Be A Stronger Writer! Gym Workouts for Writers

We writers are a special breed. We place unique demands on our brains and bodies and yet there is so little discussion around how we can improve our bodies specifically to improve our work practices. So today, we’re talking functional fitness for writers.

What is Functional Fitness?

Functional fitness a popular approach to exercise. It means developing strength and fitness in a way that supports our day to day living – standing up all day at work, lifting kids, hauling groceries, everything. Yes, even writing.

writer's exercises

Here’s my story about how I tailored my workout to my writing…

I got into working out around the same time I started writing for a living. I came into professional writing out of academia, which was also a lifestyle that involved a lot of sitting, not just for writing, but for classes, conferences, viewings and the like. Turning to writing, I was still sitting most of the day, with terrible posture and bad ergonomics.

My body was a product of my lifestyle – not a revelation by any standards. I was overweight and hunched and sore and unhealthy (I had bad eating habits back then too, but that’s a different story).  As I started to work out, which was at first from a desire to change the way I looked, I noticed a few surprising things.

Sure, I lost weight, increased muscle tone and was starting to like the way my body looked, but I was also stating to see differences in the way my body felt and the way it responded to my lifestyle. I no longer had as much neck pain or shoulder strain during work hours. My focus was clearer and I had more ideas, clarity and drive than ever before.

Because I strengthened my muscles, my body was better able to support itself. I could stand and sit better, write for longer with less physical distraction. Because I was exercising, I was healthier in general and a healthy body is a healthy, better functioning mind. A better functioning mind is a better writer. Ergo, exercise is good for my writing.

Functional Fitness For Writers

As I leaned more about exercise and functional fitness, I decided to tailor my workout to my lifestyle and what I needed from my body that would help me live the life I wanted.

Here are the areas and exercises I focused on when I set out to build a stronger body for writing, strengthening areas specifically helpful for sitting down (and standing up) to write.

(The links take you to a reputable and reliable exercise site. While this site is a great resource for learning about exercise, please check with your health professionals to make sure you’re choosing the right exercises for your body, and doing them correctly.)

Lower Back

Deadlifts for a Strong Lower Back

Back, Shoulders, Sides

Lat Rows/Dumbell Rows for a Strong Back, Shoulders and Laterals

Shoulder Fly  and Shoulder Press for Strong Shoulders and Neck


Plank for Strong Core

Hands and Arms

Hand Exercises to ease the stresses of typing and hand writing. This is so important, I dedicated a whole post to the topic.

Overall Health

Running for improved Circulation, Energy and Clarity of Mind. I learned to run long distance following the Couch to 5K running program. With C25K I went from overweight sloth to regularly running 10kms (6.2 miles).

I wrote this post about my parallel journeys in learning to write and learning to run.

Healthy body, healthy, more efficient mind. Better writer. That's all there is to it.Click To Tweet

Share your thoughts…..

Are you a writer who works out? Do you tailor your exercise to your writing habits?

Maybe you’ve got a story to share about how exercise helps you be a better writer?


Kate Krake
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Kate Krake

Kate Krake writes speculative fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of the urban fantasy series Guessing Tales. Kate blogs about popular culture, health, wellness and creative writing. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, daughter and two beagles. Find out more on
Kate Krake
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2 Responses to “Be A Stronger Writer! Gym Workouts for Writers

  • I’m a writer who works out! But I definitely need a new plan, as mine hasn’t changed in ages, and I’ve got some sore spots to avoid. I usually get to the gym to lift weights and do some cardio twice a week, but I also have a Fitbit, so I try to get in some walking every day so that I’m not TOTALLY sedentary on my non-gym days.

    • Kate Krake
      1 year ago

      Hey Laura,
      It’s pretty easy to get stuck in a workout routine rut – I’m guilty of it myself! My cardio has slipped lately and I can really feel the difference (not in a good way). Great that you keep moving around on your non-gym days. Fitbits and similar gizmos are a clever reminder.
      Do you find your exercise regime impacts your writing efforts?

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