And you thought life before the pandemic was hard. Back then, we’d rush through the hours — commuting, working, meeting, eating — and only squeeze in a session at the gym if we really had the time. So, when the world locked down and working-from-home became the new normal, one of the few silver linings we clung onto was the chance to focus on our fitness.
How wrong we were. Almost two years and hundreds of boxsets later, we’re yet to break a sweat. The home gym has turned into a home office, our motivation’s dwindled to nothing and we — somehow — seem to have even less spare time than before. But, here at Gentleman’s Journal, we’ve found a workout workaround; a solution to your exercise woes.
Desk-based workout equipment has been around for years. Designed to be ergonomic and inconspicuous, the true multitaskers have been burning calories in front of their computers since the pre-pandemic days. Here, we’ve rounded up a handful of choice fitness kit that’ll do the job in your home office — so you can sneak a daily workout into work-from-home life…
Swap your office chair for a gym ball
One of the most popular ways to work-out while working is by replacing your old office chair with a gym ball. This can improve both stability and balance, and acts as a constant workout for your abdominal muscles and core. Stronger ab muscles mean your lower back is better supported, and swapping your chair – as ergonomic as it may profess to be – for a ball will promote better posture as well.
We’d recommend TRX’s ‘Stability Ball’ for a cheap, effective option. Hand-crafted with durable, non-slip vinyl that won’t pop from heavy use, the brand sells balls in diameters of either 55cm or 65cm. For a pricier alternative, Technogym’s ‘Wellness Ball’ is weighted on one side, offering an increased stability challenge. And, for somewhere to store your ball after-hours, Paragon Studio has a holder available in Teak, Blackwood or American Walnut.
TRX Stability Ball
Paragon Studio Exercise Ball HolderBuy Now
Technogym Wellness Ball
Get a grip — and strengthen your hands
Your fingers may already get a workout from incessant typing (especially as deadlines draw near) but a surefire way to strengthen your hands is to buy a grip. Usually made from moulded plastic, and with many boasting adjustable levels of resistance, these relatively simple pieces of workout equipment can be stored in a desk drawer and taken out for a quick squeeze while you wait for a spreadsheet to update or an email to send.
Try a simple pair from Adidas, with easy grip handles and a design that helps to improve forearm strength as well as grip. Or, for a cheaper option, this single ‘Hand Strengthener’ from Aynix; a powerful stainless steel spring built onto a premium quality silicone grip. Even Reebok’s knurled steel grip trainer is more comfortable than those uncoated arms look.
Adidas Pro Hand Grips
Aynix Adjustable Hand Strengthener
Reebok Grip Trainer
Put your feet to work on a seated elliptical
This may seem like an odd idea, but under-desk ellipticals and minibikes were popular even before the pandemic. And, now you’re not pedalling into work on your bicycle, these gadgets offer a chance to reintroduce that all-important daily workout into your routine.
Cubii are the kings of the technology; and this simple ‘Seated Elliptical Trainer’ boasts eight levels of resistance and a built-in LCD monitor to track your strides, distance and calories burnt. Bluefin’s ‘Curv’ is similar, but also features Bluetooth and is compatible with the FitShow app. Or, if you’re itching to get back in the saddle, this Domyos ‘Mini Bike’ has five functions and a compact design.
Cubii Seated Elliptical Trainer
Domyos Mini Bike
Bluefin Curv Mini
Opt for something a little simpler — and stretchier
Sometimes, the simplest ways are the best — and a set of resistance bands are both versatile and effective. Simply pull the band around your legs when sitting at your desk and push your knees apart. This will work out your calves and your thighs, and improve both circulation and joint mobility.
Most resistance bands will come in packs, such as these options from Jordan and Technogym. As your legs grow stronger, you can graduate to tougher bands for further resistance. Or, for a set of bands that look work-appropriate, how about these handsome fabric bands from Mirafit?
Jordan Power Bands
Mirafit Fabric Resistance Bands
Technogym Power Bands
Position a treadmill under your standing desk
Of course, why use a seated elliptical or mini bike when you can stand up? Standing desks have skyrocketed in popularity of late — and there are plenty of portable, folding treadmills that can easily slip below your desk set-up. Just look at WalkingPad’s ‘A1 Pro’ model; sleek and streamlined enough to fit under a chic standing desk (such as this solid wood option from Glenva).
And then there’s the gadgets that do it all. From Swiss designers Kybun, this outlandish-looking piece of office furniture has quite the price tag, but it’s as much a work of art as a piece of exercise equipment. Pairing a WALKOLUTION treadmill with a desk, your feet sink to different depths from slat to slat on impact — ensuring maximum spring back and a sustained gentle changing load.
WalkingPad A1 Pro Under Desk Treadmill
Glenva Smart Height Adjustable Standing Desk
Kybun Treadmill & Workstation