The Engineering Workout

Working long hours can often lead to a lack of exercise in office settings. We are regularly faced with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, which has caused a decline in health and wellness.

 

Today we present new exercises for the office atmosphere, aimed to inspire the common cubicle dweller with improved physical stamina.

 

*Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.

 

Warm Ups

Before working out, it is essential to start with a warm up to prevent accidents or injuries. When arriving at work you can begin your warm up with some neck twists or overarm stretches. These are most natural when first arriving at work, before your recently ingested caffeine hits.

 

For a simple neck twist stretch, sit down at your desk then look from left to right, checking for other early risers. Once your neck is warmed up, you can ready your arms for a day of exercise with overarm stretches. Lifting your hands over your head, slowly cross your arms and lean backwards to get a fuller stretch.

The Neck Twist
The Neck Twist.
The Overarm Stretch
The Overarm Stretch.

Another warm up that is often forgotten is active sitting. For this warmup, you will sit tall in your chair and activate your abs by keeping your torso straight, without leaning back. A couple of seconds should suffice for this warmup.

Active Sitting
Active Sitting.

 

The Headphone Lift

Targets shoulders and arms

The Headphone Lift
The Headphone Lift.

This is a great move for beginners looking to start a morning workout routine. Research shows that listening to music can greatly improve focus and overall motivation.

 

For this exercise we combine the powers of music with a subtle move that targets the shoulders and arms. Beginning with a pair of headphones on your desk, place one hand on each end and lift up to position over your ears. By using both hands, you will get a balanced workout for your arms and shoulders.

 

Advanced versions of this exercise can include the addition of shoulder shrugs or one-handed lifts. Be careful to switch arms periodically when completing this exercise one-handed. Constant repetition with one arm may cause one side to overdevelop.

 

The Finger Curl

Targets wrists and fingers

The Finger Curl
The Finger Curl.

As many of us know, carpal tunnel syndrome can become a major problem without proper workplace attention. To combat this problem we developed an exercise that focuses on strengthening the wrists and fingers.

 

Starting with your hand on a mouse or trackpad, extend your pointer finger to scroll across your screen. After full extension, begin contracting the muscles in your finger as you pull it closer to your palm. Repeat until work is completed.

 

For an advanced workout, you can alternate directions by moving side to side or adding a swiping motion. Another alternative for a more complete workout can be accomplished by switching dominant fingers or hands when scrolling.

 

The Rocking Chair

Targets calves and quads

 

The Rocking Chair
The Rocking Chair.

This move was developed to quickly re-energize your workday following your morning caffeine buzz. Sitting all day in the same position can zap energy, so it’s important to move periodically to retain previously built up energy. You will need a reclining chair for this exercise.

 

With both feet on the floor at a 90-degree angle in front of your chair, push your heels up into the air. Moving your heels up will force your upper body to rock backwards. Be careful to stop pushing your heels up when the back of your chair stops. Without stopping you may run the risk of tipping your chair over and causing injury. After reaching the maximum tilt allowed by your chair, return your heels to the floor in a slow and steady movement.

 

Looking for an advanced version? Try lifting one of your legs while the other repeats the original movement. You can add additional difficulty by leaning backwards and doing a cancan type switch between your legs.

 

The Bathroom Blitz

Targets full body

The Bathroom Blitz
The Bathroom Blitz.

Around mid-day, the bathroom blitz can be a lifesaver. Starting from a sitting position, lift straight out of your chair, activating your abs and using only your legs to briskly walk to the restroom. Moving your arms rhythmically to match your legs will help create a full body exercise. This sudden burst of aerobic movement can wake up the mind and re-energize the body.

 

When returning from your destination, take care to repeat your walk as before. Losing speed in this stage of exercising can diminish overall gain.

 

The Hand Off

Targets biceps and triceps

The Hand Off
The Hand Off.

Focusing on the arms is difficult but can be done with the hand off. This exercise works best when projects begin piling up on one’s desk. You can use the same principles as learned in the bathroom blitz with a revised arm motion if starting in a chair.

 

Once standing, lower both arms until level with the desk to pick up a weighted item. Prevent dropping the item by constricting your hands tightly around the object. Slowly lift the item up and away from the desk then walk to find assistance.

 

Switching to heavier objects can increase difficulty, however it is important to work your way up to increased weight. Always attempt the lightest option first to prevent injury.

 

The Forgotten Item

Targets full body

The Forgotten Item
The Forgotten Item.

There are times when you may forget an important item in your car. This exercise is intended to capitalize on those times of forgetfulness.

 

Warming up with a brisk walk to the office doors, reach forward and open the door. When opening the door you will achieve some resistance training and further improve upon your earlier foundation of arm exercises. Difficulty is quickly increased with a burst of speed down the stairwell to pick up the forgotten item. Combine aerobic and weight training movement by pumping your arms as you carry the item back upstairs. Doing this exercise properly will help you achieve fantastic overall results!

 

Cool Downs

After a long day of working out, it is important to end the day with some cool downs. When waiting for a ride, you can end your day with the super slouch. Sliding down into your chair, let your back relax from your earlier active sitting warm up. You can then relax your neck by rolling it backwards until it rests lazily on the top of your chair.

The Super Slouch
The Super Slouch.

We understand that exercising can be difficult to fit into your daily schedule, but our engineering workout aims to show you new ways to increase activity. With the proper form and attention to detail, even the smallest movements will help you improve and re-energize your lifestyle.

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About Quinn Sullivan

I am an apparel merchandiser who found comfort in the world of electronics after discovering a passion for making projects with copious amounts of glitter. Every day I work on learning and uncovering novel solutions that guide me towards solving life’s little problems. My optimism and two rescue puppies have kept me sane throughout this endeavor as I figure out how to blend two diverse backgrounds in fashioning something amazing that will eventually lead to world domination.

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