A 15-Minute Routine to Combat the Effects of Sitting at a Desk Chair

by Shane Barnard, JD
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A 15-Minute Routine to Combat the Effects of Sitting at a Desk Chair

If you’re glued to a desk chair for most of your workday, chances are you’ve got tightness in your hips, hamstrings and back. Here is a really easy routine involving simple stretches that can open up those parts of your body and improve your mobility.

Start with a standing dynamic warmup with squats, reverse lunges, Frankensteins, lateral lunges, figure 4s and leg swings front and back. If you are crunched for time, doing this warmup alone can be a great way to loosen up your hips, hamstrings and back. When you have more time, you can head to the floor to do the routine shared below.

Here are the moves you’ll do:

  • Inchworm to plank to child’s pose
  • Reverse your inchworm and roll back up to standing
  • Kneeling lunge to hip flexor stretch to runner’s lunge to hamstring stretch
  • Plank to down dog to calf stretches (pedaling the feet), then roll up to standing

Repeat on second side.

  • Alternate knee tucks to double knee tuck to torso rotations
  • Happy baby to figure 4 stretch to pigeon stretch
  • Straight-leg hamstring stretch on your back, then roll up into seated hamstring stretch
  • Seated torso rotation


  • Theresa Fisher

    Why do you assume everyone knows the names of these moves? Frankensteins really?

    • Shane Barnard


      Was meant to be funny as a “monster walk”

  • Faither

    Was doing an inch worm but found it affected my Frankenstien and I wasn’t a happy baby.

    • Shane Barnard

      That is funny 🙂

  • Chris

    I normally really enjoy the articles on MFP but found this one a bit disappointing. I was excited by the title as I work in front of a computer all day and would love some new ideas of how to stretch more. The routine itself is awesome, but I thought this was going to be ideas of how to stretch at work and break up the sitting. But to actually think that people in skirts and suits are going to be able to do this routine in an office environment is ludicrous. Even in the example video Shane is wearing yoga gear. So is this routine for during or after work? The article suggests during, but surely not?
    And I agree with Faither and Fisher, we’re not all yogi’s so don’t assume we know what all the ‘moves’ are. Maybe explain them a bit better or give them a more self explanatory name.

    • Shane Barnard

      chris, please see my comments below. I am not a yogi at all so these names are not yogi specific but I hope that once you see them, they will make sense with the movement. Thanks for your feedback.

  • I agree with everyone’s comments. The title and picture to the article is misleading. I was hoping to find an article that would explain exercise stretch moves that can be performed at a desk; in work-business casual attire. Instead, this is more of a warm up and stretch routine meant for the home or gym. No problem with that per se, because stretching in general is very important. Just please market your articles correctly and not just try to guide readers to an article using false titles.

  • boviedo

    I dont believe article or title is misleading…. Just like any exercise, u hv to get off ur butt to do this!

    • Eliot

      And therefore is not anymore helpful to anyone who does have a desk job and doesn’t know all the cutesy terms for get off your but.

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  • spatty25

    I agree with everyone’s comments. I was hoping to find an article that would explain exercise stretch moves that can be performed at a desk. The title and picture to the article is misleading.

  • Shane Barnard

    Hey team! Shane here and I AGREE with your comments as well. Although all of these exercises do open the hips to combat sitting in a chair all day, the title is misleading. I had hoped for “a stretching routine for non-yogis”. In response to the names (frankensteins etc) those are just funny names that once you see the movement will hopefully make sense. Never intended to confuse anyone. I hope you enjoy nonetheless.