Best Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting

Dean PohlmanBlogs, From Dean, Workouts, Lifestyle & Wellness4 Comments

Best Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting - Photo Credit Dennis Burnett Photography 2018

Did you make sure to stretch the last time you traveled?

Traveling is a great way to maintain balance in your life, destress, and boost creativity and overall happiness. Traveling also usually means sitting for an extended period of time in a car or on a plane. This routine includes 5 postures and is designed to efficiently counter the negative effects of sitting in just 10-12 minutes. These stretches can also be incorporated into your day on a regular basis to counter sitting at a desk or on a couch.

When we sit our hip flexors are inactive and in a shorted position, our glutes are inactive, our shoulders and spine round, and our chest tightens. These postures are effective at countering sitting because they work to put your body in the opposite position and engage muscle groups that are dormant while you sit.

This routine is beginner-friendly and beneficial for men new to yoga as well as guys interested in intermediate to advanced level yoga for men.

Recommended Usage

Do this routine

Don’t this routine

  • While waiting at your gate
  • After a plane ride
  • Before a long car ride
  • After a long car ride
  • Before work or during your lunch break
  • Shortly after work (not right before bed)
  • Before a workout
  • Right before bed

Watch and follow along for the 5 most effective stretches to counter sitting. (with beginner and intermediate modifications)

Here are the postured featured in the video

1. High Lunge with a Back Bend

High Lunge with a Back Bend - Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting

Duration:

  • Hold for 45-90 seconds on one leg, switch legs.
  • Repeat 1 times on each leg if desired.

Target Areas

  • Hip flexors
  • Chest
  • Spine

Technique Notes

  • Engage your core to avoid arching your lower back (if you feel pain in your lower back, engage your core to bring your back into a neutral position)
  • Focus on lengthening the back of your neck. Think about pulling your head away from your shoulders and your chin towards your throat.

2. Pyramid Twist

Pyramid Twist - Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting

Duration:

  • Hold for 45-60 seconds on one leg, switch legs.
  • Repeat 1 times on each leg if desired.

Target Areas

  • Hamstrings
  • Thoracic spine (upper-back)

Technique Notes

  • Use a block or foam roller to maintain proper form (a flat back with hips facing straight forward)
  • Place your hand on your hip to ensure you are not twisting and opening your hips with this movement.
  • Keep your core actively engaged.

3. Pigeon

Pigeon - Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting

Duration:

  • Hold for 60-120 seconds on one leg, switch legs.
  • Repeat 1 time on each leg if desired.

Target Areas

  • Hip flexors/Psoas muscle
  • Lower back
  • Spine

Technique Notes

  • Focus on getting your inner thigh to face up while in Pigeon.
  • If you are unable to keep proper form, place a pillow or a block under your hip.
  • Add a twist by bringing your elbow in front of your leg and twisting your body with your palms together.

Knee pain in Pigeon?

Try Figure Four stretch on the floor or against the wall

4. Seated V or Triangle

Seated V Stretch or Triangle Pose - Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting

Duration:

  • Hold for 60-90 seconds on one leg, switch legs.
  • Repeat 1 times on each leg if desired.

Target Areas

  • Inner thighs
  • Core
  • Technique Notes

    • Less flexible? Bend your knees in Seated V so you are able keep your chest lifted and upright.

    5. Couch Stretch

    Couch Stretch - Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting

    Duration:

    • Hold for 60-90 seconds on one leg, switch legs.
    • Repeat 1 times on each leg if desired.

    Target Areas

    • Hip flexors
    • Quads

    Technique Notes

    • Use yoga blocks or other props to support yourself in this stretch and to gradually increase the intensity level.
    • Avoid arching your back
    • For a more intense stretch, lift your arms overhead and pull your sternum towards the wall (while maintaining proper form in your back and core)

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    4 Comments on “Best Stretching Routine to Counter Sitting”

    1. Hello, I need help with bringing my knee to closer to my chest from downward dog position into a lunge.
      Do you have videos that can help with that?

      1. Yup – stand one on foot, and lift the other knee as high as possible while keeping your standing leg straight. You need to strengthen your hip flexors and improve their functional range of motion.

    2. Nice ideas, but a bit like fashion catwalks – need bringing down to everyday level to be practically useful, IMO. (NO way am I am going to be carrying in my hand luggage – let alone flourishing in a public airport! – a foam roller or block!). And where I work at present, I go up to the (semi-abandoned) third floor and use some semi-private space to stretch, about 5 minutes every hour. Even that attracts attention, and comments. Though no takers.

      1. Hi Spiralx – You can put your hand on your ankle. You could also use a wall, a chair, or a table. Pretty much anything works in lieu of a foam roller or block.

        As for people giving you attention for being healthy… what do you care more about – that they see you stretching, or that you’re being healthy?

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