More and more we find ourselves sitting for a large portion of the day, whether at work, commuting or at home binging on Netflix, we spend too much time on our asses.
If you spend most of your time at work seated at a desk or during travel you will eventually end up with tight hips, internally rotated shoulders leading to a hunched over upper back, weak glutes and a pissed off low back.
But, fortunately, all is not lost. You can regain your once proud posture and feel and look a million times better!
Here are 5 exercises that can help you undo the damage of the desk jockey lifestyle…
I use these as part of the warmup for almost everyone, and they are great for starting to open up the mid and upper back particularly after a day of sitting hunched over a computer.
- Keep your eyes on your moving elbow
- On the way in, try to get the elbow into the gap between your supporting arm and leg
- On the way up, the line of travel should be slightly forward and up, going form slight spinal flexion to spinal extension
- Try to keep your ribs from flaring
BANDED THORACIC PROTRACTIONS/ RETRACTIONS
Protraction and retraction describe the movement of the shoulder blade sliding forward (protraction) arounds the ribs and back towards each other (retraction). This ability is often lost due to the static position most desk jockeys end up in most of the day.
- Set up with a mini band looped around a support slightly above your shoulder height, hold each end of the band and step back to give the appropriate amount of tension
- Maintain an upright torso and “lock” down the ribs
- Let the band pull your arms forward and feel for the shoulder blades slide around and rotate slightly upwards
- Keeping the arms straight, pull the shoulder blades back and together, again feeling for them slide back and rotate downwards as they come together
The good old deadbug, one of the most poorly understood movements you might see in the gym, arms and legs flailing around everywhere with little thought of the proper control and movement quality needed.
- Maintain a neutral spine, there will be a slight backward rotation of the pelvis due to the leg position
- Lock in the abs, you need to learn to breathe behind your braced abs
- Don’t get lazy with your legs, hips and knees should be at 90 degrees at the top, static position. The tendency is to let the non working leg drops so the heel hangs down close to your butt and knee drops toward your chest.
- Breathe in on the way out with the moving leg. Since breathing in leads to spinal extension, breathing in on the way out with your leg encourages you to get away from the flexed spine position.
- Go slow.
HIP THRUST/ GLUTE BRIDGE
The hip thrust or its partner, the glute bridge, are great exercises for firing up the glutes and building a bit of mass in your ass, reversing the lazy ass syndrome brought on by sitting on it all day.
- Keep your feet hip width apart
- Your feet should be positioned so that you get a 90 degree angle between your upper and lower leg at the top of the movement.
- Keep your abs tight and push though your heels
- You should have a sensation of pushing up against the bar, not pulling the bar along as you lift your hips.
- Don’t be afraid of going heavy!
The last exercise of this list is a great upper back movement.
- Grab the handles so your hold the ropes so palms are downward facing
- Once again, keep your abs tight and resist the temptation to let the ribs flare
- Pull the handles straight towards your face and finish with your hands up at your ears.
- The return movement should be along the same line, not allowing your elbows drop on the way back
Add these into your training program and start reversing the effects of our ever more seated lifestyle!