Gender Responses to Automobile and Office Sitting – Influence of Hip, Hamstring, and Low-Back Flexibility on Seated Postures

Tyson A.C. Beach, Katherine A. McDonald, Stephanie K. Coke, Jack P. Callaghan *
Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3G1.

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Beach et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3G1; Tel: 519-888- 4567, Ext. 37080; Fax: 519-746-6776; E-mail:


Understanding factors that influence preferred sitting postures is considered important to prevent low-back pain (LBP) associated with seated exposures. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of gender and flexibility (hip, hamstring, and low-back) on lumbo-pelvic postures adopted when performing laboratory-simulated computer work and automobile driving. Ten female and 9 male volunteers were exposed to 10 minutes each of the abovementioned sitting conditions. Sagittal lumbo-pelvic kinematics were recorded during each sitting condition. Correlation analyses were performed between lumbo-pelvic postures and various measures of hip, hamstring, and low-back flexibility. When driving, females exhibited 9.8 degrees more posterior pelvic tilt (p = 0.0329) and 10.5 degrees more lumbar flexion (p = 0.0116) than males with respect to their lumbo-pelvic alignments in upright standing. When performing seated computer work, it was males who experienced greater posterior pelvic tilt (p = 0.0048). Individuals with greater hip flexibility, typically females, adopted lumbar flexion postures closer to their voluntary end-range while driving (r = 0.5709; p = 0.0107). Individuals who exhibited greater posterior pelvic tilt in office chair sitting, typically males, were those with less hip (r = – 0.5484; p = 0.0150) and hamstring (r = –0.4690; p = 0.0496) flexibility. Given that differences exist between males and females with respect to various indices of hip, hamstring, and low-back flexibility, it is possible that gender-based differences in seated postures are related to inherent differences in flexibility between the sexes. These findings suggest that strategies to prevent LBP associated with sitting may depend on both individual flexibility characteristics and the type of seated exposure.