Unfortunately, many jobs these days involve a tremendous amount of sitting. Folks sit while they drive to work, sit all day at a desk, and then sit some more while they drive home...or to the gym.
But all that sitting definitely comes at a cost, causing pain and tightness in certain areas of your body.
In this article, we’re going to show you 4 essential exercises to help counteract the negative effects for people who sit all day.
EXERCISE #1 - Kneeling hip flexor stretch.
One of the best things to do to balance out lots of sitting is stretching your hips. Because of the position you are in when seated, your hip flexors can get tight so it is important to stretch them out when you can. A great exercise for this is the kneeling hip stretch.
- Begin in a kneeling lunge position with one knee on the floor and the other leg bent 90 degrees.
- Shift your body weight slightly forward while maintaining an upright torso as you feel the stretch in your hip flexors.
- Hold for the required time before switching legs.
• Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds per side.
• Perform 2-3 sets of stretching at the end of a workout.
• You can also use these stretches daily before or after long periods of sitting.
EXERCISE #2 - Upper body rows
Rows are an excellent exercise for working the muscles in our back. They’re also a great exercise to help us balance out long periods of typing or driving, where poor posture can easily become our default position.
Rows come in many variations, and they’re honestly all good. Listed below are 3 variations to get you started:
• Bent over barbell row
• TRX bodyweight row
• Single-arm dumbbell row
Don’t overthink the variations here. The important thing is that you’re including some type of rowing exercise in your workout routine.
To incorporate them into your training, you don't have to perform rows every day just add one or two of the variations into your upper body workouts a few times a week and you will start seeing improvements in this area
• Choose 1-2 rowing exercises per workout
• Perform 2-3 sets of each rowing exercise
• 6-12 reps per set seems to be the sweet spot here
EXERCISE #3 - Resistance band pull-apart
The resistance band pull-apart is another solid upper body exercise for strengthening the upper back and shoulders. It’s also a great way to open up our shoulders and again counteract poor posture from long periods of sitting/typing.
The other bonus is you don't need to be in a gym to do these, all you need is a band. You can perform these any time throughout your day and they are great to add to your warmups.
- Stand upright feet planted on the ground shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arms out directly in front of your chest with both hands firmly holding the resistance band (overhand grip).
- Using the muscles in your shoulders and upper back, pull the resistance band ends outwards and backward until your arms are in line with your shoulders (in a T position)
- Return to the start position with control to complete one rep.
• Band pull-aparts work great with higher reps
• Shoot for 10-20 reps per set
• 2 sets per workout should be plenty
EXERCISE #4 - Glute bridges
Long periods of sitting mean that your glute muscles can be really neglected. That is why it is important to make sure when you can, you fire up the muscles of your butt. Glute bridges are a great exercise to do exactly that.
Just like rows, glute bridges also come in many different variations. Again, they’re all good, but here are 3 variations to get you started:
• Standard glute bridge
• Single leg glute bridge
• Elevated glute bridge - prop feet up on a small bench or box
Hip bridges are awesome for firing up our butt muscles, counterbalancing sitting, and can even be used to warm up for big lifts such as the deadlift or squat. Add them to your lower body sessions as a warm-up or finisher.
- Lie faceup on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, with arms palm down at your sides.
- Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
- Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
• Propping your feet up on a bench will make the bridge a lot harder
• Hip bridges work great with higher reps. Aim for 15-30 reps per set
• Single leg bridges are tough. Aim for 5-10 reps per set
• Shoot for 2-3 sets of bridging per workout
If you spend lots of time sitting then you’ll definitely want to consider adding in these 4 exercises to your workout routine. Follow the directions for each exercise and with these small changes you will definitely see improvements with pain and muscle tightness.