high reps because the purpose here is to maintain your legs and get the juice going, not necessarily to build muscle. 

If your legs aren’t burning after 3 sets of these, either increase the sets or increase the reps per set. 

Calf Raises

In some work environments, even sneaking a resistance band might be too much. Thankfully the only thing you need in resistance training IS resistance.

One great way to do this is by performing calf raises under your desk. You can do this without any equipment at all. But, it’s going to take more work to get a good burn going. 

Simply flex your calves and lift up your knees until you feel the tension. Do this for LOTS of repetitions. Whenever you can, throughout your entire day. At some point it’s really going to start burning. 

You can add weight to your thighs to make it a bit harder while still being discreet. If you have a heavy book or something of the sorts. It’s also possible to add a resistance band from the soles of your feet to over your thigh. That will give you a harder workout. 

Pedal Bike

With the advent of our modern world realizing that sitting stationary isn’t the best thing for our health, a plethora of innovations have arisen.

One of these is.. the pedal bike! You can keep your legs pumping all day long with one of these under desk options.

Pair one of these with a heart rate monitor to see how it affects you. You’ve got to make sure you’re really working and not just pedaling like you’re out for a leisurely roll!

We’ve really got to work harder since the rest of our body is sitting still and we know that’s not natural!

Under Desk Elliptical

I’ve seen it at the gym. The pure bliss of people who use the elliptical. I’m not entirely sure if it’s the trance like repetition that makes them happy, but if that’s you.. rejoice!

mini elliptical

Under desk elliptical’s are now a readily available thing to purchase. You can do your thing all day, and no one can stop you. These are great for cardio just like pedaling.

It really comes down to preference in this case. In the gym, an elliptical engages a lot of muscles in a stair climb movement. But, if the lower half of your body is glued to a seat, these are going to be more cardioesque.  

Criss Crosses

Have you ever seen the guy or girl that fidgets all day at work? Why are they always so in shape? That’s been my life experience and my amateur guess is because they’re always moving. 

If you want to wake up, movement is never going to hurt. So, pretend like you’re back in grade school and get your legs moving around. 

Make up a movement and your own mini workout routine you can do with your legs. This is great in observant work places. You can mix criss crosses, with calf raises with whatever else, and get your own routine going. 

There is extra motivation in knowing you did it yourself as well. 

Knee Ups

The quadriceps are muscles on the front of your thigh. If you would humor me now and lift up your knees by themselves, you should feel tension here. 

While this exercise is simple, it’s fun. Lift up your knees from the floor as if your lower legs weren’t attached. Try to hit the top of your desk(not too hard) with your knees.

If you feel the tension in your quads, you’re doing it right. It will give you a much more intense workout to actually squat(even bodyweight) than this, but it is a simple exercise to get blood flowing throughout your thighs. 

Leg Extensions

This one is great. You simply extend your leg as far as you can. It makes a good stretch as well. 

You can even combine it with ankle rolls at the end of an extension to get a nice relieving stretch. What I do for these is to flex moderately hard the full way throughout the motion.

It simulates adding weight and feels great. 

Ankle Rolls

For those who want to be sneaky while exercising at work, ankle rolls are another option. You’re not going to build any muscle doing this, but you are going to feel a lot better.

I get a good stretch and some cracking noises when rolling my ankles, and when I go for a walk it feels much better. 

ankle workout

Tennis Ball Rolls

If the bottom of your feet tend to get painful from your shoes or just walking, consider getting a round object to roll underneath them at work. If you’re brave you could get something harder than a tennis ball to really dig into your flesh.

For me, a tennis ball is fine. I apply pressure with my foot and find that it relieves some tension. 

Another option to step  it up would be using a golf ball. 

Further Thoughts

I hope you found something in here you can use at work! Many of these will require a lenient boss to do but there are also some options if you want to be discreet. 

Give me a holler if these helped you give your legs a workout! I love to hear from readers as it warms my heart a little bit. 

Author Picture - Conor


Hey everyone 🙂 My name is Conor. I'm passionate about technology, zen, and improving the quality of life so many of us share at a desk!

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