Best Exercises For Anyone Who Has A Desk Job

Sally Matterson

Fitness Expert

Without much effort we can alleviate pain & improve posture that comes from sitting at a desk all day!

Nothing motivates us more to act than when we are feeling pain or when we are starting to look hunched over. Try some of these simple strengthening and stretching tips to get you feeling back on top of your game, improve posture and your overall body shape.

Why pain?

In majority of cases a lot of us experience back pain from living a relatively sedentary lifestyle which involves mainly sitting. Sitting on the couch, sitting in the office, sitting in the car, you get it, we sit a lot!

Even the gym goers out there will be sitting predominately throughout the day in majority of desk jobs.

The activity of sitting weakens and tightens muscles that support the spine and pelvis. When we do go to move, the muscular system is not efficient or strong enough to support the spine and many will experience pain of some kind particularly in the lumbar spine (lower back).

In a seated position, the two muscle groups that will suffer and cause imbalance in the body are the hip flexors (the muscles that lay over the hips) and the gluteus (aka your backside).

The seated position causes the hips to tighten and the gluteus to weaken. These two things combined overtime can put extra load on the back causing it to ache.

There are 3 fast things you can do at your office, home or gym to fix the issue.

1. Adjust your pelvis or what I like to call your water bowl

This is the quickest most efficient way of instantly helping back pain and the other good news is; it instantly flattens your stomach. Firstly, stand side on and note where your pelvis sits. If you have a massive curve in the lumbar spine (lower back, which if you do sit a lot many of us will) it is a result of weakness in the deep muscles of your core (abdominals) as well tightness of the hips and weakness of the gluteus.

This is where I refer to pelvis as the “water bowl” think of the pelvis like a bowl full of water. If your pelvis is sitting too far forward your water will spill out the front of your bowl. To correct it we need to lift the pelvis up, flatten the back and keep the water in you bowl. In other words tuck the butt under. This is the foundational movement for all other stretching and strengthening exercises.

2. Hip flexor stretching


Stand with one leg forward, one leg back, tuck the butt under or “put the water back in your water bowl”. Drop through the back knee and keep the opposite arm lifted high to maximize the stretch. To release the hip flexor even more contract the gluteus on the back leg. This will also help the hips stay level. Hold for 45-60 seconds. Repeat alternating legs until relief and lengthening is felt through the hips.

Do’s –

– Keep the hips level at all times
– Contract gluteus on back leg keeping posture tall
– Keep opposite arm lifted and the butt tucked under

Don’ts –

– Twist the hips
– Arch the back
– Tip forward from the hip

3. Gluteus strengthening

Hip Bridge – Beginners


Lie face up on the ground. Bend the knees bringing them close to the gluteus. Bridge the hips again keeping them straight and level. Remember to drive through the heel and keep the gluteus contracted at the same time. Repeat the hip bridge up to 20 repetitions or until you feel the gluteus fatigue. The first sign the gluteus are fatigued is that you feel it in the back. If pain persists; stop, rest, reset than continue the exercise. Perform up to 4 sets. When this is performed at ease you are ready to progress to the single leg hip bridge.

Single Leg Hip Bridge – Intermediate


Position yourself again with the heels close to the gluteus, bridge the hips but this time you lift one leg off the ground. Again keep the hips level. Lower the body slow and controlled both directions. Repeat up to 15-20 repetitions and up to 4 sets. Again, when you can perform the exercise in good technique progress to the bodyweight squat with chair.

Do’s –

– Keep the hips level at all times
– Contract gluteus as you lift the hips
– Keep the weight in the heels

Don’ts –

– Twist the hips
– Push through the toes
– Let the butt get lazy SQUEEZE!

Body weight squat – Advanced


Start with feet hip distance apart toes turns out at a slight angle. With your hands on hips tip from the hip loading your bodyweight into your heels, your toes should be turned out at a slight angle. At this point the pelvis should stay neutral again with the butt tucked under. Slowly lower the body as if you are about to take a seat then slowly lift contracting the gluteus. Be careful the knees stay out and don’t come in. Perform up to 4 sets 15-20 repetitions in good technique. When you have completed this, the next step is to challenge the body by adding weight like dumbbells.

Do’s –

– Keep the hips level at all times
– Keep the weight in the heels
– Start the exercise by keeping the butt tucked under

Don’ts –

– Push through the toes
– Arch the back by sticking the butt out too much
– Let the knees turn in

These exercises will not only improve back pain but give you a better booty and a flatter tummy. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!


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feature image via pinterest


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