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The 1 Piece of Equipment You Need for a Subtle Office Workout

Having trouble squeezing a workout into your busy workday or looking for a few quick exercises to power you through the mid-afternoon slump? Perhaps you've Googled "office workouts" and found videos of people doing burpees next to their desks or high knees through the office hallway. If the idea of drawing attention from your co-workers isn't exactly appealing, we understand! It doesn't mean you have to save all your workouts for the hours outside of the office, though. There are ways to get a quick workout which won't draw lots of attention, using one small and inexpensive piece of equipment: the resistance band.

Small enough to fit in a desk drawer, resistance bands are an easy tool to increase the intensity of a strength workout without having to invest in pricey free weights or equipment. They are also versatile and can be used for upper body, lower body and core exercises. Whether you are a seasoned exerciser or just starting out, they can be incorporated into your regular strength training routine to add variety and challenge your body in new ways.

Resistance bands typically come in different colors based on their level of difficulty. Consider buying a set to keep at the office, since you might find that you need more of a challenge for certain exercises. For a quick burn right at your desk, perform each of these exercises for one to three sets with eight to 12 repetitions per set.
 

Chest Pull (chest, shoulders)


Sitting tall in a chair, hold the ends of the resistance band in each hand with arms extended at shoulder height. If there is not enough tension, grip the band with hands closer together. Slowly pull the band apart, squeezing shoulder blades together. Pause for a moment before slowly returning to the starting position to complete one rep.
 
  


 

Biceps Curls (biceps)


Sit tall in a chair with feet flat on the center of the band and the ends in each hand with the palms facing forward. Curl hands up to the shoulders, squeezing the biceps and keeping elbows tight to your sides. Slowly release arms back down to starting position to complete one rep. If there is not enough tension, move your hands closer toward the center of the band instead of gripping the ends.
 
     
 

Leg Press (quadriceps, hamstrings)


Sit tall in a chair with one foot on the center of the band and the ends in each hand with a closed grip. The other foot should be flat on the floor. Sitting tall and holding your hands at chest level, extend the leg with the band in front of you, then pull your knee up toward your chest to hip level. Pause for a moment before slowly returning to the starting position to complete one rep. If there is not enough tension, move your hands toward the center of the band instead of gripping the ends. Do all the reps on one side, then switch to the other side to complete the set.
 
  


 

Standing Kickbacks (glutes)


Standing tall in a split stance, loop the band around your back ankle and step on the band with your front foot. Hold the other end of the band at chest level. Placing your free hand on your desk for balance (if needed), slowly kick the leg in the band straight back by squeezing your glutes and extending your hip. Don't rock or lean forward as your leg goes back. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement before slowly lower back down to the starting position without putting your foot back on the floor to complete one rep. Do all the reps on one side, then switch to the other side to complete the set.
 

 

Russian Twists (abdominals, obliques)


Sit tall at the edge of a chair, holding the band in front of you with both hands. Lean back until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Brace your core with your shoulders back and slowly rotate to one side, keeping the resistance band tight. Your core, shoulders and hands should all be in line. Pause for a moment before slowly returning to the starting position, then rotate to the other side and return to the center to complete one rep.
 
    

Try one or two of these exercises if you have a few minutes to spare, or try them all if you've got more time available. The resistance band requires minimal space and expense while providing a challenging workout that won't draw unwanted attention—even from your co-worker in the next cube.
 
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Member Comments

Good going, SparkFriend Report
Great ideas! Report
Thanks for the ideas. I'll bring one of my bands to the office when it reopens. Report
Great ideas. Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Sounds like a plan Report
revisiting for a workday workout =) Report
Leggings in the office? That’s a sure way to get no respect. Dress well fit work. Report
Great idea Report
Great piece of equipment - thanks. Report
Great suggestion. A theraband takes even less room. Report
Great suggestion. A theraband takes even less room. Report
Great article! Report
Great article! Report
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About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach and medical exercise specialist, with additional certifications in behavior change, functional training and senior fitness. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.