A Dead-Simple Stretch for People Who Sit All Day

This move can reset your aching pelvis. Here's how to deploy it.

A group of men stretching on the ground. The frog pose is an ideal yoga pose and stretch for people who sit all day.
Remember: "Your best position is your next position." Maybe make that position the frog pose.
Richard Schoenberg/Corbis via Getty

It’s no longer revelatory to point out that we’re all sitting around all day. Over the last decade, literature on the topic has proliferated and given rise to an ergonomic chair industry worth over $10 billion annually. There are all manner of seats, desks and posture correctors out there intended to help you sit better. The industry all but assumes that the situation is hopeless — that you will continue sitting and screen-staring at the same rate — and they’re basically correct. The modern workplace all but mandates sitting.

I’m not here to say you shouldn’t trick out your workstation with products that might help. Anything that reduces the “rounding” effects of rampant sitting — which messes with the neck, back and spine — is worth trying.

But keep in mind that with simple targeted movements, you can help the cause all on your own (and for free). As a biomechanics expert Dr. Mark Cucuzzella says, “Your best position is your next position.” Make sure to get up at least once an hour, which increase your stand hours rate, and learn to embrace fidgeting. (Forget what your kindergarten teacher taught you — fidgeting is good for you.)

Once the workday is done, on top of working out or going on digestive strolls after dinner, I really recommend plugging in precise poses that will ease tension around your posterior chain. One of my favorites? The frog pose.

What Is the Frog Pose?

Formally referred to as Mandukasana in yoga, the pose’s more memorable nickname is a reference to its peculiar formation. From above, it sort of resembles an amphibian splayed out on a lily pad.

Whatever it looks like, it’s not a position many of us are in too often — and unsurprisingly, that makes it a fitting antidote for sedentary days. Sitting shortens, but the frog pose lengthens: It stretches back muscles, opens the hips and increases flexibility in the groin area. It also requires a degree of core strength, so if you turn to it frequently, you’ll bolster your midsection, too.

As a writer-runner, I might be the perfect candidate for frogging (not a technical term, but we’re rolling with it). I have days where I run eight miles and sit for eight hours; if I don’t give my pelvic floor some TLC, I’ll really tighten up, which increases my risk of injury and reduces my mobility. Not good.

Another fringe benefit of the frog pose? It has been linked to improved digestion, as it may “massage” internal organs along the digestive tract. If you frequently suffer from bloating, this couldn’t hurt.

How to Perform the Frog Pose

If you’re more of a visual learner, I recommend this video from Alo Yoga, which demonstrates the move in just 27 seconds. Turn to this move with regularity, and you’ll give your spine and pelvis an extra fighting chance in the sedentary era. Find our step-by-step guide to the pose below:

  • Start on all fours: Get on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips.
  • Widen your knees: Slowly widen your knees as far apart as they can comfortably go. The wider your knees, the deeper the stretch. (Note: If you have a history of knee injuries, don’t overdo it here.)
  • Turn your feet out: Point your toes outward, with the inside edges of your feet touching the floor. Your ankles should be aligned with your knees.
  • Lower to your forearms: If possible, lower down to your forearms. Keeping your back flat, push your hips back and down towards your heels. (Careful here, it’s a serious stretch.) If you feel comfortable, stretch your arms forward with your palms on the ground to deepen the stretch.
  • Hold the pose: Hold this position for 30 seconds. Breathe deeply and steadily. Over time, try to work up to three minutes for a single session.
  • Release: To come out of the pose, slowly bring your knees together and shift back to a kneeling position or onto all fours.

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