6 Tips To Fix Desk Posture
Many of us work sitting at a desk for extended hours every day, which can alter the condition of certain muscles. Even though these changes are subtle they are enough to affect our posture and lead to long term aches and pains.
Thankfully it is very easy to counter act the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
Let's take a look at what happens to your muscles while sitting, excuse the crude diagram:
Assuming you are sitting properly
--> shortened hip flexors, making that muscle group tighter
--> stretched hip extensors, mainly glutes
--> shortened hamstrings
If you aren't sitting properly
--> shortened abs
--> stretched spine muscles
--> shortened pecs
--> stretched scapular muscles
If we translate that to what these do to your posture, you get:
--> slumping shoulders
--> tight hamstrings
--> weak glutes
--> weak core
--> pelvis leaning too far forward
--> knee pain
--> back pain
Here are six exercises that directly counter act each of the points listed above.
1. Barbell squat or deadlift
Both of these exercises strengthen all the muscles affected by sitting. You will work on your glutes, core and back muscles mainly which makes them perfect if you have a desk job. They deserve a whole post to themselves which I wrote here.
No need to go super heavy with these, you can do 4 sets of 10-15 reps of each and feel the benefits.
2. Bird dogs
One of the best exercise that strengthens your core. I love this one because you can do it any where, including the office.
- Start on your hands a knees
- Extend one arm and the opposite leg
- At the end of the movement, your arm, torso and leg should be in one line. To do that, you must flex your glutes and your core.
- Keep your pelvis facing your ribs. The most common mistake is to make the leg go too high which tilts the pelvis towards the ground.
- Hold that position for 1-2 seconds and switch sides.
Do 3 sets of 8 per side.
3. Active leg raises
Lie on your back. Raise one leg up as far back as possible, hold it for 2-3 seconds and then switch.
You must keep two things in mind the whole time.
A. Keep the knee of the leg your are lifting completely straight. This will insure you are stretching the right muscles.
B. Your back must remain still the whole time. Your hips will want to move side to side and you need to tighten up your core to prevent this
3 sets of 10 per leg, alternating legs each reps.
4. Couch stretch
We've covered this exercise already in this post, check it out to read more about it. This is one of the best stretches for tight hip flexors and quads.
Hold it for 30-60 each legs.
5. Door stretch
This one is to help with tight pecs.
Find a door frame. Put your arms on each wall and push your chest forward.
- Keep your spine in a neutral position, so yes that means keeping your core tight. Why? Because this will stretch your pecs more.
- Resting your elbows higher or lower on the walls will stretch different parts of your pecs.
Hold it for 1-2 min.
6. Saddle pose
The yoga saddle pose is a great hip opener and I personally love doing after the couch stretch.
- Kneel on the ground and slowly lean your body back.
- Like the bird dogs, keep your pelvis facing your ribs as much as possible, this will target the hip flexors more.
- You should feel the stretch in your quads and hip flexors, not your quads.
You may find that you can go very far back if your arch your back. Although this is good for spine flexibility, it will not help your hip flexors so I recommend focusing on keeping your back straight and really work on those hip flexors.
Hold it for 1-2 min.
Enjoy moving better and feeling better!