If you’re a desk worker, then everyday your job is assaulting both your hip mobility and functionality, like my man Wanderlei Silva used to do to the poor opponents who got caught in his fury.
Your hip mobility is impacted for obvious reasons – you’re stuck in a small range of motion for most of your waking hours so the muscles shorten and you lose the ranges you’re not using, which is every range outside of hip flexion to about 90° and some external rotation.
Your hip functionality is impacted because of your developed mobility limitations (I develop more on the difference between flexibility and mobility in this article) and because it will degenerate neural pathways to all of the muscles you don’t use.
If you hit the gym, you might think you’re out of the woods, but if all you’re doing is training squats, deadlifts, and lunges (or worse: leg extensions, leg curls and all other seated machines) – you’re not using many different muscles and ranges, so these remain undeveloped and an imbalance can be built.
I’m not going to dive into muscle imbalances here, but what I will do is provide some simple moves that you can do WHEN YOU’RE SITTING, to help prevent some of this degeneration.
I suggest consciously scheduling these 4 moves everyday for at least the next week, at which point you’ll have memorized them and you’ll then do them whenever you’ve got a long day at the desk on autopilot.
Here are all 4 in video form as well as slick animated GIF with bullet points:
4 Hip Mobility Moves to Do When Sitting
Sitting Move #1: 1-Leg Slow Egg Beaters [Hip Rotation]
- Lift one foot off the ground with a bit of hip flexion (ensure you stay tall)
- Make big circles with your foot, starting with INTERNAL HIP ROTATION + knee extension
- When circling back, go into EXTERNAL HIP ROTATION + knee flexion
- Do 10 reps per leg
Sitting Move #2: Seated Dead Bug [Hip Flexor + Core Activation]
- Lift one foot off the ground with pure hip flexion
- Place your opposite hand on the elevated thigh
- Drive your thigh against your hand and resist the force
- Hold for 5 sec, then switch
- Do 5 reps per leg
Sitting Move #3: Skaters [Hip Abduction/Adduction]
- You may need to place your hands on a desk for this one
- Sit right on the edge and starting with ankle dorsiflexion (pull toe up), abduct/extend your hip like you’re skating
- At the end of the stride, plantarflex (point your toe)
- Return your foot and repeat with the same side
- Do 10 reps per leg
- NOTE: the dorsi/plantarflexion pattern I recommend helps abductor activation and is ideal skating technique
Sitting Move #4: Perfect Tiny Range Squats [FMP Training]
- While these sound like something named to get kids excited, they’ll ensure your glutes don’t die
- Lean forward slightly without excessive lumbar extension
- Squeeze your glutes and maintaining torso angle and good posture, lift your butt just off the chair about an inch
- Slowly lower back down to the chair without letting your glutes go (they’ll stay contracted the whole set) or changing torso angle
- Do 10 reps
These moves will help slow your hip muscles deteriorating into ground beef, but they’re not going to reverse years of neglect – for that you need more powerful treatment.
And if you’re battling from low back, knee or ankle/foot pain or issues, you need to address the hips as dysfunction here will always create issues elsewhere.
To that end, I recommend you give the Hip Flexibility Solution a look-see – it’s been used by thousands of peeps to rebuild their hips from the joint capsule out via bite-sized routines that won’t take over your life.