Study Break Exercises

Do you get extremely tight muscles and joints after sitting for hours on end trying to complete school assignments and weekly content/ homework? I know I certainly do! This can result in headaches, sore joints and tight muscles for me and can impact the productivity of my study. There is also a lot of science behind the benefits of taking regular study breaks and incorporating physical activity within these breaks! With all of that in mind I wanted put together a post based around a series of exercises you can do at home during your study breaks to keep mobile and energised! So with the help of qualified physiotherapist Louise Drysdale- we have come up with 8 fantastic exercises for you to get you moving during your study breaks!

(Disclaimer: These exercises have been designed with the help of Louise Drysdale, Physiotherapist. If you have a current musculoskeletal/ health condition, please always consult with your own doctor or physiotherapist prior to attempting these exercises!)

Number 1: Calf rises
Targeting: The Gastrocnemius as part of the calf complex and the Core
Aim: 30-32 on each leg

Step 1.

Be sure to hold onto something for support (This can be a chair!) One foot parallel and flat on the floor, the other resting against the ankle of the supporting foot.

Step 2.

Gently lift the heel, making sure to maintain correct hip placement and shoulder alignment and lower back down again. Repeat. Built to around 30 on each leg. (If this is too much you can start with a two leg rise with two feet parallel flat on the floor)

Number 2: Neck Stretch
Targeting: Upper trapezius muscle, Scalene muscles, Levator Scapulae muscle, Sternocleidomastiod muscle
Stretch hold: 20-30 seconds
Sets: 2 sets per side

Step 1.

Place your hand over your head, look down towards the floor and gently  and slowly use your arm to guide your head down into a nice light neck stretch.

Step 2.

This action can also be reversed with the head tilted to the ceiling

Number 3: Thoracic Foam Roller Release
Thoracic spine mobility

Step 1.


Gently position your thoracic spine onto a foam roller. 

Step 2.



Release and relax the upper body to arch back over the foam roller. 


Number 4: Pectoral Stretches On Chair
Both the major and minor Pectoral muscles
Stretch hold:
20-30 seconds
2 sets per side

Step 1.


Start in a 4 point kneeling position next to a chair. Draw your belly button to your spine and be sure to maintain a nice neutral spine. Steadily place one arm on the chair.

Step 2.



Slowly bend the 4 point kneeling arm to create a gentle stretch through the chest and pectoral muscles of the side of the body on the chair. (Continue to draw the belly button to the spine and maintain a nice long line from the top of the head through to the sit bones)


Number 5: Spinal Twist Stretch
Spinal mobility, nerve mobility and Gluteal muscle stretch
Stretch hold: 20-30 seconds
Sets: 2 sets each side


With both arms stretched out to the side, palms facing down, take one leg and cross it over the other.



Gently start the spinal rotation by leading with the top leg. Take the focus to the opposite wall of the direction of your legs. Repeat on the other side  (Your legs and knees may not be close to the ground, just go to what is a safe and comfortable stretch in the spine) 

Number 6: Gluteal and TFL Trigger Release
Tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscle, Piriformis muscle, Gluteal muscles

Step 1.


Using your arm to support your weight, take your spikey ball (or tennis ball) 

Step 2.

Gently place your TFL onto the ball and let your hips sink into the ball

Step 3.

Roll back onto the ball to roll through the Gluteal muscles if desired!

Number 7: Hip Flexor Stretch On Chair
Targeting: Hip flexor muscles, Quadricep muscles and balance
Stretch hold: 20-30 seconds
Sets: 2 sets per side

Step 1.


Place one leg on a chair in a parallel position (you may want to use another chair to help yourself get into this) Be sure that your hips are facing directly in front of you – not twisted or buckled and your supporting leg is parallel. Explore the rage of movement by bending and stretching your supporting leg.

Step 2.



For an extra challenge: If/when you are confident you have the option to take your arms above your head! Be sure to maintain your technique.


Number 8: Bridge on chair
Targeting: Gluteal muscles, Hamstring muscles, abdominal muscles, thoracic mobility and core stability.
Hold: 3 seconds at the top of the bridge
Set: 2 sets of 6 reps
(1 rep= lifting the pelvis up, holding for 3 seconds, lowering pelvis back to the floor)

Step 1.


With your ribs relaxed down towards the floor beneath you and your belly button drawn towards your spine, place your legs onto a chair.

Step 2.


Slowly push your hips at to the ceiling, making sure to keep your legs parallel. It helps sometimes to think you are holding a ball between your knees and can’t let it drop!

And ALWAYS remember to stay well hydrated throughout any exercise or study sessions!

Thank you to physiotherapist Louise Drysdale for helping put together this exercise regime! Be sure to get in contact with Lou for all of your body maintenance, injury prevention and treatment and even Pilates information and advice!




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