Even if you're desk-bound for most of the day, this new guide from Saracens Rugby Club could help you get moving says Ayesha Muttucumaru

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In an office full of women, it’s not often that we get to gawk at muscly men in tight shorts. So imagine our delight this morning when amid the lipsticks, mascaras and shampoo, we stumbled upon a much-needed dose of macho machismo, in the form of the Saracens Rugby Club and their new Ultimate Office Fitness Guide.

Launched today to coincide with the release of new research conducted by club sponsors Sanlam Private Investments, the guide aims to tackle the startling stat that we spend five years of our lives (night and day) not moving from our desks. With a mix of quick 15 and 30 minute exercise routines plus some weekend workouts too, each exercise has the star trainer sign of approval having been expertly devised by Saracens Strength and Conditioning Coach, Andy Edwards. According to Andy,

“We’ve tried to make it easy for even the most desk-bound person to do something. Obviously it would be good if people could find more time to exercise, but you can achieve a lot in a concentrated 15 minutes and if people commit to doing something each day we believe they will feel the difference.”

With the figures showing that 47% of the 1,000 office workers surveyed do less than an hour of exercise a week and 24% saying that they can’t fit any exercise into their working day, the hope is that this guide will also encourage people to make small but effective changes to their exercise regimes. Saracens and England star Owen Farrell says, “Making small sacrifices is important. Sacrificing half an hour of television in the evening to go for a run three times a week will make a difference, and you will feel better for it once you start seeing results.”

He adds, “Don’t make drastic changes at first, otherwise it becomes impossible to maintain. Make small changes here and there, for example finding alternatives for foods you would have eaten before.”

Feeling motivated? Here are a few of the workouts to set your pulses racing whether you’re in front of the TV or in front of the computer screen. Enjoy!


4 sets x 10-15 reps bodyweight dips off the side of a stable desk or chair with feet shoulder width apart on floor (30sec rest between sets). To advance, place books on your upper leg to increase resistance and/or try placing feet onto a raised platform, a box or chair. This exercise will help to tone the triceps and upper back muscles.


10 upright rows with a chair

Gripping a chair, pull arms up vertically to eye level whilst bending at the elbow. Lower arms and repeat. To advance try increasing weight and/or increasing reps.

Inverted rows for 30 seconds

Place two chairs with a broom stick on top. Hold the two ends of the broom and pull yourself up.

Sit and stand off a chair for 90 seconds


4 sets x 10 reps bodyweight squats (30 sec rest between sets)

Feet shoulder width apart in standing position. Bend at the knees to point where there is a 90 degree angle at knee joint and stand up again. To advance increase reps or hold onto a stack of books or wear a fully loaded rucksack/work bag. This exercise will work your quadriceps/glute muscles.

4 x 12 reps calf raises (30 sec rest between sets)

Sit on a seat and raise heel off the floor. To advance this movement place weight such as books on your lap and/or hold the movement at the top for 2/3 seconds before repeating.


4 sets x 8 reps desk pull ups (45 sec rest between sets)

Lay beneath your desk gripping your hands onto the desk surface. Pull your chest towards the underside of the desk and then lower yourself back down. Repeat movement. To advance either increase the reps and/or place an office weight on your chest. In addition raise your feet off the ground onto a low chair or stack of paper. This exercise will primarily work your back muscles.

4 sets x 8 reps (each arm) front book raises (30 sec rest between sets)

Hold a book down by your side in either arm. Keep your arm straight and raise it alternately to eye level and back down. To advance, increase the size of your book or increase reps. This exercise will work your arms, front shoulder and latissimus dorsi muscles.

To download your free copy of The Ultimate Office Fitness Guide, which includes diet tips and menu plan suggestions, visit  www.spi.sanlam.co.uk/saracens