Pain Free Working

Arm Exercises to Do at Your Desk

With our bodies held at prolonged and uncomfortable positions all day, it’s crucial we take time to keep them fit and pain-free, too. Anyone who works 8 hours a day or more is prone to experience some type of soreness in their arms. This is mostly due to the arm placement that is either too cramped or too strained.

Ideally, our keyboards should be placed slightly below elbow-level so our wrists and arms fall at a more natural position. This ergonomic placement also allows our shoulders and upper body to relax and release all that tension.

Instead of typing away all day, take time to perform these short arm exercises to relieve pain and discomfort during your work hours.

Sitting Arm Pulses

Sit on your desk, feet placed firmly on the ground. Stretch both your arms sideward with your palms facing back. Pulse your arms backward while keeping your spine straight and your chest lifted. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed while you do this! We don’t want to cause more pain.

You can perform this exercise for 30 seconds and repeat it for as often as three times, with 10 second rests in between. Keep that mind to muscle connection, it’ll help you gain more out of this short exercise.

Sitting Arm Circles

Similar to arm pulses, start with your arms open wide, palms facing down this time. Using the entire length of your arms, make small forward circles. Make sure your arms are tensed up so you make the most out of this exercise.

Repeat the circular motion for 30 seconds then take a 10 second break. Continue for another 30 seconds in the opposite direction.

Overhead Tricep Extension

Sit at the edge of your chair, feet flat on the floor, arms lifted up over your head. Clasp your hands together and slowly bend your elbows while lowering your hands, keeping your upper arms steady. This exercise targets your triceps.

You can repeat this motion 30 times for one set. If you’re looking for that extra challenge and you have weights lying around at home, feel free to add them for a more advanced version of this exercise.

Hammer Curl

Move your body to the edge of the chair and keep your arms to your sides. If you have weights, you can use them. But if not, go and grab a water bottle for each arm (filled, of course) or two heavy books and use these as alternatives instead.

With your arms pinned to your sides, all you have to do is curl your weights (or makeshift weights) toward your shoulders. This simple exercise is a great way to target your biceps. Repeat this motion 30 times.


This exercise is performed exactly as its name implies. Lift your elbows up to your shoulder and each hand level with your head. You can use weights if you have them, but alternatives like water bottles, books, or just your bodyweight are perfectly fine.

Start the exercise by lifting your arms up and out, forming a Y shape in the air. Go back to your starting position, and then repeat. Keep repeating this motion 30 times.

Sheena Bergado

Sheena first met Tricia on a back pain support forum. After becoming online friends they launched in 2019. Due to suffering from upper back and shoulder pain, Sheena vows to find the best ergonomic office equipment in the Philippines to help fellow desk workers.