How to Strengthen Your Core With Ab Exercises at Your Desk

How to Strengthen Your Core While Sitting at Your Desk

While most jobs require some sitting and standing, on average, most workers spend 39% of their day seated, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Breaking the numbers down by occupation, careers that require the most sitting include software developers (90%), bus drivers (82%), accountants (81%), and insurance sales agents (80%), among others. Add in long commutes, family time around the table, or downtime in front of the television, and that’s an awful lot of time spent being inactive.

If your job requires a lot of sitting, why not multi-task at work and fit in a few minutes of ab workouts while sitting at your desk to get the blood flowing and strengthen your core? Try the following exercise tips to maintain and increase core strength while sitting at your desk. (Pair these with a back toning workout for even better posture and improved results.)

Office Chair Exercises to Target the Abs

Seated Leg Pull-Ins

Sit on the front edge of your chair with your legs together and bent at the knees, feet flat on the floor, back straight, and your shoulders back and relaxed. Lean back 45 degrees. Hold the seat of your chair on either side of your thighs, engage your abs, and, while still leaning back, slowly draw your knees in toward your chest. Next, unbend knees to extend legs out at a 45-degree angle, hold for a second, then draw legs back in, bending at the knees again. Repeat 20 times. (If your office chair has wheels, lock them for added stability.)

Easy Ab Crunches

Sit on the front of your chair with your legs together, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, feet flat on the ground, arms up and bent at the elbows with fingers interlaced behind your head. Engage your core and lean back until your back grazes your chair back. Keep your back straight and your abs engaged. In one fluid motion, sit back up while lowering your right elbow to the left knee, lifting your left leg so the knee meets the elbow, keeping your abs engaged and fingers interlaced behind your head the entire time. Return to your starting position and repeat, this time lowering the left elbow to the right knee before returning to your starting position again. That’s one full repetition. Repeat each repetition 20 times.

Oblique Squeezes

To strengthen the sides of your core, called the obliques, start by sitting up straight in your chair, legs together, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor, and arms relaxed at your sides. Lift your left arm up, bend at the elbow, and rest the palm of your hand on the back of your head. With your core engaged and still facing forward, bend to the left and, using your left side obliques, squeeze to slightly raise your left hip and keep core engaged as you slowly sit back up to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, then switch to repeat another 10 times on the right side.

Switch Up Your Seating

An easy way to engage your core while sitting at a desk is to simply switch up your seating. While some ergonomic chairs may provide comfort and support to the spine and posture, they’re simply acting as just that—support. Your core doesn’t need to work to keep posture in place. To instantly engage the core, swap your traditional office chair for an exercise ball or alternative ergonomic chair designed to engage the core for at least an hour of active sitting each day. Forcing your core to do the work offers a passive workout that can be performed while still continuing your work, meaning this tip doesn’t need to interrupt your workflow. It’s important to pay attention to posture, though; don’t slouch and be sure to keep shoulders back and relaxed.

Consider the following table to find the right size exercise ball for you: 

Your Height

Ball Size

4’5” or less

12” ball

4’6” to 5’7”

18” ball

5’1” to 5’7”

22” ball

5’8” to 6’2”

26” ball

6’3” or taller

30” ball

On a budget? Pretend there is gum on your chair back and perch on your chair, closer to the front. Avoid leaning back—to avoid the “gum”—and assess your posture. Keep shoulders relaxed, abdominal muscles engaged, and back straight, with ears aligned with hips.

Improve Visible Results with a Lunchtime Treatment

If your end goal is to fight belly bulge, these options will help to improve muscle toning, but they may not be enough to burn fat or tighten skin. Boost the results of your workday workouts with complementary radio frequency (RF) treatments or non-surgical diode laser fat treatments during your lunch hours. Whether you’re looking to lose inches, or for a little body shaping or skin tightening boost, these custom treatments generally takes no longer than 30 minutes—the perfect length for a lunch break.  

To learn more about our body treatments, including whether they’re the perfect match for your personal goals, contact a certified treatment provider near you using the search field below.

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