How to Stretch Your Hips if You Have a Desk Job

May 14, 2019

Most people work around eight hours a day while sitting at a desk. This can put a lot of long-term stress throughout multiple regions of the body and can also create tight muscles through the hip musculature.
Three of these muscle groups that get very restricted and tight after sitting for long durations are the hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteal muscles. If these muscles become tight, they can contribute to pain or discomfort through the hips, inner thigh and even in the low back.
Stretching these muscle groups can be simple, effective and efficient during the work day. They can also give your body much needed movement after you have been sitting at your desk for a long period of time.
Here are three stretches to target the gluteal, hamstring and hip flexor muscle groups at your work:

  1. Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
    For this stretch, start by standing at your desk and put one leg in front of the other. Slightly bend the knee of the leg in front while moving your hips forward over the front leg. While this motion is happening, take both arms and reach over your head while looking at the ceiling. This should cause a stretch to be felt through the upper thigh of the leg that is behind you. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds for both legs.
  1. Seated Hamstring Stretch
    To begin this stretch, scoot yourself to the front of your chair. Straighten one of your legs while the other leg stays bent to help stabilize you. Bend your back and reach down to touch the toes of the foot that is extended. This should cause you to feel a stretch through the back of your upper leg that is extended. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds for both legs.
  1. Seated Figure Four Stretch
    Start this stretch by sitting upright in your chair at the desk. Cross one of your legs to where the ankle of that leg is resting on top of the knee of the leg that is still in contact with the ground. Take both hands and rest them on the knee of the leg that is crossed. Then gently bend forward. You should feel a stretch through the back of the hip of the leg that is crossed. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

The stretches described above should not cause pain, but should help stretch tight muscles through the hip region. These stretches can help keep your hips from becoming tight and can also help with preventing hip and low back pain that can be caused from sitting for a long duration. If you already have hip or low back pain and these stretches are not enough to help with decreasing it while you sit at your desk at work, there may be more of an underlying issue at hand and you may benefit from seeing a physical therapist to help with addressing the issue.
Do you have lower back or hip pain from long days of sitting at work? Find a Foothills Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy clinic near you to get your move back and start feeling your best at work!

Scott Sassaman

by Scott Sassaman
DPT | Arrowhead Location

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