Sam Wood’s essential stretches when working from home

person in suit stretching arms over head

Sue Hewitt

Posted May 19, 2020

Sam Wood’s simple, stress-busting stretches for those working from home.

If your office desk is now a kitchen bench, Australian fitness guru and former Bachelor star Sam Wood has some simple stretches and exercises than can be done in under 30 seconds to relieve stress and ward off stiffness.

“Sitting all day can cause aches and pains which is why most workplaces will provide you with specific chairs and desks and help you get set up,” says Sam, who runs popular exercise and healthy eating programs through his website.

“With so many of us working from home, I am often asked how to prevent injury and strain when your office is now your kitchen.”

He says you still need the best ergonomic set-up possible. For starters, your feet should be flat on the floor, your knees and hips at 90 degrees and your computer screen positioned so that the top of your screen is at eye level. You should also make sure you get up at least once every hour for a couple of minutes to go for a walk, clear your head and have a little stretch.  

Sam’s seven 30-second stretches and exercises for healthy home workers


Chest stretch

Interlock your hands behind your back, keeping your arms straight while pulling your hands down towards the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to feel the stretch through your chest.

Gentle side neck stretches

You can do this one sitting at your desk. In a seated position, place your left hand on your head and gently tilt your neck towards your left shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Torso stretches

Sitting in your chair, keep your back and head straight and interlock your fingers. Keep your shoulders relaxed and reach up over your head with your palms towards the roof. Take a couple of deep breaths and then lean back into the stretch to open up your chest. Hold this for a few seconds before returning to normal. You can then repeat this stretch by leaning to one side to stretch out that side of your body. Repeat on the other side to even it out.

man stretching legs and feet outside on wooden deck

Stretching helps increase productivity by increasing blood flow and alertness.

Shoulder shrugs

When we’re hunched over a computer, we often don’t realise we are shrugging and creating tension in our shoulders. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears, hold for a few seconds and slowly release. Repeat this a few times to feel the tension subside as your shoulders release.

Upper-back rolling with a foam roller

“Foam rolling is a great way to get into the areas that are tight, when I’ve spent a lot of time at my desk,” says Sam. “I find foam rolling my upper back to be really beneficial.” Begin by lying on your back with the foam roller underneath your upper back. Your knees should be bent, feet flat on the floor and arms down by your sides. Lift yourself up slightly so that you’re in a slight bridge position and roll up and down to get into your lower neck and mid back. 

Spiky ball massage

“When the foam roller doesn’t quite do the job or can’t get into the right spots, this is when I use my spiky ball,” says Sam. With your spiky ball held up between your back or neck and the wall, move around to massage the ball into your tight back and neck muscles. 

Get up and get moving

Every hour or so make sure you get up, move around and have a stretch to release some tension in your muscles and promote blood flow and circulation. You can also use this time to re-assess your posture and make sure you haven’t fallen into any bad seating habits while getting stuck into your work.