Combat the Pain of Sitting at a Desk All. Day. Long. With Simple Hip-Opening Stretches

Photo: Getty Images/ VeraOsco
How many of you have been here before? You manage to squeeze in that 6 a.m. pre-work fitness class (major props BTW) and you're feeling great and ready to take on the world. Then, you go to work, park it in front of the computer all day, and come 5 p.m., you really start to feel the burn. #Deskjoblife can seriously fire things up in our hip flexors and our butts, but unless you can convince your boss to buy you a standing desk, the solution should actually start at the gym.

Stephen Pasterino, a New York City trainer and founder of P.volve who works with Victoria's Secret Angels like Romee Strijd and nine-to-fivers alike, says that sitting down all day causes your hips to get super tight. When you book that high-intensity class (like spin, for instance), your muscles get even tighter, and so to counteract this, you should be dedicating a decent amount of time to stretching ahead of each workout (and TBH whenever else you get the chance). Because skipping your pre-workout stretch or a proper warmup can lead to a common problem called quad dominance.

"Quad dominance is when your quadriceps (the front of your thighs) are more developed and stronger than your glutes and hamstrings so they like to take over when performing certain moves," says Tiffani Robbins, head trainer at Bari Studio and instructor at Obe Fitness. And that's a big problem, Pasterino adds, because your gluteus maximus is the largest muscle group in the body, and if it's inactive from a functional movement perspective, you're off balance. "The glutes are responsible for propelling all motion, and that’s why they're dead-center in your body, right behind you," he explains. "So when you’re doing a squat or a deadlift or a lunge, if you can’t get your glutes to pick up the weight or carry you forward, then your quads do it."

According to the experts this causes a host of problems ranging from knee problems that are the result of wearing out the patella; to knee, hip, and lower back pain; to poor posture; to your hips firing up after sitting all day. Precisely why Pasterino spends about 20 minutes at the top of each P.volve class stretching and opening the hips so that the glutes are fired up and ready to work. Here, he shares five targeted stretches to do before any workout (or after a long day of sitting) to open up your hips and fire up your glutes.

Keep reading for 5 exclusive moves from Stephen Pasterino to stretch and open up your hips.

Open pivot hip stretch

Start in a kneeling position with your front leg at 12 o' clock. Lift up and open up, out, and back, landing your foot at the 7 or 8
o'clock position. Slowly lunge into that leg and sit back to open your hip and stretch your groin.

3 o'clock push with overhead reach

Start in the kneeling position with your leg out at 90 degrees or the 3 o'clock position. Slowly push into that leg and hip while simultaneously reaching your hand up and overhead–pushing your pelvis forward. Return to original position and repeat.

Open step with side arm rotation

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your arms locked out straight out in front of you at chest height. Next, step one leg out and back, landing your foot down perpendicular to the other foot. Once that foot lands, rotate the back arm towards the 6 o' clock position to further open the front hip.

Rear step with arm overhead reach

Start in the P.sit position (P.sit is Pasterino's version of a baby squat; thrust your hips back using your glutes like you’re going to sit in a chair and don’t let your knees go forward) with one arm up and bent at 90 degrees. Step the same side leg back at 6 o' clock, and land with the leg straight and the heel up. Once the back foot lands, drive the same side arm up and overhead towards the ceiling.

Step, shift and rotate

Start in the P-sit position, with both arms locked out in front of you at chest height. Step one leg out at 90 degrees and land with the foot flat and facing straight forward.  Push over into a very shallow lunge position while simultaneously rotating your arms towards the lunging leg. By stepping the leg and rotating your arms, you are both abducting the opposite hip as well as externally rotating it.

Speaking of buzzy trainers, this one is opening a new *extra* studio in LA. And this is the one thing trainers want you to stop doing with your foam roller.

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