Sitting Stretches for the Back

by Jen Weir Google

About Jen Weir

Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.



If you're sitting at desk all day, it can result in tense and tired muscles, especially in your back. Your back muscles work constantly to maintain proper posture and often get strained as you slouch over your desk. Stretching these muscles throughout the day can help keep tension at bay, as well as provide relaxation. A number of back stretching exercises can even be performed while sitting at your desk.

Seated Forward Fold

This is a very relaxing exercise that lengthens the muscles that run the length of your back. Sit in your chair and adjust it so that you are no longer facing your desk. With your legs at least hip-width apart, take a deep breath in. As you exhale, slowly bend your waist to take your chest toward your thighs. Allow your arms to hang relaxed above your head so that your hands reach toward the floor. Continue down as far as you can or until you feel a stretch through your back. Hold this down-most position for 30 seconds, then slowly sit back up.

Seated Knee-to-Chest Stretch

This seated back stretch targets the muscles of your lower back and hip. Sit in your chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Clasp your hands around your right knee, inhaling deeply. Exhale and gently pull your knee toward your chest until you feel a mild stretch in your lower back. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat the movement with your left leg.

Seated Side Reach

The seated side reach stretches the lateral muscles of your back. Sit tall in your chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Position your right arm straight at your side with your fingers pointing toward the floor. Breathe in deeply and, as you exhale, reach toward the ceiling with your left hand. Reach as far as possible until you feel a stretch in the left side of your back. Hold here for 30 seconds, then lower your left arm and repeat the stretch with your right hand.

Seated Twist Stretch

The seated twist stretches the small muscles that run along your spine, while also mobilizing your vertebra. Sit tall in your chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale deeply. Then, as you exhale, slowly twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the outer side of your right knee. Use your hand to gently twist your torso as far as you comfortably can to the right. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then repeat for the other side. Complete this stretch two to three times to each side.

Photo Credits:

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or