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Desk Stretches Part 4 – Lower Back and Glutes

Lower back and butt pains are common and usually nothing to worry about. However one needs to take positive actions to shift aches and pains otherwise they can become established. This Blog to Balance describes stretches and exercises for desk based workers with lower back and buttock (glutes) pain to help transform your symptoms.

We were born to walk and squat, not sit on chairs.

We humans developed a unique pelvis over other mammals on our Great Ape lineage. Our hips are wrapped in three strong ligament bands that loosen when we flex and tighten when we extend. This clever anatomical engineering of ligaments allows us to stand upright without muscular effort and also walk and run with efficient grace. Our seated position would be the squat – folded compactly together our knees are close to our chest and our butts hang by our ankles. These two positions, walking and squatting, put our lower back and buttocks through full range of movement which is crucial for healthy muscles and joints.
We humans have taken full advantage of our upright nature yet these days we have decided to mostly sit. And boy we sit for a long time, in fact most of the day, every day. If its not the office chair, its the car or the sofa! This means our hips are not getting the full range of movement and our healthy balance is lost.

Research has shown that activation is a positive part of a healthy back. So below I have outlined some activation and stretching to help the lower back and glutes.


Three muscle activation exercises to get lower back and buttock muscles working. This activity draws in blood supply to these static muscles and hence supplies nutrients to help build health.

How to perform a squat and stand exercise1) Sumo Squats
Stand with your feet apart in a duck footed stance. Drop into a squat and place your hands between your feet. Let your hands drive the movement upwards while you activate your glute and leg muscles to raise into a standing posture with your hand above your head.

Repeat x10.


How to activate hip muscles after sitting2) Open the gate
Stand behind your chair and use the high back to support you during this exercise. Here you can activate your hips  and lower back by opening and closing the gate exercise. Rotate the hip in a big circle forwards and then backwards.

Repeat in each direction x5 and perform on both sides.

How to perform a opposite arm and leg raise exercise3) Opposite arm and leg raises
Best performed on all fours but can be done standing. This activation exercise works your paraspinal muscle and the glute on the opposite side. It is fantastic for working to rectify imbalance by activating your long muscle chains. Look to push out through the heel of the raising leg. Don’t let that back sag, keep your alignment as straight as possible

Repeat on alternate sides x10.



How to perform seated Cat Cow back stretch1) Seated Cat/Cow x5to10 times, 3 to 5 sec hold.
How to perform a seated pelvic tilt2) Pelvic tilt rock x5 to 10
How to perform a seated knee hug stretch3) Knee hug x30sec to 1 min each side
4) Piriformis stretch (figure of four) x30sec to 1 min each side
5) QL stretch (Quadratus Lumborum, or side stretch) x 30sec to 1 min each side
6) Seated rotation x30sec to 1 min each side


No doubt lower back pain is complex. The chances are that the circumstances leading to your back pain are totally unique. Many a book has been written on the subject and I spend a good proportion of my career talking about lower back pain. My advice is not to buy something off the shelf but go and get a professional diagnosis for your unique body from your local Osteopath.

For more posts in the Desk Stretches series click below:

Desk Stretches Part 1: Head, Neck and Shoulders

Desk Stretches Part 2: Wrist and Arm

Desk Stretches Part 3: Upper Back

Desk Stretches Part5: Legs and Calves

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