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Vilgefortz

Can one become flexible while having to sit for long hours?

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Can one overcome the downfalls of sitting for 6 hours a day or am i doomed to having tight hips for life? I'm doing loaded stretching twice a week for pancake but feel like i'm trying to skate uphill. I tried using the piriformis and hip flexor in the daily five but it seems to me you can't overcome 6 hours of laminating your buttocks with 2 minutes. I was thinking i should stretch those super tight muscles, 2 minutes for every hour but i'm afraid i'll overdo it and make matters worse. If anyone has suggestions how to integrate piriformis, hamstring and hip flexor stretching while also not quitting my job, i'm all ears. Ty! Fwiw i can take breaks from sitting once every 40 minutes more or less if that's any help.

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Hey Vilgefortz,

This has been discussed elsewhere on the forums several times in the past, so you may try doing a search.

But let me ask you this: Do you think doing nothing will be better than doing something? I doubt that you do, so what does it matter whether you can "overcome" (i.e. completely negate) the effects of prolonged sitting? Even if you're skating uphill, surely that's better than rolling downhill. But I'm sure you're already aware of that. You probably want to know what you can do to best use your time/effort. That is where the search function will help!

But let me also give you something else to think about...

21 hours ago, Vilgefortz said:

I was thinking i should stretch those super tight muscles, 2 minutes for every hour but i'm afraid i'll overdo it and make matters worse.

Is sitting not stretching? Are you not lengthening any muscles in the sitting position? Surely you are! So you're stretching for 6 hours! So do you think several 2-minute bouts will lead to overdoing it? This is the workout mentality - work must be done in intense, focused sessions - and it *can* be useful, but it should not be your only option. Light stretching can (and should) be done as often as you like - you will not overdo it. If you can take breaks every 40 minutes, then do it! It can only help. Stand up, walk around, stretch everything out. It's your more intense "sessions" that can be overdone, so limit those to a few times per week in most cases.

Once again, there are fantastic tips spread throughout the forum, so spend some time searching and reading. (Maybe do it while standing or squatting ;))

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Good point about stretching for 6 hours but it's veeeeery light stretching and i can't realistically counterbalance that by staying in the opposite position for 6 hours, i've got strength to gain, skills to improve and food to eat. :D

And i see what you mean that doing little is better than doing nothing, but ever since i started doing loaded stretching (and it has been some time now), i'm stiff like a plank 5 days later only to gain little by little after the soreness goes away. It happens without exception, super stiff, super sore and for my hamstrings i dont even use weight and still get massive soreness. So if those little gains don't even happen anymore if i sit on my ass while recovering... total tragedy.

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I'm going to shamelessly use myself as an example here :D.. I found this forum sometime last year and started stretching only then.. starting point was that I could not even comfortably touch my toes.. fast forward to today I've improved my flexibility in every part of my body. Check out my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dexter.goh/. I am currently still working a desk job.. I sit even longer than you do from 7am to 6pm, some training at night and more sitting afterwards watching a show or something :ph34r:. So long story short, its definitely possible to become flexible even when sitting for long hours!

I don't really stretch during office hours, but I should really start as I do enjoy doing some hip rotations and some lunges in the toilet during breaks from time to time. 

You mentioned you get super sore after your loaded stretching, and stretch again 5 days later? Do you limber around during the break in between the days? That would also be helpful.

 

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Thanks for sharing! No limbering at all. The problem is that i am so tight in my piriformis and my hamstrings that tailor pose, pancake and pike are all >90 degree angle so i have no idea what limbering would even mean if i barely hit 90 with heavy contractions. My whole plan is to get palms to floor pike and a decent angle in the pancake so i can start doing ballistic stretching for 500 reps a day, then i won't care anymore but i've been trying to get palms to the floor for a year now...

I've noticed on you instagram you do nordic curls. Just to get an idea, after 2 weeks of training them, i could do 2 full nordic curls with arrow straight body. I never trained hamstrings in my life before, i just played dota 8 hours a day for the past 7 years, so it must be some stupid genes. I'm 6 ft 1

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Hello Vilgefortz,

What loaded stretches are you doing exactly?  In my opinion, since "tailor pose, pancake and pike are all >90 degree angle" you should not be doing any loaded stretching.  I teach ST and I only introduce loaded stretching to advanced students in my gymnastics stretching class (where the prerequisite is being <<90 degrees in pike/pancake/tailor pose).

Focus on the fundamentals.  Stick to elephant walks, wide elephant walks, bent leg cossack squats, calves, piriformis, and hip flexor.  Be patient and diligent and you'll eventually see progress.  Daily limbering and twice a week more intense sessions are sufficient for now.

  

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Believe me mate I feel your pain about sitting and tight hips. As the proud owner of the tightest piriformis in the galaxy Kit and Olivia had to endure my whinge laden rant a few years ago during an Adelaide workshop (really sorry about that guys). The only unqualified suggestion I can give is cheat.... then cheat some more. For example my pigeon pose is done on the fattest bolster money can buy. My calf touches the front of the bolster the knee beds at 90 degrees and hamstring inner thigh runs along the length of the bolster.  I then mount up on the bolster itself and start contacting and stretching and micro adjusting away.  Am I achieving a correct pigeon pose? Hell no!!!! My hips are square but they are miles off the ground. But by the end of my huffing and swearing my hips feel better and I'm moving a bit better. As Kit once said. 'Are you moving better or feeling different to how it felt or moved before?' if the answer to that is yes then your stretching has worked. Don't fall into the trap that I did. Don't confuse a shape and a direction.  A flawless pancake or split or squat is a direction us less flexible ones head towards not a shape you have to make. If YOUR pancake is a little high or the legs aren't straight so what? Does YOUR pancake make you feel better after all that sitting? If the answer is yes... job done. If the answer is no cheat.

Rant concluded... good luck mate... cheat and be kind to yourself

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On 10/19/2017 at 7:05 PM, Dexter said:

So long story short, its definitely possible to become flexible even when sitting for long hours!

Of course it is. I spend many hours a day sitting myself, even if I do intersperse it with standing and on-the-floor sitting. 

And @Matt: I recall our initial conversations vividly, and no problem, at all. And using a high bolster is simply a better way of doing that pose if you are 1) tight in the hip flexors (lifting the other hip reduces the need for rear-leg extension) and 2) tight in piriformis. The bolster simply realigns the body more efficiently WRT gravity, and makes it MUCH easier.

On 10/29/2017 at 4:20 PM, Matt said:

Don't confuse a shape and a direction.

Perfectly put and with less words that I usually do! One is an idealised goal; the other indicated the direction of a process. Lovely.

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