Editor’s note: Chef Exercises You Can Do at Work was originally published in June 2021 and updated in May 2022.
When you’re standing all day at work, it’s not just comfortable, supportive shoes and rest breaks that help avoid pain and injury – strengthening your lower body really helps build endurance.
This month we’re sharing exercises for chefs to do at work designed to bolster your ability to stay standing for long periods of time. After all, who doesn’t want to sidestep back pain, blisters, swollen feet and more!
Please note: some of these exercises can be done while working in the kitchen, but others need a bit more space and are best attempted when you’re on a break.
Chef exercises you can do at work – stretching
Standing quad stretch
This stretching exercise helps keep the quadricep muscles loose and flexible. As the largest muscle group in the body, the quads are crucial to all movement types, including walking, jogging, sitting, and standing.
- Use a wall for balance.
- Kick your right foot toward your butt and grab on to the top of your right ankle or foot.
- Pull your right ankle or forefoot toward your bum as you push the hip forward, feeling a stretch along the right quad.
- Ensure there is no arch in your back.
- Hold, then switch sides.
Chef exercises – general
Practise these exercises every day (if you can), taking a break in between each set. Remember if you are struggling, don’t overdo it. How many repetitions you do should depend on your strength but try and aim for 12 per set.
- Raise your shoulders up towards your ears, like an exaggerated version of an ‘I don’t mind’ shrug and then release.
- Each time you raise your shoulders, wiggle and stretch your shoulder blades for extra relief.
- Hold onto a solid object, such as a kitchen bench or chair, in front of you for balance. Stand with your legs at hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your knees straight and rise up onto your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
- This is a light and relaxing exercise.
- Using your hips like weighing scales, sway from side to side.
- Then move your hips in a circular motion, first, counter-clockwise and then do the same clockwise.
- From a standing position, take a large step forward with one leg, bending your other knee and keeping your balance.
- Return to the starting position and repeat the movement with the other leg.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend from your hips and squat down.
- Be sure to keep your back straight and feet flat on the ground. Distribute your weight on your heels.
- Straighten and return to the starting position.
This blog post contains general information. It should not be relied on as advice in relation to your particular health circumstances and issues. If you’re in any doubt about whether you should be doing these exercises or not, please consult your GP first.
Chef exercises you can do at work – And, lastly…
Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes! This is nearly as important as having decent knives. Not just for when you’re practising exercises chefs can do at work. Comfortable shoes that provide proper support and protection for long hours spent on your feet are vital.
Keep pushing, chef. Here’s to your fitness success!