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How Sitting ON YOUR ASS is Killing Your Results in the Gym

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How Sitting ON YOUR ASS is Killing Your Results in the Gym

by Dejan Antic | Follow Dejan on Twitter

Sitting Health EffectsWhat I’m about to tell you, might probably make you want to throw your chairs out of the window.

But don’t do that, you might hurt someone.

Ready? Now listen to this …

More and more scientific research suggests, that excessive sitting is very bad for your health. It’s so bad, that there’s a special term used to describe this situation – Death by Chair.

Yes, even plain old sitting is considered lethal nowadays.

And as if that weren’t enough, excessive sitting is also killing your results in the gym.

I know it sounds strange, but let me explain.

Your Chair Is The Enemy

While you’re being seated, you’re unknowingly destroying your back, hip and leg muscles. Your hip flexors and hamstrings become overly tight, while your glute muscles become excessively stretched.

Your glutes are the strongest hip extensor in the body, so you want them doing all the work they can. But if your glutes are excessively stretched, then they won’t be able to contract for maximum power.

Bad news if your goal is to squat and deadlift heavy weights – absolutely critical for putting on slabs of muscle.

If you’re deadlifting and your glute muscles aren’t working as they should, then all of that extra load is taken on by other muscles involved in the lift (lower back, hamstrings, quads, etc.), thus making them more susceptible to injury.

It’s no surprise really, why hamstring injuries are so common. They’re already messed up from all that excessive sitting to begin with, no wonder they buckle under the increased load.

Pretty scary how something as innocent as sitting, has such a disastrous effect on your health and gym progress.

So now the question is, how can you re-activate your sleeping muscles in order to become stronger and avoid injury?

Fortunately for you, re-activating your sleeping muscles is easy and it can be done in less than 10 minutes. Simply include the following 5 mobility exercises into your warm up routine and watch your deadlift and squat increase noticeably.

Exercise #1 – Bent Knee Twist

This mobility exercise will help you dissociate the hips from the lumbar spine. Great movement to loosen up the lower back.

Begin by lying flat on your back, with your knees bent and the feet flat on the floor. With the feet and knees together, allow your knees to fall from side to side, getting a stretch in your lower back and upper hips.

Work in a range of motion that’s comfortable for you. Don’t exaggerate with the range of motion.

Make sure you keep your shoulders down during the exercise.

Perform 1 set, 8 reps on each side.

Exercise #2 – Glute Bridges

Start with your head, back and butt flat on the floor. Keep your legs bent at a ninety degree angle.

Squeeze your butt cheeks and go as high as your butt cheeks will take you. Finish off the movement by actively contracting your glutes, in order to posteriorly tilt your pelvis into lockout – don’t hyper-extend your spine as most people do.

Think about trying to raise one vertebrae at the time of the floor. This will help keep your low back and hamstrings from coming into play, since this is an exercise just for your glutes.

On the negative part of the motion, lower under control, just above the floor without touching and then repeat as necessary.

Remember, this exercise is all about getting the right muscles to work. It’s not about improving your range of motion or performing an allotted number of repetitions.

Perform 12 repetitions and make sure you do them right!

Exercise #3 – Kneeling Superman

An excellent exercise for improving strength and motor control in your glute muscles and for developing the stabilizing muscles in the back.

For the starting position, get down on your hands and knees, with your knees underneath your hips and your hands underneath your shoulders.

Before starting, tighten up your abdominal muscles. Squeeze one glute and press the heel back, until the leg is straight. Simultaneously, reach forward with the opposite arm and then return to the starting position.

Focus on contracting your glute muscles and keeping your torso level.

Repeat for 8 reps and then perform the opposite side.

Exercise #4 – Anterior-Posterior Leg Swings

This warm-up routine is a classic. It has been used as a warm-up routine for decades.

Initially you’d want to hold on to something, while doing this exercise. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it free standing.

From a standing position, you’re going to flex and extend your thigh rhythmically, as if you were kicking a football. Make sure the motion occurs predominantly at the hips and not the lumbar spine.

Maintain good posture during the exercise – keep your chest out and shoulders back, with the eyes looking straight ahead.

Keeps your knees almost completely locked. If you bend them excessively, your hamstrings will never lenghten sufficiently to make this a productive drill.

Avoid rounding at the upper back and shoulders and make sure, that the swing is coming from your hips.

Perform 12 swings for each leg.

Exercise #5 – High Knee Walk to Spider-Man with Hip Lift and Overhead Reach (Credit: Eric Cressey)

This is my all time favourite mobility exercise.

You start by lounging out your left foot, to about a thirty degree angle to your body, keeping your elbows inside your instep. In the bottom position, your hips should be low, the chest up tall and your chin tucked in.

You then lift your hips up in order to stretch the hamstring – hold the stretch for a second or two –  and then get back again into the low position.

When you’re back in the low position, reach up with your right arm and hold it up for a second or two. Be sure to follow the tip of the middle finger with your eyes, when your reach up.

This way you’re increasing your thoracic spine mobility and you also get some shoulder external rotation.

Get back into the bottom position, stand up and then perform the exercise again, with the opposite side of the body.

It’s kind of hard to describe this exercise with words, so here’s a video of Eric performing it correctly (you can skip the high knee).

Perform 6 to 8 reps for each side.

I’ve been doing these exercises for the past three months and I must say, that the results have been nothing but spectacular.

In the short period of three months, I managed to add 70 lbs to my deadlift and 35 pounds to my squat.

Try them out and let me know, how they’ve worked out for you in the comments section. I’m sure they will work awesome for you too!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Debra Salamone

Video #4 missing



Thanks for the tip Debra, I’ll fix this ASAP :)



great exercises for someone like me who spend hours on a chair.



You’re welcome Ramo.


Alakazam Lahore

So, how do I prevent this “Death by Chair” problem, when my job is in the office, which is 8+ hours of sitting in front of computer??



Set a timer to ring every 45 minutes. Stand up from the chair and do 20 air squats and make sure to practice yoga at least 3x per week in order to stave off the negative effects of the sitting.


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