Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

BODY MATTERS

Just think of it as on-the-job training

If you can't make it to the gym, three simple exercises at your desk will work just fine.

December 04, 2006|Jay Blahnik | Special to The Times

Getting to the gym every day is tough, whether before or after work. Workdays are long, free time is scarce and PDAs and other gadgets do only so much to help us manage our time.

There is a workout solution.

I call it the "Workspace Workout." It might not solve the time crunch, but it will ensure that you're doing the three most important exercises. Do these moves a couple of times a day and you may be surprised at how much of a difference they make -- physically and mentally.

Desk push-ups: This exercise tones the chest and the triceps (the large muscle on the back of the upper arm).

Place your hands on the edge of your desk a little wider than shoulder distance apart, elbows almost completely straight. Walk your feet away from the desk until your body is in a straight line and you are balancing on your toes and hands.

Begin the exercise by slowly dropping your chest toward your hands, and then pushing away until your elbows are almost straight again. Repeat 10 to 15 times, or do as many as you comfortably can until you feel fatigued.

If the exercise is too tough, make the movement smaller. If it is too easy, try balancing on one foot while executing the push-up. Breathe evenly throughout the movement, and try to repeat this exercise at least two to three times during the day.

Chair squats: This exercise strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.

Stand directly in front of your desk chair, facing away from it.

Begin the exercise by slowly bending your knees and moving toward the chair as if you were going to sit down. Get as close to the chair as is challenging, but comfortable, but don't sit down. Pause at your lowest comfortable squat point (just above the chair), then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times, or do as many as you comfortably can until you feel fatigued.

If the exercise is too tough, make the movement smaller, or use your chair's arm rests to help push yourself back up to the starting position after each rep. If the exercise is too easy, extend the pause just above the chair after each rep. Breathe evenly throughout the movement, and try to repeat this exercise at least two to three times a day.

Bent-over reverse flyes: This exercise strengthens the middle back and the back part of the shoulder -- and is a perfect complement to the desk push-ups.

Begin the exercise sitting in your chair, bending at the waist to drop your chest toward the top of your thighs. In this position, lift your arms up and out to the side a few inches (as if slowly flapping your wings like a bird). Squeeze your shoulder blades together on each repetition, and keep your head as relaxed as possible. Repeat 10 to 15 times, or do as many as you comfortably can until you feel fatigued.

If the exercise is too tough, try doing the movement with your chest farther from your thighs. If the exercise is too easy, try pausing at the top of the movement (with the shoulder blades pulled together) for a longer period of time on each rep.

These three exercises are simple and take only a few minutes, but can produce big results if you do them whenever you have a chance. Try them at the end of a long conference call, before and after typing a lot of e-mails or even every hour on the hour. Together, they're a fast, all-over workout -- without the time-consuming trip to the gym.

Jay Blahnik, a Laguna Beach-based personal trainer, has appeared in more than 25 videos and is the author of "Full-Body Flexibility." Although he cannot answer all questions, he can be reached at jay@jayblahnik.com or health@latimes.com.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|