Leg tension from too much sitting?

Pilates Lennox Head

Written by Bridgid Pearse

May 12, 2020

If all this home isolation has you sitting more than usual you may be feeling tight and not connected to your leg strength. This article outlines how to release tension in the legs that can cause lower back pain, sciatica and hip discomfort and how to engage the muscles in the back of the legs.

Working from home has its advantages like reducing your time commuting but it also can mean many more hours sitting at a desk without the usual walking between meetings. Instead we go from one zoom meeting to the next often without getting up.

Tightness in the legs can manifest as lower back pain, hip discomfort, sciatica pain or pins and needles in your feet. To reduce tension in your legs a combination of getting the blood moving and stretching can bring fast and effective relief.


To start with lets get the back of the legs working with some bridging. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms out to the side. Take an inhale to prepare, as you exhale push down into your feet. See if you can feel the back of your legs working. Begin to squeeze your bottom to lift your hips (pelvis) off the ground.

Engage gluteals and hamstrings
Bridge to engage back of legs and gluteals


Neutral spine is the position of your spine with it’s natural curve in it. Lay on your back knees bent with feet flat on the floor, arms out to the side. You can slide one hand under your lower back to check if you are maintaining a small ‘air pocket’ between your lumbar spine and your mat. Bring both knees up to hover above the hips with your ankles in line with the knee so your calf is parallel to the ground. Now, keep the shape of your leg as you hinge from the hip to drop one foot to the floor, then return the leg to meet the other leg and repeat each side. If you feel your lower back lift and arch off the floor to keep the legs up then stop and do this with one leg up and the other knee bent with the foot on the floor.

Neutral spine - Pilates
Neutral spine – piston legs


Lay on your back knees bent with feet flat on the floor, arms out to the side. Bring one ankle to the opposite knee, then lift the foot off the floor to bring the knee toward the chest, hang on to knee with your hands if you can, stay here and breathe. Then repeat on the other side. This is a hugely beneficial stretch to do for your legs, hips and lower back. Enjoy!

Release leg and lower back tension
Gluteal stretch

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher based in Lennox Head offering virtual classes during lockdown. These are real time classes where Brigid leads clients through an all levels Pilates mat work and movement therapy via the internet. Check out the home page for more details or Sign up for regular videos to maintain health and mobility through Pilates.

Pilates Goonellabah

Thanks for reading!

I am Brigid Pearse, comprehensively certified Pilates teacher, ex-dancer, and mid-life mum. In group classes, workshops and private sessions I help women learn to move well for life.

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