If you spend all day sitting, these hip stretches are for you. Simply use the chair you’re sitting in right now to get deep into those hip muscles!
You’ve probably noticed hip pain on the days that you don’t stand up much. That’s because prolonged sitting shortens the hip flexors, throwing the pelvis out of alignment.
These tightness-causing muscles are called the iliacus and psoas – together, they’re known as the iliopsoas. They attach in the front of your lower spine and pelvis, run through your abdominals, and attach to your thigh bone. These muscles are responsible for flexing your hips, bringing your thigh in towards your core. They also help stabilize your pelvis and lower back, keeping them in proper alignment. However, if you spend most of your time sitting, then the iliopsoas, leg muscles, and lower back will all tighten up.
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This desk-friendly stretching routine will help keep your muscles limber to reduce hip pain. Since you’re most likely sitting in a chair at work anyway, use it to your advantage! Chair stretches are great because you’re using a stable structure that will help you feel safe and supported, so you can dive deeper into your stretches.
Use these nine easy chair stretches to open and stretch all the muscles that surround the hips. You can do the whole routine in one 10-minute block, or you can do a few at a time for a quick midday boost. Either way, I recommend doing these stretches whenever you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time and need a feel-good stretch to release built up tension.
9 Chair Stretches to Release Hip Pain
Side Bend Goddess | 5 breaths per side
This hip stretch also opens up the side body, chest, thighs, and shoulders.
- Sit towards the front of the chair with your legs wide, knees and toes pointed out.
- Place your right hand on your right thigh and lift the left arm toward the ceiling.
- On an inhale, reach straight up. Then exhale to side bend over to the right.
- Hold for five breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Figure Four | 5 breaths
This chair stretch makes it easy to open up the hips and stretch the glutes.
- Sit tall with your feet firmly on the ground.
- Place your right ankle on your left thigh.
- Flex the right foot and rest one hand on your heel and the other on your thigh.
- Stay here, or for more of a stretch, bend over your top leg.
- Breathe here for 5 breaths, then switch sides.
Supported Side Bend Lunge | 5 breaths per side
Sitting shortens the hip flexors. This stretch helps lengthen the hips and quads while the chair supports you comfortably.
- Sit tall at the edge of your chair with wide legs.
- Turn your hips toward your right leg. Spin your left heel up toward the sky and straighten your left leg.
- Place your right hand on your right thigh and reach your left hand up towards the ceiling. Inhale to lengthen the spine, then exhale to side bend over to the right.
- Stay here for five breaths, then switch.
Wide Downward-Facing Dog | 5 breaths
The lower back and hamstrings get tight from sitting as well. This stretch relieves tightness, elongates the lower back, and stretches the shoulders and chest.
- Stand facing the chair with a wide stance.
- Bend your knees and place your hands on the seat of the chair. Step your feet back so your arms are straight. Your hips should stay high.
- Straighten your legs as much as you can while keeping a nice long spine.
- Stay here for five slow breaths.
Thigh Stretch | 5 breaths per side
Tight quads can imbalance the body, especially if you’re sitting all day. Stretching the thighs helps open up those muscles to relieve tightness in the hips and lower back.
- Stand behind the chair with both hands gripping the back of the chair.
- Bend your right leg and grab for your right foot with your right hand.
- Stand tall and press the foot into the hand. Keep both knees as close as possible and hold the stretch for five breaths.
- Slowly release out of the stretch and switch sides.
Seated Pigeon Twist | 5 breaths per side
This deep hip stretch also helps relieve a stiff lower back.
- Rest your right ankle on your left thigh like you did in the Figure Four pose.
- Hold your right knee with both hands and slowly draw the knee up towards you a bit.
- Inhale to lengthen the spine, and on the exhale, twist to the right. Hold for five breaths, then slowly release on an inhale.
- Repeat on the left side.
Eagle Arch | 5 breaths per side
The abdominals, chest, and shoulders can round over after a day of hunching at your desk. This stretch helps to counteract that bad posture.
- Sit at the front of your chair with your back long. Rest both hands on the chair beside you.
- Cross your right leg over your left, connecting the outer ankle to the outside of the shin. If you can, wrap the foot around the shin.
- Press down into your hands to straighten your arms. Inhale to lift your chest up and gently arch your upper back, looking up towards the ceiling. Engage your abs.
- Hold this pose for five breaths, then unwind and switch sides.
Note: If the back arch is too, simply sit and engage the abs to help lengthen the spine long.
Low Lunge | 5 breaths per side
This is a great stretch to create length in both legs. Its stretches the quads, hamstrings, and hips, all at the same time.
- Stand in front of the chair, feet hip-width distance apart.
- Bend the knees and place your hands on the chair.
- Step your right foot back, coming onto the ball of the back foot. Straighten the back leg fully while keeping the front knee bent. Keep your spine long.
- Hold for five breaths, focusing on a straight back leg to dive deep into the hip flexor. Switch sides.
Supported Pyramid | 5 breaths per side
This pose stretches the entire back of the legs, from the calves to the hamstrings, to relieve hip and lower back pain.
- Stand facing the chair with your legs hip-width distance apart. Bend your knees and place your hands on the chair.
- Step one leg back a short distance and lengthen the spine. Press down into the hands and straighten the arms.
- On an inhale, lengthen both legs. Then exhale to bend the elbows and bow forward.
- Hold for five breaths, then slowly come to the starting position. Switch sides.
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