Seated Knee to Chest Stretch for Tight Hips and Back – Physiotherapist recommended

Knee to Chest Stretch for Tight hips and back – Physiotherapist

Key benefits

  • Stretches the lower back, deep buttocks muscles and chest region if you bring shoulder blades towards each other while doing
  • Aids in bringing awareness to posture
  • Helps to increase mobility of hips – improves circulation through hip area
  • Stimulates lymph flow in the legs
  • Releases tension in the back. Breathing into the back stimulates relaxation and gives the upper and lower back a bit of a massage by the expansion and contraction of the ribs with the full breath
  • Lengthens spine and brings fresh blood flow to upper extremities of the body
  • Massages and stimulates internal organs providing improved blood flow and fresh oxygen
  • Avoid if suffering from knee pain
  • Lower back pain – modification is to place towel under thigh/knee
  • If you have poor mobility, please bring knee up only a few inches at first – after this move towards hands around knee
  • Not recommended if there is abdominal or lower back injury
Key Points
  • Soften down and lengthen up from the waist
  • Soften gaze
  • Breathe slowly and deeply through nose
  • Sit comfortably on front or centre of chair allowing room for movement
  • Keep back of head and lower back lined up and stacked
  • Sitting bones are rooted softly in seat
  • Feet are on a 90 degree angle to hips (knees are over ankles)
  • Exhale knee to chest. Inhale when releasing knee away from chest


  • Start in neutral sitting position – head is stacked over shoulders and shoulders are stacked over hips
  • Come to the front of the chair so that you are comfortable on your sitting bones at front of seat
  • Bring awareness to nostril breathing
  • Allow your body to lengthen from the waist up, on the inhale. You should feel this expansion happening on all inhales. Soften down into sitting bones on exhale.
  • Gaze is softened
  • Sitting at the front of your chair, couch or stool, lift the right knee on an inhale and clasp hands either around the front of the knee, underneath the thigh or not at all
  • As you exhale, draw the knee towards the chest while keeping the back upright and the trunk and head in neutral position
  • Take a deep breath here and soften into the sitting bone on the exhale. Draw the knee deeper in towards the chest on the inhale. Try to maintain a neutral position of both sitting bones aligned to each other.
  • Flex the right foot that is off the ground for added stretch
  • On an inhale release the foot towards the ground.
  • Draw the shoulders towards each other and down the back while you inhale. If you can,
  • Repeat on other side
  • Repeat 2-3x per side if time permits. If sitting for long periods try and do this exercise every one to two hours
Consider This
When sitting for long periods of time, the muscles in the lower trunk tend to shorten because they are not being used. When you stand after a long period of time, these muscles are tight and the back feels sore when lengthening into standing. By stretching the knee to the chest, you are lengthening the muscles in the lower back and creating a more mobile, flexible muscle tone.


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