Improve your posture in less than five minutes with this expert’s stretching routine you can do from your couch

A specialist shares seven simple couch-based stretches to help you add some extra movement into your day

Woman stretching up arms on the couch
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We’ve all skipped the occasional workout to crash on the couch. But what if you could do something to benefit your body without leaving your living room? 

These seven stretches from Nuffield Health rehabilitation specialist Bethany Power can help you increase your flexibility, improve your posture and soothe sore muscles. 

Better yet, they take less than five minutes and the only equipment required is (you guessed it) a couch.

"Stretching and exercise is often the last thing on people's minds at this time of year. Instead, we want to be cosy, curled up on the couch watching our favourite film," Power says.  

"What we want to do is encourage people to take the opportunity to try some stretches from their couch while they watch." 

How to do this stretching routine

  • Hamstring stretch
  • Glute stretch
  • Hip flexor quad stretch
  • Lower back stretch 
  • Upper back stretch 
  • Chest stretch 
  • Neck stretch

Perform the stretches listed above, one after the other, holding each one for 15 seconds. If it’s a single-arm or single-leg stretch, hold it for 15 seconds on either side of your body. 

If any of these moves are new to you, watch the video above or read the instructions below to find out how to do it. 

1. Hamstring stretch

Hamstring stretch

(Image credit: Nuffield Health)
  • Sit on the edge of your couch and extend your right leg so your right heel is touching the floor and your right toes are pointing at the ceiling. Plant your left foot on the ground underneath your left knee. 
  • Push your hips back and, keeping your back straight, reach your right hand towards your right toes so you lean forward. Hold this position for 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

2. Glute stretch

Glute stretch

(Image credit: Nuffield Health)
  • Sit on the edge of your couch then bring your right foot across your left thigh so your right calf is perpendicular to your body.
  • Gently push your right knee towards the floor. 
  • Keeping your back straight, lean forward as far as you comfortably can. Hold this position for 15 seconds then repeat on the other side. 

3. Hip flexor and quad stretch

Hip flexor and quad stretch

(Image credit: Nuffield Health)
  • Place your right knee on the edge of your couch so your right shin extends onto the cushion. Step your left foot forward slightly so you’re in a half lunge.
  • Push your hips forwards and squeeze your glutes (butt muscles). Hold this position for 15 seconds then repeat on the other side. 

4. Lower back stretch

Lower back stretch

(Image credit: Nuffield Health)
  • Sit up straight on your couch facing forwards.
  • Place your left hand on your right knee and twist your chest 90° to the right. You can place your right arm on the back of the couch for support. Hold this position for 15 seconds then repeat on the other side. 

5. Upper back stretch

Upper back stretch

(Image credit: Nuffield Health)
  • Sit up straight on your couch and extend your arms in front of you so they’re parallel to the ground. 
  • Clasp your hands and roll your shoulder blades forward—think about trying to move your shoulder blades apart. Hold this position for 15 seconds. 

6. Chest stretch

stretch

(Image credit: Nuffield Health)
  • Start on all fours next to the arm of your couch, with your arms and thighs vertical and your back flat.
  • Place your closest hand and elbow on the arm of the couch, then turn your head away from the couch and push your chest towards the floor. 
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds then repeat on the other side. 

7. Neck stretch

Neck stretch

(Image credit: Nuffield Health)
  • Sit upright on your couch. Reach your right hand over your head and place it near your left ear. 
  • Looking forwards, gently tilt your head to the right. Hold this position for 15 seconds then repeat on the other side. 
Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.


Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.