The 5 Minute Office Workout

Perhaps getting in a full hour workout, or even a half hour workout in, during your lunch break seems nearly impossible. In theory it sounds great, but realistically you don’t always have the time. Lucky for you, all you need is five minutes. Five minutes has the power to increase energy and productivity, reduce stress, and improve your mood and overall general wellbeing. 

Here are 5 poses we think you will enjoy that you can do right at your desk to get your body moving and leave you feeling ready to conquer the rest of the day. 

Back Strengthener: Strengthens the back muscles, realigns posture, opens chest, facilitates deeper breathing, releases back tension and more.

  • Step 1: Sit slightly forward on your chair, legs at a 90° angle, feet flat on the floor.  Contract your abdominal muscles, roll your shoulders back and down, and lift your chest up.
  • Step 2: Hold your hands up and elbows downward, in a “stick-em-up” position. Make sure your elbows are not pointed out to the sides or back, but down.  Spread your fingers apart and relax your hands.
  • Step 3: Take a deep inhale, and as you exhale, move your elbows down, squeezing your shoulder blades back and down at the same time. Feel how this opens your chest. Inhale release the stretch and slide your hands back up, then exhale and squeeze your shoulders back and down again. Repeat 3-5 times. 

Seated Spinal Twist:Decreases stiffness and increases flexibility in back, massages and detoxifies internal organs, reduces stress, increases energy, increases range of motion and more.

  • Step 1: Sit slightly forward on your chair, feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles slightly, lift up through your chest and lengthen your spine.  
  • Step 2: Cross your right leg over your left and place the back of your left hand to the inside of your left knee.  As you inhale, lengthen your spine and reach your right arm straight up.  As you exhale, twist to the right.  Bend your right arm and place the palm of your right hand either to the back of the chair or on top of it.  As you inhale, lengthen, and as you exhale, twist deeper.
  • Step 3: Keep your shoulders relaxed, chest lifted, breath easy.  Stay here for 5 breaths. Repeat on other side. 

Hip Release:Releases tension and increases flexibility in hips.

  • Step 1: Sit slightly forward on your chair, legs at a 90° angle.  Contract your abdominal muscles, roll your shoulders back and down, and lift your chest up.
  • Step 2: Reach down with both hands and interlock your fingers around your right kneecap as you draw your right knee into your chest.  Keep your shoulders back and down, chest lifted, abdominals pulled in.  Do NOT slouch or round your back.  Relax your right hip.
  • Step 3: As you inhale, sit up tall and as you exhale, squeeze your knee in.  You should feel a stretch in your right hip.  Stay here for 5 breaths. Repeat on other side. 

Chair Pose :Strengthens leg, buttock, abdominal, back and arm muscles, improves circulation in entire body, and raises metabolism.

  • Step 1: As you inhale, reach both arms up to the sky.  As you exhale, bend your knees and sit back, as if sitting in a chair.  Do NOT tuck your tailbone in and press your knees forward.  Instead, sit BACK, knees aligned directly over ankles.
  • Step 2: Stay here for 3-5 breaths. Repeat 3 times. 

Warrior III Pose:Strengthens leg, tones abdominal muscles, buttocks, legs, back and arms, lengthen spine, improves balance, burns calories, improves posture, increases energy and more.

Warrior III Pose
  • Step 1:  Shift your weight into your right foot and contract your abdominal muscles.  As you inhale, sweep your arms up to the ceiling, reaching straight overhead, palms facing each other.  As you exhale, lift your left toes off the floor behind you slightly.  Start to tilt slightly forward, keeping your spine straight.  
  • Step 2: Stay here if this is enough for you.  Otherwise, lift your left leg higher up, and hinge forward more from your hips, bringing your body parallel to the floor.  To keep your hips level, internally rotate your left thigh toward the ground.
  • Step 3: Reach out through your fingers and reach back through your left foot at the same time.  Keep your belly pulled in.  Breathe deeply, staying here for 3-5 breaths. Repeat other side. 

Return back to work feeling refreshed and energized! 

About the Author: Lynn Roberts is a yoga teacher and the owner and CEO of Innergy Corporate Yoga. Innergy’s yoga teachers go into offices all across Canada to teach yoga to stressed out, busy professionals who sit at their desks all day. Got questions? Email Innergy at