The Wall Street Journal

How to Get Your Daily Workout at Your Desk


While an hour-long workout might not offset the effects of sitting in the office all day, fitting regular exercise in your schedule may be able to. Certified personal trainer Donovan Green shows a series of exercises you can do without leaving your chair.

Photo: Adam Falk/The Wall Street Journal

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- [Narrator] This is you, on your way
to break a productivity record for the day
by sitting at your desk a little too long.
New research shows that if your typical work day
stretches over 13 hours and doesn't allow walking
at least 4000 steps a day, you might become resistant
to the benefits of gym time after work,
but that's where Donovan Green comes in.
He's a certified personal trainer
of celebrities like Dr. Oz,
founder of Chair Workouts, a motivational speaker,
and a holder of a black belt in jiu-jitsu.
- If you can sit, you can get fit.
Let's do it!
- [Narrator] Bottom line, there's no excuse
for too much sitting.
(pleasant big band music)
- All you need is a resistance band
and five minutes to get fit.
We're gonna do this every hour on the hour.
Let me show you how.
- [Narrator] But I can't wear my gym clothes in the office.
- What?
The only excuse I accept is if you're dead.
(hands thwacking)
You ready to go?
(peppy jazz music)
So let's get started with your seated shoulder press.
We're gonna get our resistance bands.
You're gonna come to the edge of your chair,
you're gonna scoot forward,
you're gonna put the band right here,
let your feet go over that band.
Make sure it's firmly in the center of that foot.
You're gonna sit up, bring your arms out,
and you're gonna express all the way up.
Inhale coming down, feel really proud.
It's like as if you're holding up the roof.
You're gonna go for 60 seconds.
You're increasing the strength in your deltoid muscles,
and also, when you tone those shoulders up,
you accentuate the shape of your body.
- [Narrator] What if I don't have a band?
- You don't need it.
Come to the front of that chair, same exact position,
arms are up, I'm pressing up, I'm pulling down.
Let's do it! (pleasant orchestral music)
Let's move on to the seated arm curls.
You're gonna come towards the edge of that chair.
Arms are out, remember, do not hit your elbows
on the side arm.
I'm gonna lift my chest, stomach is tight,
put a smile on your face.
Squeeze your abs, squeeze your arms,
really focus on the muscle,
and we're gonna go for 60 seconds.
When you build your arms,
you get much more functional throughout the day.
Let's move on to your seated lat pulldowns.
You're gonna wrap the band around twice
and then go to the opposite side, do the same exact thing.
You're here, extend your arms out to a 45 degree angle.
Tighten those abs, and you're gonna pull all the way
towards the top of your chest, come back up to the top.
So the seated lat pulldowns
are excellent for increasing your posture.
We tend to roll forward on our phone every single day.
When you're working the posterior muscles,
it's gonna help you to pull your shoulders back,
sit upright, and you're gonna feel and look your best.
We're gonna move to your seated chest press.
The first thing we have to do is wrap the band
in the back of your chair.
You're gonna lift your chest, you're gonna focus
on your arms being just like this, 90 degrees,
and you're gonna press forward and come back.
As I'm pressing out, I'm squeezing my chest muscles.
I'm contracting everything,
I'm really tightening my abs, and if you wanna hit
the top of your chest as well,
you can go to the very top and change the angle.
You can have some fun with it,
so I'm going forward and I'm going up.
Great exercise for developing that chest muscle.
The last exercise is your torso twist.
You're not gonna need a resistance band for this at all.
You're gonna come to the edge of that chair.
Put your hands up like as if you're about
to get into a fight, but you're not gonna fight.
Get your hands up nice and tight, though,
and you're gonna rotate, you're gonna twist.
Pretend as if I'm gonna come and punch you
in the stomach and you're clinching like (groans),
and you're tightening those abs up.
You're gonna go for 60 seconds,
so the seated torso twist is so good
because it's increasing mobility and circulation
while you're getting some work right in the midsection.
- [Narrator] So what do I have to say to colleagues
who might think I'm just crazy?
- When you're working out in the office,
you're getting healthier, you're getting more fit,
you're improving your life.
Tell 'em to join you.
Get your boss to come and join you.
No excuses!
(pleasant light jazz music)

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