5 Hip Stretches You Can Do Without Leaving Your Chair

While it's nice to take a break from your desk, you can also do hip stretches seated in your chair.
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When you work at a desk from dawn 'til dusk, you likely know the pain of tight, achy hips. And while the solution sounds simple — just get up and stretch! — sometimes, a whole workday can pass with your booty barely leaving your chair (no judgment!).

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Luckily, you don't need to lift your cheeks from the seat to get a satisfying hip stretch. "Seated stretches are a great way to help feel looser," says Lee Hanses, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments Seattle.

Plus, taking a few minutes to stretch in your seat can help calm you. "Static stretching helps downregulate your nervous system, giving the muscles a feeling of relaxation," Hanses says.

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Though ungluing your glutes from your chair and sneaking in some movement is still the best strategy to keep your hips loose and limber, these five seated hip stretches is an awesome alternative if you're strapped for time (of if mobility issues prevent you from standing).

For optimal results, perform them twice per day or whenever you're feeling especially stiff.

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5 Hip Stretches You Can Do Without Leaving Your Chair

1. Seated Figure 4

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Skill Level All Levels
Type Flexibility
  1. Start seated with a straight back and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left knee.
  3. Press your right knee down as far as it can comfortably go and begin to bend forward at the hips without arching your back.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch legs.

“This move stretches the glute muscles and improves external rotation of the hip joint,” Hanses says.

2. Seated Modified Pigeon

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Skill Level All Levels
Type Flexibility
  1. Start seated with a straight back and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your right leg completely over the left.
  3. Rotate your torso toward the right, grabbing onto the back of the chair with one or both hands for support.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch legs.

In addition to a glute stretch, this move also stretches some lower back muscles and helps improve hip internal rotation and lumbar rotation, Hanses says.

3. Seated Hip Flexor Stretch

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Skill Level All Levels
Type Flexibility
  1. Start seated with a straight back and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Scoot to the front of the chair.
  3. Drop your right knee toward the ground, coming into a half-kneeling position, and rotate your trunk to the left.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.

“This move stretches your hip flexors and quadriceps to decrease tension in the front of the hip and thigh,” Hanses says.

4. Seated Hamstring Stretch

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Skill Level All Levels
Type Flexibility
  1. Start seated with a straight back and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Scoot to the front of the chair.
  3. Extend your right leg out straight in front of you and bend at the hips, reaching toward your toes.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch legs.

Your hamstrings can get extremely tight from too much sitting. “This move stretches your hamstrings to decrease tension in the back of your legs,” Hanses says.

5. Seated Modified Butterfly

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Skill Level All Levels
Type Flexibility
  1. Start seated with a straight back and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Scoot to the front of the chair.
  3. Keep your feet together and separate your knees as wide as you can. You can use your hands to lightly press on the inside of your lower legs to widen your stretch.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

While we tend to focus our stretches on the outer hips and glute muscles, this modified butterfly decreases tension in the adductors (inner thighs), Hanses says.

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