Four desk stretches to relieve tension

While it’d be ideal for us all to have several breaks in our day to go for a walk, or do some yoga, that’s not always possible – here’s another way to stay active…

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on This is Calmer

As widely recommended, it’s important to take regular standing breaks to increase blood flow to the legs, but you don’t have to leave your desk to relax your muscles and relieve tension. Desk stretches are a great way to prevent disruptions to your workflow and practice self-care when you’re watching.

Luke Strauss has some different stretches you can do at your desk to help relieve tension at work. The next time your neck and back start to cramp up, give the following stretches a try!

Neck rolls

One of the most common complaints among desk workers is neck pain – after all, spending the entire day staring at a screen is bound to cause some muscle tension. To avoid needing to end the day with a deep tissue massage, try incorporating the following stretch into your daily routine.

1. Lower your head in front of you and begin rotating it, very slowly, to the left or to the right.

2. Once your head has made a full rotation, roll it the other way.

3. Repeat five-to-10 times in each direction.

If you feel tension or pain in your neck at any point in the rotation, take it easy and make note of it – you might need to work on that area, or seek additional support to resolve that discomfort.

Wrist stretch

If your job requires a lot of typing your wrists will be grateful for a rest. Whether they’re already feeling some pain, or you just want to take preventative measures, this stretch is designed for you to ease those aches and surrounding tension.

1. Hold your hands in front of your chest and press your palms together for 15-20 seconds.

2. Flip your hands and press the backs of your hands together for another 15-20 seconds

3. Repeat on each side 5 times.

Not only is this stretch great for giving your hands a typing break, it also presents the perfect opportunity to incorporate some meditation into your day. Be mindful of your breathing as you stretch and make sure that this break from work feels intentional.


Sometimes your whole body just needs to take a moment to power down and stretch. Don’t be afraid to give in! The ragdoll stretch is a great way to give your body the break it deserves. To perform this stretch safely, try to keep your back as flat as possible when you bend down.

1. Scoot forward until you’re on the edge of your seat, but still feel stable.

2. Open your knees to provide some space in front of you, keeping your feet flat.

3. Gently fold your torso and head forward into the space between your legs.

4. Fully relax your head, allowing it to sway from left to right. Hold this for 3-5 seconds.

5. Gently roll your body back to an upright position.

Tummy twist

Chances are, you’ve tried the tummy twist before. A favorite among students and desk workers alike, this stretch is great for limbering up your back and boosting your energy.

1. Sit up in your chair, with your back stretched out, your spine straight and your feet planted firmly on the floor.

2. Rotate your upper body to the right or left, twist only as far as you feel comfortable.

3. Use your left hand to grab your right knee (or your right hand to grab your left knee) and use your other hand to grab the back of your chair.

4. Hold for a moment, then return facing forward again.

5. Repeat on the other side.

It’s normal to hear some clicking sounds when you perform this stretch – these are made by the fluid surrounding your joints; what matters is that you don’t feel any pain or discomfort when performing the stretch. If you do, that’s a sign to take a break and, if you’re concerned, seek further professional support.

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