If you sit at a desk all day, your lower body probably isn’t in the greatest shape. Dead butt syndrome, a.k.a. gluteal amnesia, is a real problem—and if that’s the case, your hip flexors are super tight.
That’s a problem trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., has had first-hand experience trying to solve. The SoulCycle Master Instructor spends a ton of time on the stationary bike teaching classes, then takes a load off like the rest of us when she’s not active, so her hips can feel just as tight as someone who logged an 8-hour day in an office chair.
To ramp up mobility, loosen up stiff hips, and get the glutes firing, Atkins turns to a simple two move routine before leg day workouts. To perform the series, you’ll need mini bands for your legs and a mat to lay on.
“The band’s added resistance turns the exercise into an active or ‘resistive stretch’ by keeping the muscles activated throughout the entire movement,” says Atkins. “It’s a great mobility trick and a smart way to prep your body for a heavy leg or cardio day.”
- Lay on your back and loop the band around the arches of your feet.
- Raise your knees above your hips.
- Slowly extend one leg, stretching the band, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement on the other leg. Focus on the bent knee—you should feel an active stretch throughout your hip flexors.
- Wrap the band around your thighs, just above the knees.
- Lay on your side with your legs bent at the knees.
- Open up your knees and resist the band’s pull, then slowly return to the starting position.
- Flip over to the other side to work from the other direction.
These exercises might not seem like they’re getting much done at the outset, but resist the urge to overdo it. Don’t just loop the biggest band around your legs to start. “Try using lighter resistance bands, really focusing on the movement and being hyperaware of the muscles that are firing,” advises Atkins.
Add leg extensions and clam shells to your warm up before leg workouts or try the routine after a long day in your seat for rounds of 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.
By Brett Williams