Simple Exercises You Can Do in Your Standing Desk

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Need help finding the best exercises to do in front of your standing desk? Hats off to you! They say fitness is never really about having time, but about making time. Below we feature some amazing exercises that will work your upper and lower body using movements that are easy to do even for the average worker.


To target upper body muscles, we used simple arm and hand movements and a variety of stretches. Lower body exercises touched on desk squats, raises, and hamstring curls. For these exercises, it doesn't matter if you use a basic standing desk or the more sophisticated type (ex. electric standing desk). You are free to improvise depending on your setup.

Standing Desk Exercises You Can Try

Follow our step-by-step tutorial below and learn what body parts are targeted by each exercise. Apart from the physical benefits, these standing desk exercises also help clear the mind to boost work productivity and care for your mental health.

Upper Body Standing Desk Exercises

exercise gear

Desk Push-ups

Target: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Back

Ensure that your standing desk can support your bodyweight.
Place your hands firmly on the edge of your standing desk and keep them shoulder width apart.
Stretch out your legs behind you by taking a few steps back. Keep your feet shoulder width apart.
Bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest to the edge of the standing desk. Then, push up back to the starting position.
Repeat this 10 times or more until you complete 3 sets. Rest between sets.

    Wrist, Fingers, and Elbow Stretch

    Target: Wrists, Forearms, Fingers, Elbows (perfect for preventing Carpal tunnel syndrome)

    Before starting, adjust the height of your electric standing desk so that it is at the same level as your hands. Alternatively, you can use a table or some other furniture with a flat surface that is at the same level as your hands.
    Place your hands flat on the surface of the standing desk. The palms should be touching the surface with the fingers stretched out pointing to your body.
      Feel the tension for 15 seconds or more. You may lean slightly forward to make it more challenging.
      Complete 3 sets and rest between sets.

        Arm Pulses

        Target: Triceps, Forearms

        Stand at about one footstep away from the edge of your standing desk and turn your back against it.
        Place your arms by your sides with the palms facing backward to the standing desk.
        Pulse your arms backwards until they touch the edge of the standing desk. Make sure to keep your arms straight. Hold this position for 5 seconds then release. 
        Repeat 10 times and complete 3 sets. Rest between sets.

          Standing Desk Back Stretch

          Target: Back, Abdominals

          Put your hands on top of the standing desk.
          Take a few steps back and stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
          Slowly lower your upper body forward by bending primarily the hips and slightly bending your knees. While doing this, adjust the distance of your feet to the standing desk so that your body from the hips to your hands forms a straight line. 
          Keep your hands on the standing desk and hold this position for 15 seconds or more.  Do not arch your back and keep your face down.
          Complete 3 sets and make sure to rest between sets.

            Neck Rolls

            Target: Neck

            Place your hands on your standing desk for stability. This exercise may lead to slight dizziness but you can close your eyes to minimize the spinning sensation when you execute the movement.
            Gently roll your head clockwise 10 times. Then roll again counterclockwise for 10 more times.
            Complete 2 sets for each direction. Rest between sets.

              Reminder: More important than doing these exercises, make sure you are using a standing desk correctly. Use improperly and you risk harm to your health, regardless if you have the basic or the electric standing desk.

              In Canada, standing desk experts reveal that striking the right balance is vital to reaping the benefits of using a standing desk. Move early, move often. A standing desk combats the ill effects of sitting behind your desk all day, but it doesn’t mean having to stand all day.

              Lower Body Standing Desk Exercises


              Desk Squats With Arm Raises

              Target: Thighs, Glutes, Abdominals, Calves, Shoulders, Arms, Chest, Back

              Position yourself at around 3 feet away from your standing desk. Face the desk and keep your feet shoulder width apart with your hands by your side.
              Slowly bend your knees as if you are about to sit down on a chair. Lower your butt until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Guard your knees so that they do not move forward past your toes.
              As you lower your butt, raise your arms forward so that they slightly touch the underside of your standing desk. Keep your arms straight throughout these movements.
              Revert to your original position and repeat 10 times or more. Synchronize your movements so that your hands are touching the underside of the desk at the time your butt is at the lowest point of the exercise.
              Complete 3 sets and rest between sets.

                Standing Desk Knee Lifts

                Target: Abdominals, Hips, Back

                Stretch out your arms and hold on to the edge of your standing desk.
                While maintaining an upright posture, slowly lift your right knee until it touches your left forearm.
                Then lower it down and do the same with your left knee, raising it upward until it touches your right forearm.
                Alternate and repeat 10 times or more for each knee. Complete 3 sets and rest between sets.

                  Hamstring Curls

                  Target: Hamstrings

                  Stand in front of your standing desk and hold on to it for support.
                  Raise one foot upward to your backside, to the direction of your butt.
                  Then lower it down and do the same with the other foot.
                  Repeat 10 times or more for each leg and complete 3 sets. Rest between sets.

                    calf exercise

                    Calf Raises

                    Target: Calves

                    Position yourself in front of your standing desk and hold on to the edge for support.
                    Slowly raise your heels as the balls of your feet take all your bodyweight. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
                    Slowly lower your heels and repeat the process 10 times or more.
                    Complete 3 sets and rest between sets.
                    Vary between doing this exercise with straight legs and doing it with slightly bent knees. The straight-leg version targets the bigger calf muscle gastrocnemius while a bent-knee calf raise targets the smaller calf muscle soleus. Both are important regardless of their sizes.

                      Standing Rear Pulses

                      Target: Glutes

                      Stand in front of your standing desk and hold on to it for support.
                      Bend one of your legs backward while trying to move its knee upward.
                      Then lower down the knee back to the starting position while maintaining the leg bent. Repeat 10 times and do the same with your other leg.
                      Complete 3 sets and rest between sets.
                      This exercise is similar to the hamstring curl except that the heel should not move to the direction of the butt.

                        Remember to observe proper form when performing any of the above exercises. Do not rush through the motions. Take it slow and feel the way your muscles move, stretch, and contract. It is also vital to engage your core, to brace it through the movements, and to be mindful of your breathing.

                        Finally, consistency is the key. Make time to do these standing desk exercises whenever you take breaks. Apart from enhancing cardiovascular functions, they will also stimulate your body to release chemicals that will cheer up your mood and make you feel relaxed. They will improve your creativity, productivity, and work efficiency.

                        And then, it’s only a matter of time before you transform from an average worker to one that is definitely above average.

                        About Us

                        MotionGrey is a Canadian standing desk company that specializes in ergonomic furniture. We supply and install only the best quality standing desks and ergonomic chairs in the country.

                        Our products are designed with wellness as the focal point. From our electric standing desks to our office and gaming chairs, we deliver best value by putting your health, safety, and comfort as top priority. Boost your creativity and level up work performance. We want you to create great outcomes so we’re providing you only the best tools to make them possible.
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