Years ago, “work” meant physical labor, almost exclusively. People were farmers, miners, welders – in other words, their daily work involved constant activity.
But that definition of work is a long-forgotten dream.
Now, if you’re lucky, your desk is far enough away from the bathroom that you have to walk at least a few steps every day.
The result of sitting at a desk all day is we end up having tightness and often pain in certain parts of our bodies – our hips, our shoulders, and in the low back.
Low back tightness is one of the most common complaints we hear. The lower back absorbs a tremendous amount of tension, as it bears the weight of your body sitting in a chair all day. In the short term, low back tightness can be nagging and uncomfortable. In the long term, it could lead to more severe physical ailments.
In this video, I’ll show you four restorative movements that can help alleviate low back stiffness and tension:
A couple of important points to keep in mind before starting the exercises:
- Perform these exercises with pulsing movements in and out of the stretch for 30 seconds, then hold in a static stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Do 2 sets like this for every hour or two you are sitting down.
- The pulsing movements serve to improve circulation and decrease pain at the target muscles, and the static hold of a stretch can effect a change in tight muscles that can restrict mobility.
- Push your chair away from your desk so you have enough space to lean your body forward over legs, touching your hands to the ground.
- As you exhale, round your back, feeling a good stretch in your lower back muscles.
- As you inhale, flatten your back to relax your lower back muscles.
- Continue this breathing pattern for about 30 seconds, then hold in the rounded position for another 30 seconds.
- Starting in the same position with your body leaned over your legs, place your elbows on your knees.
- As you breathe out, round your back, and as you inhale, arch your back by pushing through your elbows.
- Continue this for 30 seconds, then hold in the arched position for another 30 seconds before relaxing.
- Bring one elbow across the opposite knee, and your other hand on your hip.
- Push your elbow and your hand into the side you are turned towards to turn your body further towards the back.
- Continue this pulsation for about 15 seconds, then hold statically for about 15 seconds.
- Switch to the opposite side.
- Lift your butt off the chair, starting in a squatting position, with your elbows resting on your knees.
- Using your elbows, straighten your knees as much as you can, trying to bring your hips directly above your knees and ankles.
- Continue by bending and straightening your knees slowly for about 30 seconds, then hold in the straightened position for another 30 seconds.
As with any tightness issues, the best way to prevent any long-term issues is to stop the tension from compounding in the first place. These exercises are a great way to address low back tightness in an easy, portable way. Try these during a short break at your desk, and stop back pain in its tracks!
When people have low back tightness, they usually have issues with shoulder and hip tightness as well. So once you’ve solved your low back problems by practicing these stretches diligently, be sure to get your copy of our free flexibility guide.
If you find these stretches helpful, you might like to get our flexibility guide (it’s free).