I Tried This Physio-Approved Exercise To Reduce Stiffness In My Back And It Felt Great

Woman rolls out yoga mat at home
(Image credit: supersizer / Getty Images)

I often deal with stiffness in my upper body. And if there's one area that tends to be particularly tight and achy, which I suspect might be the case for many people, it's my back.

I work a desk job, so I spend most of my time sitting down, often hunched over my laptop, which inevitably puts pressure on my back.

My fairly stationary working day paired with some tough upper-body workouts I've done recently meant that my back was very stiff last week. So I was excited to see an Instagram Reel by physiotherapist Sam Caddick with one exercise designed to relieve discomfort and stiffness in the back.

Take a look at Caddick’s Reel where he demonstrates the move.

I got in contact with Caddick to find out more about the movement. “I really like this stretch because it works through hip rotation, lengthening and loading the outside of the glutes while working on opening the quadriceps and the bigger muscles around the hips,” says Caddick.

I decided to try this stretch first thing in the morning, as this is when my muscles feel the most stiff. I normally don’t stretch as soon as I wake up—I usually head straight to the gym or my kitchen table to start work—so I tried this for a few days to see if it helped with achiness in my back.

“This drill is super handy because it requires no equipment so you can do it at home or even in the office, which is great especially if you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk,” says Caddick. “Hold this as a passive stretch for up to two minutes if you can tolerate it, to get the most out of the stretch.”

This stretch primarily targeted my hips, but it also opened up my shoulders and the muscles in my upper back, which felt great. It revealed that I wasn’t as flexible as I thought and I could feel my muscles protesting as I moved my leg forward.

Holding the stretch for up to two minutes was difficult, as I felt extremely tight. But after about a minute, I settled into the stretch a bit more and my entire body felt more relaxed afterward, particularly the muscles in my back and upper body.

Caddick stresses in the Reel’s caption that there's no one move to fix back pain. Incorporating back exercises, back stretches and mobility exercises into your routine can help, but seeking professional help is the best way to deal with the issue for good.

However, if you're anything like me and you're looking for a quick way to relieve your symptoms, this exercise could do the job. I'll be coming back to it as a quick way to mobilize my hips and upper-body muscles in the morning and throughout the day.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.