Mobility for Office Workers

Top mobility exercises for desk workers:

As a Personal Trainer and Online Coach I have noticed a huge increase in the number of clients requesting mobility drills to address postural misalignments and tightness in specific muscle groups. Increasingly people are reporting to suffer with joint and muscle stiffness, suspected to be caused by awkward makeshift workstations at home during Covid 19 lockdown. 

The importance of posture and ergonomics in the workplace is no new phenomenon. Employers and employees alike are well versed in the need for proper workstations and regular breaks from sitting. Generally, partaking in regular exercise and movement will counteract some negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. However, it is important to note desk work creates distinct weaknesses in the body that won’t be addressed by a typical gym routine. 

Desk work for prolonged periods can cause tightness in the hips, shoulders and spine, add to this improper workstation posture and decreased natural movement day in day out and the body runs into problems. Major muscles on the backside of the body suffer as glutes and hamstrings weaken, on the front of the body the hip flexors can tighten. Sedentary workers suffering from such imbalances in their body can cause more harm than good when they then proceed to engage in heavy resistance training or non-tailored group training at a time when these important muscle groups are weak or tight.  

Our bodies are designed to move through a variety of ranges of motions each day to stay healthy and mobile. Below I have provided some important movements I use with clients to accomplish just that. These movements will help to mobilize and stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak ones. The below steps can be performed as a 20-30 minute routine or alternatively simply select one or two movements per day and them at intervals throughout that day.

1. Table Tops
  • Start in seated position on floor
  • Hands pointing backwards and directly under shoulders
  • Keep feet directly under knees
  • Squeeze glutes and retract shoulder blades
  • Extend hips fully to table position 
  • Perform 3 sets of 5-10 reps 
  • Hold your last rep for a 10-20 second stretch 
2. Diagonal Stretch
  • Start with two feet placed together 
  • Turn feet outwards to a 45 degree angle
  • Slide one foot back onto ball of foot
  • Keep toes off back inline with front heal
  • Place the same arm as trail leg across chest
  • Reach opposite hand back towards opposite calf or heal when you become more flexible
  • Perform 3 sets of 5-10 reps each side 
  • Hold your last rep for a 10-20 second stretch 
3. Floor Thoracic Rotations
  • Begin in a side lying position 
  • Bring your knees to a 90 degree angle to hips
  • Place bottom fist between knees
  • Extend upper arm over head and trace a circle around the body
  • Keep elbow straight throughout and fist in contact with floor
  • Perform 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps each side 
4. Active Pigeon Stretch
  • Start in a lunge position
  • Place hands each side of front foot
  • Lower front knee towards the floor
  • Keep entire outside blade of foot in contact with floor
  • Perform 3 sets of 5-10 reps each side 
  • Hold your last rep for a 10-20 second stretch 
5. Infinity 8 Tea-Cups
  • Place a flat object in palm of hand 
  • Rotate the hand outwards making a figure 8 shape over head 
  • Reverse the motion while keeping palm facing upwards 
  • Perform 3 sets of 5-10 reps each side 
6. Figure 4 get-ups
  • Start in a shin box position
  • Sole of front foot facing back knee
  • Extend the hips up fully 
  • Rotate towards the front knee
  • Lower back down with control
  • Perform 3 sets of 10 reps 
  • Hold your last rep for a 10-20 second stretch 
7. Scapula Shrugs
  • Keep Elbows locked straight 
  • Keep shoulders stacked above wrists 
  • Pinch shoulder blades together for 2 seconds
  • Spread shoulder blades apart for 2 seconds 
  • Progress from kneeling to plank 
  • Perform 3 sets of 10 reps 
8. One Leg Good Mornings
  • Place back of hand on small of low back
  • Thumb and Pinky finger must remain n in contact with low back
  • Keep knee of working leg locked straight with no bend
  • Hinge forward maintaining flat low back
  • If thumb or pinky finger loses contact with low back you have gone too far
  • Perform 3 sets of 5-10 reps 
  • Hold your last rep for a 10-2- second stretch 

Note: these exercises have been selected simply to target some of the more general mobility issues people tend to struggle with. At The Movement Hub we offer a free Movement screening and consultation for people interested in receiving more individualized personal coaching both online and in person. For further details please contact us at:

Email: info@themovementhub.ie

Website: www.themovementhub.ie

Instagram: @the_movement_hub 

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