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Best Sitting Hip Stretches, Its Benefits, and Who Needs Sitting Hip Stretches?

These days, with the increasing tech life, most people end up spending the whole day at their desks. Tight hips are a common complaint nowadays that makes hip stretches a must-do activity for most people. Sitting hip stretches are easy-to-perform exercises and can prove to be valuable not only for those working at the desk but also for those who wish to keep hip problems at bay.

Studies have shown that work involving prolonged sitting has increased joint and muscle problems mainly including neck, shoulder, and lower back pain, also involving the thighs and the knees.1 In a sitting position the spine deviates from a normal shape causing extra pressure on the spine thus exerting more pressure on the hips.

What are the Best Sitting Hip Stretches?

Sitting need not be a punishment, with sitting hip stretches you make sitting interesting and healthy too. Here are some of the best sitting hip stretches that can help you stay healthy with flexible and strong hip muscles.

These exercises can be performed while sitting on a chair, while at work, or home. To begin with, performing simple seated warm-up moves and basic stretches of the hips and thighs can support the core sitting hip stretches.

  • Sitting Marches – Sit upright and place your legs in the front on the floor. March with your feet in the sitting position just as you would do in standing.

  • Straight Leg Raises – In the same position raise one leg by extending the knee, trying to make it parallel to the floor, hold and then release. Repeat with the other leg.

  • Hip Opening Stretch – Sit upright in a chair with the knees bent and facing in the front. Further, straighten your back and spread your legs apart from the hips such that the knees point outwards. With greater flexibility, you may also be able to move the thighs towards the end of the chair. The lower legs can be taken further on the outer side, slightly towards the back or you can rest them on the floor of chair support to increase the stretch.

Some of the most effective sitting hip stretches include the following:

1. Seated Cycling – Sit upright with your legs in the front. Raise them one by one in a cyclical manner such that you are pedaling or riding a bicycle. You can also use a handy pedal mini bike for the same.

2. Hip Abduction – Sit in the same position. Place your hands on your opposite shoulders to maintain an erect posture and move the lower body during the exercise. Maintaining the same position, with the feet placed on the floor, just try to move the knees towards the outer side. This will give a gentle stretch to the hips. Make sure the movements are controlled and the knees do not move too fast or give a jerk when moving back to their original position. This exercise can also be done with the help of a resistance band for those who have better fitness levels.

3. Hip Adduction – Maintain the same position as the previous exercise. Place the knees near each other Place a towel roll or a small exercise ball in between both the thighs. By tightening the hips and both the thighs, apply gentle pressure towards the inner side and try to press the ball or towel. Hold the press and then release.

4. Glute Stretch – Sit upright on a chair with legs facing the front. Bend one leg in the knee and place its foot on the thigh of the other leg. Maintain this position for a few seconds as you try to keep the bent leg parallel to the ground, making a figure of four. Feel the stretch in the glutes, hip, and outer thigh. Once you feel comfortable, you can gently place your hand on the bent knee and apply gentle pressure to feel more stretched. Further, you can bend a little in the front and feel more stretch in the glute muscles. Do it carefully and if you have lower back pain or hip problems do it only if it does not cause any discomfort.

5. Forward Bend Hamstring Stretch – Sit in the same position on a chair. Extend one leg such that the knee is straight and the heel touches the floor. Feel the stretch in the back of the thighs or the hamstring muscles. Gently raise the foot so that the toes point towards the sky this will cause an increased stretch in the hamstrings. Gently bend towards the extended leg and try to touch the toes. Repeat the same with the other leg.

These are some of the simple yet effective sitting hip stretches. These should be done carefully, based on your fitness levels and if there is any discomfort, it is better to discontinue them. For any medical concerns, it is advisable to seek a medical opinion.

What are the Benefits of Sitting Hip Stretches?

Hip muscles are not only those around the hips but also the hip flexors, which are present in the front at the upper thigh. The hip flexors help you bend your hip when walking, running, or during exercises. Muscles at the back of the thigh or the hamstrings group also support the hip muscles. These groups of muscles mainly get affected by prolonged sitting, overuse in exercises or sports, and also in joint and muscle disorders.

Sitting hip stretches can help improve hip movement with better muscle strength and stretchability. This helps the muscles stay supple and have better stretch tolerance, which can ultimately cause better movement and prevent joint pain. While this is particularly helpful for seniors and people suffering from back, hip, or knee pain, it is also necessary for those taking a preventive approach.

Stretches can help improve the range of motion of a joint like the knee or hip and a study that involved 8 weeks of static stretching showed increased muscle extensibility. Experts suggest that a static stretch for 10 to 30 seconds is good to increase flexibility.2

For general fitness, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends static stretching for most individuals, which should be preceded by an active warm-up, at least 2 to 3 days per week. Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds for most people while in older individuals holding a stretch for 30 to 60 seconds can offer greater benefit toward flexibility.3

Studies have shown that active as well as passive stretches can improve the flexibility of tight hip flexor muscles in patients with musculoskeletal problems.4

Who Needs Sitting Hip Stretches?

Sitting for long keeps your hip muscles in a shortened position for long, making it difficult to move the hip joint the way it should when you walk. It may not bother initially but later on, it can cause hip pain, lack of adequate muscle strength, and even imbalance while walking. Sitting on the floor, or sitting in chairs with less leg space, can be difficult. You may also feel discomfort while doing your workout and certain exercises, which can increase the risk of injury.

Those involved in regular exercises may feel exerted or muscles may get exhausted, hence focusing on particular hip stretches become necessary. Also, those with joint problems may have weak muscles and any instability in the knee or ankle joint can make things difficult for hip muscles. Prolonged sitting or inappropriate posture can also lead to sciatic nerve pain and hip tightness. Tight hip muscles can cause an anterior pelvic tilt resulting in back pain and increasing the risk of intervertebral disc problems.

Thus, any condition that causes tight hips needs to be addressed and hip stretches are the best solutions for that. Sitting hip stretches can be useful to relieve the muscle tension in the lower back and hips and keep the hip muscles flexible and strong. These can be easily done at your desk during a quick break.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 16, 2022

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