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Stretch at your Desk

Sitting for long periods of time can make our muscles stiff. Stretching in the workplace can help reduce the pain and tightness and improve our range of motion. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing flexibility exercises at least two to three days per week. See below for instructions for each stretch. Don’t forget to stand up and move for at least 1-2 minutes every half hour. Frequent, small breaks have been shown to reduce injuries and boost comfort and work performance.

Download the Stretch at Your Desk PDF

Upper Body

Neck Stretch:

Grab your left wrist with your right hand and gently pull your left arm behind your back. Lean your head toward your right shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds on each side.

Shoulders + Back |
Arms + Hands:

Interlace your fingers, turn your palms upward and straighten your arms. Think of elongating yourself. Breathe deeply and hold for 15 seconds.

Reaching Upper Body:

Reach in opposite directions and point your fingers. Breathe and hold for 10 seconds on each side.

Eagle Arms:

Stretch your arms in front of you with palms facing the ceiling. Cross one arm over the other and bring palms together. Lift your elbows and feel the stretch in your upper back. Hold for 10 seconds on each side.

Shoulder Blade Pinch:

Interlace your fingers with elbows straight out to the side while sitting up straight. Pull shoulder blades together to create tension in your upper back. Hold for 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 3-4 times.

Lower Body

Seated Pigeon:

Sitting on the edge of your chair, place your right ankle over your left knee. Sit tall and feel the stretch in your hips.  Breathe deeply and hold for 30 seconds on each side. Repeat 2-3 times if needed.

Seated Twist:

With feet flat on the floor, rest your right hand on your left thigh and gently apply pressure as you twist to the left. Look over your left shoulder. Breathe deeply and hold for 10 seconds on each side.

Hip Flexor:

Sitting on the edge of your chair facing right, take your left leg and extend it behind you. Sit tall and try to tuck your tailbone under to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. Repeat 2-3 times if needed.


Upward & Down:

Place your palms together with elbows out to the side. Push your hands together and down until you feel a stretch in your wrists. Hold for 5-8 seconds.

Down: From above, rotate your palms around until they face downward. Keeping your elbows even, slowly bring your hands upward. Hold for 5-8 seconds.


Temple Rub:

Place your hands on your temples and do small circular motions, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. Do this for 10-15 long, deep breaths.

Hand Shakes:

Shake your arms and hands at your side for about 10 seconds. Let your shoulders, hands and arms relax as your shake out the tension.