How To Keep Fit In The Library

Want to know how to obtain a first and a six pack at the same time? RUBY CONGJIANG WANG gives us her tips.

With the dreaded E-word looming just around the corner this term, there will be more of us sulkily revising in the college library than ever. Worried your gluteus maximus is sagging under the strain of revision? Fear not, here’s my guide on how to keep fit in the library.


Try to stand up and walk around at least once every thirty minutes, whether it is to get a book or to chat up the fittie you’ve been eyeing across bookshelves. Simply walking and stretching your legs will get freshly oxygenated blood pumping around your body will allow your brain to absorb more information when you sit back down to do more work/procrastinate and check Facebook updates. It’s a win-win situation.


Here, demonstrated by my two glamorous assistants Shaneil and Tim, are some exercises to get you started. Snazzy sweatbands are, of course, optional.

1. The Prayer Position: Raise your paper-cut arms to the ceiling, stretching as high up as possible, as if you are asking the heavens for a miracle in passing your exams. This may unfortunately be what some of you are already doing…

2. The Frustration-Kick: Place hands either side of your chair, and kick your legs forwards one at a time. It may help if you imagine you are booting that annoying person in your supervision who just seems to know everything.

3. The Lady-Killer: Oh yes. Pump up those guns by doing chair push-ups. It’s as simple as that. This works even better when accompanied by winking saucily at all females walking past and usage of the infamous and fail-proof Joey phrase “How you doin’…”.

4. The Hula-Hoop: Pretend you are Hula-Hooping. Except you’re sitting on a chair. And you don’t actually have a Hula-Hoop. Trust me – it’s not as stupid as it sounds! Twisting your back and spine will allow your whole body to loosen up after extended periods of sitting stiffly upright.

5. Superman/The Plank: A favourite in Yoga. Stretch out your arms and legs whilst lying face-down on your chair. Attention – this position entails a rather sophisticated balancing act, and may therefore be dangerous for those with vertigo or dizziness from over-cramming. You have been warned.


Why not step it up even further? Make use of a library’s abundant supply of props. Grab the nearest Grey’s Anatomy, Collin’s French Dictionary or ridiculous, hefty brick of a book. With each one weighing at least a tonne, a book on each arm is even better than using the heaviest weights you own.

Bookshelves are also extremely useful for all manner of things, including press-ups, climbing… Other suggestions include sit-ups on the tables, star jumps in the computer room, even squats in the Reference-Only section!


The key word here is “silence”. You are of course in a library, and unless you want that crusty old librarian breathing fire down your neck and/or chucking you out, the best thing to do is to keep mum. Stay quiet, and you can do anything you want. Anything.

– Playground games are good break in between Statistics: Hushed hide and seek. Muffled cops and robbers.

– Try a Silent disco. Pop in some iPod earphones, dance and as long as you keep your mouth shut and resist the urge to warble along you’ll be out of trouble. Even sitting at your desk and doing the YMCA will allow you to stretch your arms and back.

Head-banging is cautioned against, however – loss of brain cells may not be the best accompaniment to revision.

  • Speaking of fit…

    Hi Tab, any danger of a new fit college any time soon? Or, seeing as it's exam term, I'll let you off if you do a 'fit library.'

  • Ivy

    I laughed so loud for all these wonderful suggestions. I am going to the library now and try out some of the tips myself. Great!

  • Lukas Wang

    Ruby Congjiang Wang is my sister!

    Well done, Ruby! Such a gem!

  • brian jacks

    chair pushups!!!!!!!!!!

    any exercise guru knows they are tricep dips!!

  • well balanced

    Is this for all those sad acts unable to leave the library this term!

    • don't you mean

      By well-balanced you mean English first year right?

      Or land ec.

      • Don't forget

        First year historians

  • shaneil:

    how you doin' gurl

  • Dominic Macklin

    You can rubby my wang any day

  • Prem

    Looking FITTT

  • Brem

    Lookin' FITTTTTTTT

  • Pirate

    I know a good way to work out in the library – meet me in the stacks.

  • T. Urtle

    I like the turtle with the bulging bicep in the background.

  • library-girl

    "crusty old librarian breathing fire" – have you ever met a librarian that matches this stereotype? I would have said they were mostly very helpful and not at all crusty or old. Unfortunately they have to enforce some rules because there's a lack of consideration for others (eating smelly food, listening to music too loud, talking on mobiles, etc).

    • Generic reply

      I can't thumbs down your comment twice so I thought I'd reply instead.

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