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Stretch Routine for the Desk Worker

Stretch Routine for the Desk Worker

If you are spending a majority of your day seated, or have just been more sedentary than usual lately, then this one is for you; (Unless you already are following a professionally prescribed routine.) It is important for us to allocate some time in our busy schedules to stretch out our muscles, this will help to decrease muscle tension, aches and pains caused by poor body mechanics throughout the day, it may help improve your overall posture and your joint range of motion.

During a break at work or while you’re watching Netflix at the end of the day, 5 minutes is all you need!

1 . The Hip Flexor stretch 

This will help release tension from your hips that build up from being in that seated position, it can take some pressure off your lower back and may relieve some lower back pain and discomfort.

  • Picture 1: Kneel down onto right knee
  • Picture 2: Tilt the bottom of your pelvis forward (creating a posterior pelvic tilt)
  • Picture 3: Lean into the left knee creating a deep lunge position, this will stretch the right psoas major and minor muscles and Iliacus muscle (hip flexors)
  • Hold position for 30 seconds then switch sides
  • You may increase the stretch by raising the arm of the same side up by your head and leaning your body in the opposite direction of the side you’re stretching

2 . The Glutes stretch

Increasing mobility in your hips can help reduce lower back pain also. You want to avoid tight glutes so that they are ready to take on their stabilising role when necessary, rather then your lower back taking over the load.

  • Lay flat on your back on a comfortable surface
  • Bring your feet flat on the floor
  • Take right ankle over left knee
  • Grasp behind the left knee and pull towards your chest
  • This will stretch the right side
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat on other side

3 . The Lower back stretch

The lower back is very common and can be due to many factors including tight hips, weakened core, sitting for long periods, poor body mechanics and the list goes on. Incorporating a nice lumbar stretch may help relieve symptoms.

  • Lay flat on your back on a comfortable surface
  • Pull right knee to your chest
  • Some may feel this is enough in the lower back (image 1)
  • For more stretch (image 2);
  • Rotate at the spine by guiding your right knee across your body towards the floor on the opposite side, keeping that left leg straight on the floor
  • You may look in the opposite direction that you are rotated with arms outstretched to increase the range
  • Note: it may help to rest your knee on a bolster if it can’t quite reach the floor yet

4 . The Pecs stretch

You may find yourself hunching at your desk throughout the day, this can cause tightness through your pecs resulting in the shoulders rotating inward. This can trigger a lot of upper back as those muscles are lengthened and weaken in that position. So open the chest up with this pec stretch at the end of your day to help.

  • With your elbow at a 90degree angle, place your forearm against a door frame
  • Step the opposite side foot forward and lean into that pec to open it up
  • Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side
  • Note: you can try different angles up and down the door frame to target the different pectoral muscle fibres.

5 . The Neck and Upper Trap stretch

Neck and upper trap tension can be caused by overuse of your muscles, poor posture, times of high stress or a combination of different factors. Poor posture at your desk throughout the day can create imbalances in our muscles triggering aches and pains, sometimes even headaches. Symptoms can be exacerbated when our head and neck fall forward while looking at our computer screen as our neck muscles try to hold approximately 5kgs of your head upright on our shoulders.

  • While in a seated position; Hold your right arm taught grasping at the base of your chair (alternatively sitting on your hand)
  • With the left hand tilt your head (ear to shoulder) to the left side of the body
  • You may then lean your whole body to that left side to feel that tension through that whole arm, along your upper trap and up your neck 
  • Hold position for 30 seconds then repeat on opposite side

If you are experiencing pain the above stretches do not relieve, contact the staff at Mount Lawley Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Massage for help.

Happy stretching!

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