5 Seated Chair Exercises For Back Pain

I encourage everyone to move and exercise on a daily basis. Why am I posting seated chair exercises? Well, just to give you more options and to encourage you to still do something while you’re sitting (or in between breaks).

Moving is required to keep your joints and muscles healthy and functioning well. No questions about it. Our sedentary lifestyle contributes to most of today’s muscular dysfunctions. And I understand that people have jobs and there is really no way around it.

You have to show up and do your job. (Even though I work mostly from home, I still have to sit for hours each day to write blog posts, create plans for my programs, maintain my website…)

If you feel like you really can’t take a break in the middle of the day to move, then take control of your morning and evening. You’ll need to maintain your body and undo the damage of sitting all day.

5 Seated Chair Exercises For Back Pain

Full disclosure: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. I only mention products I personally use and recommend…and if you purchase from Amazon using my affiliate link, I get a small commission. You won’t pay more!

You won’t have to step outside your office to do these. If you’re lacking mobility, feel stiff, and you just want to do something to release tightness without the need to get out of your office, these seated chair exercises will help you achieve that.

I use this foam roller in the first exercise. But you can use a pillow or a lumbar support as well for this. Just make sure it’s firm. (I use that lumbar support in my car still. I love it!)

Seated Exercises Video Tutorial

I’ve filmed a video to show you step-by-step how to do these seated chair exercises, but if you can’t watch now, just scroll below the video. I’ve included the exercise images with instructions.

Chair Exercises For Back Pain

Thoracic Extensions

seated chair exercise for back pain

Keep your lower back stable and try to just move your upper back into extension. You can use a firm pillow, lumbar support or a foam roller to stabilize your lower back. This exercise will open up your chest, and mobilize your thoracic spine. It’s like doing the opposite of what you’re doing all day (flexing and rounding your shoulders to type, text, and drive).

Thoracic Rotations

Again, keep your lower back stable. When you’re rotating, don’t push through your limit. Stay within the range of motion. (The middle part of the movement)

90-degree Stretch

90 degree chair stretch

This is one of my favorite postural re-alignment exercises. Place your hands in front of you. You can also use the wall for this exercise. Step back so your feet are aligned right underneath your hips. You want your shoulder-hips-feet to form a 90-degree angle. However, if you can’t keep your knees straight because of hamstrings tightness, just bend your knees.

As you increase your flexibility, you’ll be able to lengthen your legs a little more each time. Focus on keeping your shoulders down and on lengthening your back to release tension.

Calves Stretch

calf stretch with chair

If you stand at work, this is a great stretch to release your calves and hamstrings. You can also use a wall.

Hip Squeezes

This is actually a strengthening exercise that’ll activate your inner core and hip muscles. Keep your back straight and shoulders back. Then, start squeezing your inner thighs in and then release. This should not trigger pain, but if it does, just take a break. It’s a good idea to start with a firm pillow or your lumbar support. I’m just using the roller because It’s what I had available making the video.

I have a few other posts on strengthening the hips. Here are the links…