How to Do Seated Marches: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do seated marches to help with hip mobility and strength, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 22, 2023
man-doing-seated-marches

How to Do Seated Marches: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do seated marches to help with hip mobility and strength, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 22, 2023
man-doing-seated-marches

How to Do Seated Marches: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do seated marches to help with hip mobility and strength, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 22, 2023
man-doing-seated-marches

How to Do Seated Marches: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do seated marches to help with hip mobility and strength, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Sep 22, 2023
man-doing-seated-marches
Table of Contents

Ever feel like your hips are tightening up during a long, never-ending meeting? Or like you need a little ‘movement snack’ while sitting at your desk? Seated marches may be the answer — or part of the answer — to your problems. Seated marches are a simple, discreet exercise that engage your hip flexors, quadriceps, and core muscles, helping to prevent and combat stiffness and joint and muscle pain while improving hip flexibility and range of motion. Here, learn more about how to do seated marches — and how to modify this exercise to suit your needs. 

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Are Seated Marches?

Seated marches are a type of low-impact exercise that primarily target the muscles of the lower body, especially the hip flexors. The exercise involves sitting in a chair and raising one knee at a time toward the ceiling. This exercise is often recommended for those who have mobility or balance issues or are recovering from an injury but still want to engage in some form of physical activity.

What Muscles Do Seated Marches Work? 

Seated marches target several lower body muscle groups, particularly the following:

  • Hip flexors. These muscles are located at the front of your hip and help you lift your thigh toward your chest. The primary hip flexor involved in seated marches is the iliopsoas.

  • Quadriceps. Located at the front of your thigh, the quadriceps help you extend your knee and lift your leg.

Additionally, these muscles may be engaged to a lesser degree: 

  • Hamstrings and glutes, which are located at the back of your thigh and buttocks. These act in a stabilizing role as you move your opposite leg during seated marches.

  • Calves (gastrocnemius and soleus). These muscles may engage slightly, especially as you push through your feet or raise your heels off the ground.

  • Rectus abdominis and obliques. These core muscles stabilize your torso and maintain your posture while seated. 

Benefits of Seated Marches

Seated marches offer a range of benefits, such as: 

  • Improving lower body strength

  • Enhancing mobility 

  • Engaging your core muscles 

  • Offering cardiovascular benefits (when performed at a brisk pace) 

  • Helping rehabilitation from lower body injuries or surgery 

  • Improving balance and stability 

All of these benefits help with daily activities like getting up from a chair, getting out of bed, walking, running, climbing stairs, getting in and out of a car, bending over and lifting objects from the ground, and maintaining a comfortable posture. 

Another perk: Seated marches can be done discreetly anytime you’re sitting, whether that’s at your desk, while traveling, or doing a number of other sedentary activities. 

Seated Marches: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Seated Marches

Seated Marches

Seated Marches

Seated Marches

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To do seated marches: 

  • Sit comfortably in a chair and lift one knee up toward the ceiling. 

  • Reach your knee as high as is comfortable and hold this position for a few moments. 

  • Relax your foot back to the floor.

As you do each rep, you might feel your core and hip muscles working. 

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Seated Marches Modifications

Seated Marches Modifications

Seated Marches Modifications

Seated Marches Modifications

To make seated marches easier:  

  • Start by sitting at the edge of your chair with your knees only slightly bent so your knees start closer to the ground. 

  • Limit how high you lift your knee up toward the ceiling. 

  • You can also limit how long you hold your knee in the air before returning to your starting position. 

To make seated marches harder: 

  • Place a looped resistance band around your knees so you stretch the band and add resistance as you lift your knee toward the ceiling.  

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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References

  1. Kato, Y., Islam, M. M., Koizumi, D., Rogers, M. E., & Takeshima, N. (2018). Effects of a 12-week marching in place and chair rise daily exercise intervention on ADL and functional mobility in frail older adults. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 30(4), 549–554. doi:10.1589/jpts.30.549

  2. Sitthiracha, P., Eungpinichpong, W., & Chatchawan, U. (2021). Effect of Progressive Step Marching Exercise on Balance Ability in the Elderly: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(6), 3146. doi:10.3390/ijerph18063146

  3. Davenport, S. (2022, November 15). How and why to try chair exercises. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-and-why-to-try-chair-exercises