Home » Fitness News & Advice » 5 Stretches You Can do In Your Office Chair

5 Stretches You Can do In Your Office Chair

Sitting all day and staring at a computer screen can lead to tight muscles from head to toe. It isn’t always possible to break out into a full-on yoga session during the day, but you can perform a variety of effective stretches from the comfort of your office chair.

For best results, perform each stretch at least once a day or twice if you have time. Hold the stretches for 20- to 30-seconds, don’t bounce the stretch, and only work within a range of motion where you feel the stretch, but not pain…

1. Upper Traps Stretch

Reaching forward for your keyboard and mouse, letting tightness creep up into your shoulders, or letting your head fall forwards to read your computer screen can cause tightness in your upper traps. Your upper traps are the muscles that elevate your shoulders; when tight, then can refer pain into the neck and contain some stubborn trigger points.

To stretch them out, sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Take your right hand and grip onto the bottom of your chair. Tilt your head to your left shoulder and gently use your left hand to pull your ears closer to your shoulder. You should feel the tension releasing in your right trap. Switch hands and do the left side. This should not be a stretched that is performed aggressively, so be mindful of the amount of force you use when gripping the chair or pulling on your head.

shoulder stretch

2. Hip Flexors Stretch

Tight hip flexors are a common culprit in low back disorders, hip pain, and knee pain. Sitting all day encourages the muscles to shorten, which is why maintaining flexibility and getting up out of sitting position frequently is important. To stretch the hip flexors, start by standing in front of your chair, facing away from it. Place one foot on the back of the chair and bend the knee of the supporting leg to allow you to sink into the stretch.

You can intensify or modify the stretch by squeezing the glutes on the stretched side. Another way to modify the stretch is to add the same arm as the side that is stretched; reach over your head and bending slightly towards your opposite hip. Follow this stretch by simply squeezing the glutes while standing and it will further encourage the hip flexors to relax.

Stretching at Desk

3. Hamstrings Stretch

You don’t need to perform a downward dog to the get the benefits of a hamstring stretch. Office chairs are great for stretching the hamstrings as they allow you to free rotate your foot inwards or outwards to change the focus of the stretch from more medial to more lateral. Stand up and face your chair and then put one foot on the chair. Make sure to keep your toes flexed (pointing to the ceiling).

Slowly lean forward by tilting at your hips. One of the most common errors with this stretch is rounding the back, which then reduces the stretch of the hamstrings. Allow the chair to roll slightly towards and away from your midline, as well as rotating your foot inwards or outwards, to change the target area for the stretch. Hamstrings are easy to pull if you overdo it, so remember to relax into the stretch.

Hamstring Stretch at Desk

4. Glutes Stretch

The glutes actually refer to three distinct muscles, the gluteus minimus, gluteus maximus, and gluteus medius. As a group they are responsible for extending and externally rotating the hip. They are also prone to becoming weak and tight from extended sitting and disuse. For this stretch you don’t even need to get up at all! Start by sitting in your chair with both feet flat on the floor. Lift one foot up and rest it just above the knee on your opposite thigh. Making sure not to round your back, hinge at the hips and lean forward until you feel a stretch.

To make it more difficult, twist your torso slightly towards your ankle of the stretched side. Follow this stretch by adding in some standing glute squeezes to help maintain their firing and prevent muscle wasting. Adding a couple stationary lunges will also help keep the hip flexors relaxed while reminding the glutes to fire.

Glutes Stretch at Desk

5. Back Stretch

Of all the stretches you might do, stretching out the muscles in your back tends to be one that feels great. Start by standing approximately a foot from your chair. Hinging forward at the hips, grip the armrests and rock your weight into your heels. Swivel your chair slightly to the right and left to stretch out each side. This stretch will be felt more through your mid back and the lats as you swivel from side to side.

While you’re there, drop down onto your knees, keeping your hands on the arm rests. Round your upper back and rock your weight onto your heels until you feel a stretch in your low back. In this modified version of child’s pose, breathe deeply in your belly (not your chest) to help the muscles relax. Leave this pose slowly, not abruptly, to prevent tweaking a lengthened muscle.

Lower Back Pain from Chair


More on ActiveBeat
  • Important Facts About Depression in Women
    Depression is a mental illness that affects millions of Americans – in fact, Healthline.com says that in any given year, about 16-million adults in the country have had at least...
    Fitness News & Advice
  • Facts for Women with Varicose Veins
    Varicose veins. You know the ones that appear in snakes of raised, swollen blood vessels under the skin, are unfairly more common in women than men.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • Working Out The Best Exercises for Men Over 50
    While some people may think a man's best fitness years are in their 20's and 30's, that's not always true.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • What to Expect Following a Hysterectomy
    A hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus and possibly the cervix, lymph nodes, and part of the vagina) is, no doubt, a major surgery.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • Important Facts on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
    Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal condition that is actually quite common. It causes the overproduction of androgens (or male hormones) in women which then causes havoc in...
    Fitness News & Advice
  • Best Foods for Women's Health
    Some people (myself included) tend to put more emphasis on the amount of exercise we get in a day rather than what we're eating.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 8 Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss
    There are few things more frustrating than having to ask someone to repeat what they just said because you couldn’t quite make it out.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • Fitting in Lunchtime Fitness
    It's worth setting aside an hour a day for your health!  Incorporating a workout into your lunch hour really doesn't take much time, but it does take planning. Luckily, Fix.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 7 Facts on Mental Health Awareness for Mental Health Week
    This week, May 2 to 6, 2016, marks Mental Health Week in Canada. We use this week as a means to open the discussion surrounding mental health in our country and around the world.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 6 Tips to Help Blast the Sunday "Back to Work" Blues
    Are Sundays days of leisure for you or days of dread? It turns out that many individuals experience the same back-to-work blues associated with dreading the arrival of Monday.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 6 Steps for Healthier Decision Making
    All of us have struggled at one time or another with making decisions. Whether simple, such as deciding between chicken or fish for dinner or more complex such as whether or not to...
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 6 Healthy Reasons to Have More Plants in Your Home
    Most people agree that plants look nice, but there are more reasons than just aesthetics to have more of them in your home.
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 7 Ways for Introverts to Shine in Life and Work
    Introverts. They're not always the loudest in the room, and that may be for good reason. It's not that introverts are all shy—that's a common misconception—it's that introverts...
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 6 Ways Fidgeting Can Benefit Health
    Hi my name is Anna and I'm a fidgeter. I don't mean to be rude, but if you ever see me in an editorial meeting or even watching a movie with my hubby, I'm constantly typically...
    Fitness News & Advice
  • 7 Health Benefits of Taking Transit to Work
    While it may not be realistic in all cases, many people are in a position to ditch their personal vehicle and hop on a bus or subway to get to their jobs (or anywhere, really).
    Fitness News & Advice