As collegiettes, we know the value of time. We’re all juggling different combinations of classes, extracurricular actives, internships and part-time jobs while attempting to maintain some semblance of a social life. When you finally have a moment to spare, climbing into bed is probably a lot more enticing than lacing up and heading out for a run. Luckily, there’s good news for all you multitasking, overachieving collegiettes out there: there are ways to break a sweat and build muscle while you catch up on your chem reading. With these six moves, you’ll be deskercising with the pros.
The Glute Squeeze
The glute squeeze is one of the most inconspicuous exercises, which means that you can do it pretty much anywhere—in your room while reading a textbook, in the library while going over flashcards or in the classroom while taking notes.
To do this exercise, mimic the squeezing motion shown in the image above while seated. Wherever you’re sitting, just squeeze your gluteal muscles as hard as you can and hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Relax briefly. Repeat 10 to 20 times to work on filling out your fave booty shorts while you go over your flashcards.
Typing a paper but still trying to keep your legs and butt looking tight and lean? Try this chair squat move, which works all the major muscle groups in the lower body and, as a bonus, activates your core and raises your heart rate, helping you torch major calories during those all night essay-writing sessions.
While typing, stand in front of your desk with your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your back as straight as possible, press your weight into your heels and squat down until your butt hovers just above the seat of your chair. Hold for five to 10 seconds then sit back down. Repeat 10-20 times.
Core and Abs
Staring at your computer screen for hours might help you memorize the notes you took in class, but it’s not doing all that much for your abs. Try this difficult abdominal lift to strengthen and tone your core.
While seated, put your hands on the seat of your desk chair. If your chair has arms, you can place your hands on the arms for an easier variation. Keeping your knees bent, press your weight into your palms and lift your butt off the seat while keeping your arms straight. Lifting your knees as high as you can will help in toning your lower abs. Stay above the seat for a few seconds (up to 10) and then slowly sit back down. Repeat two to four times. Keep your eyes on your notes or textbook to keep this tough move study-friendly.
Swiveling desk chairs are pretty cool not only because you can spin around in them when you’re bored, but also because they’re an amazing piece of workout equipment in disguise for those of us who like to get our sweat on outside the gym. Next time you’re just fooling around and spinning, open a textbook on your desk and get your study on with these controlled oblique swivels.
Sitting up straight with your back against the chair. Put your feet together and lift them off the floor as high as you can. Hold the edge of your desk tightly enough to stabilize yourself. Using your core (primarily your obliques), swivel from left to right as your read. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Summer might be leaving us, but tube top season will eventually return, and when it does, you’ll be ready! This simple move tones your upper back and stretches your chest—a must for those of us who spend a lot of our days hunched over textbooks and computers.
Sit upright with arms spread out to either side. Bend arms at 90 degrees so fingers are pointing forward. Pull your elbows back and pinch your shoulder blades together, pretending you’re trying to hold a pencil between them. Hold for five seconds, then release. Repeat 10-20 times. This move is perfect for flashcard users; instead of keeping your fingers pointing forward, pick up a flashcard with one hand and hold it in front of your face to read it. Squeeze while you try to figure out the answer and release once you flip over the card. Switch hands.
Water Bottle Bicep Curl
Slit-sleeve tops are all the rage this season, and the best accessory to the killer summer tan you’ll be showing off is toned arms. Use water bottles (or canned foods, or any other available weight you can grip in each hand) to work your biceps at your desk.
Sitting up straight, hold your weights at your sides, palms facing in and arms straight. With your elbows pressed to your side, raise your weights and rotate your forearms until your palms are facing your body. Slowly lower weights to original position and repeat for 10-20 repetitions. Make sure to keep your book open on your desk and flip pages in between reps.
Being a busy collegiette doesn’t mean that your health has to suffer! By incorporating some of these deskercises into your routine, you’ll be keeping yourself fit—and maybe even giving yourself the energy to finish that chapter in your textbook. It’s a win-win!