You can spend most of your day at the office and a good portion of your evening sitting on your glutes and hamstrings. You want to strengthen them, but just can't get all that jazzed up about lunges. And if the thought of heading out to yoga class has you sighing with exhaustion, consider trying seated yoga poses that you can perform at home or at work to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes.
Bend and Stretch
Seated forward bending postures can pack a whopping one-two punch for your hamstrings. You want to not only strengthen those strings but lengthen them as well. Short, tight hamstrings affect your pelvic tilt, which affects your posture. The best trick to remember during all seated yoga poses, unless otherwise indicated, is to keep your feet flexed upward. Spread your toes apart too. This foot posture is like a direct line to your hamstrings telling them to keep active. Practice Seated Forward Bend, Head-to-Knee Forward Bend and Wide-Legged Forward Bend to strengthen and lengthen your hamstrings.
Forward bends also activate the major muscles of your butt: the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. But a few of the seated yoga poses that will strengthen your butt have more than a little to do with isometrics. That's the school of exercise that advocates the clench and hold method. Isometrics don't necessarily build strength but will preserve the strength you have, according to the Mayo Clinic. So by all means, contract your butt while performing seated yoga poses such as Staff, Bent Knee Staff, Heron and Fire Log. And don't forget to flex your feet in glute poses as well.
Yoga in your chair at work may feel a little restrictive, but practicing a few minutes a couple of times a day will help strengthen your butt and leg muscles. Supine leg lifts work your abs, but seated leg lifts will strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. Single lifts with a flexed foot or two flexed feet if you're going to attempt the double leg lifts will do the trick. Hold the lift for 30 seconds to one minute and remember to breathe, as holding your breath could cause your blood pressure to rise.
Take a Seat
While not technically performed sitting down, Chair pose mimics the action of sitting in a chair and is a powerful and quick way to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. Use your arms for balance as you pretend to sit down. Rock back on your heels slightly for the greatest benefits, but remember to keep your toes on the floor. Perform Chair for up to one minute at a time while breathing deeply throughout.
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.