Ab Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk
If you're like the average American, chances are you spend more time at your desk than any other place. Rather than just sitting still all day, take advantage of your situation and perform seated ab exercises at your desk. Several exercises you can perform to strengthen your core muscles using only a chair and your own body weight. Seated exercises should be done on a straight-legged chair, not a rolling chair.
Isometric Abdominal Hold
The isometric abdominal hold targets the bulk of the core muscles and helps improve their strength and endurance. Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Inhale and contract the abdominal muscles. Hold the contraction for 10 to 20 seconds before relaxing. Perform five to ten contractions throughout the day.
Seated Alternating Knee Raise
The seated knee raise is effective at targeting the transverse abdominis and the lower fibers of the rectus abdominis muscles of the lower abs. Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and back straight against the back of the chair. Inhale, stabilize your core, and raise your right knee straight up 3 to 4 inches. Hold this position for two counts and then lower back down. Repeat the movement with the other leg. Complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per leg.
Seated Reclining Curl
The seated reclining curl works the rectus abdominis muscle that runs up the center of your abdomen. Begin by scooting to the front of your chair, crossing your arms over your chest and placing your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your back straight, stabilize your core and slowly lower your shoulders and torso backwards as far as you comfortably can or until you make contact with the back of your chair. Hold this lowered position for a count of two and then slowly return to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
The captain's chair exercise utilizes the muscles of the lower abs. Sit at the edge of your chair and grasp the front of the chair with both hands for balance. Take a breath in, straighten your back and stabilize your core. As you exhale, slowly lift your knees up toward your chest as high as you comfortably can. Hold the position for a count of three and then lower back down to the starting position. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Sit and Stabilize
To engage your abs all day every day, trade in your desk chair for a stability ball. Utilizing a fitness ball will help you to improve your balance and tone your core muscles while sitting at your desk. To ensure you reap the benefits of the stability ball, always sit up straight and keep your feet firmly planted on the floor. To further challenge the stabilizing muscles in your abs, rotate your hips from side to side and front to back. Perform several repetitions throughout the day.
Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.