We all know work can be a drag. We spend our time counting down the hours and minutes until we knock off and can hit the gym. For many of us, being at work entails being hunched over a desk, in cramped positions, staring at a computer screen, for hours on end.
We then grab our gym bags and head for a workout, expecting our bodies to perform optimally for 60-90 minutes of physical abuse, most of the time without even a warm up.
Sitting at a desk for hours, even with the best posture, is torture for our bodies. Tight hips, necks, shoulders and stiff backs are the common culprits, as any lifter who works a desk job will tell you. But the good news is, setting aside just a few minutes every day to undo the damage of a day of sitting, is all it takes to prevent injury and pain. Here a few simple fixes to common problems.
Tight hips are the most common problem caused by days confined to the office chair. Sitting all day causes the hip flexors to shorten, which can have a detrimental effect on the body over the long term and play a huge part in back and posture problems. It also negatively impacts performance on movements such as deadlifts and squats.
The quintessential hip-flexor stretch below is an easy and efficient preventative measure, and you can do it at work in between ordering Gymmealsdirect.com and scrolling Facebook:
Sore shouldersThe pectoralis (pec) minor is a thick, little muscle that sits underneath the muscle most of us know as our ''pec'' (pec major). The primary job of the pec minor is to pull the shoulder forward and to stabilize it.
When we spend extended periods of time with our hands out in front of us, hunched over (sound familiar?), the pec minor becomes short and tight.
Tight and short pec minors cause major issues like rounded and rolled shoulders, lead to shoulder impingement and can be a large contributor to neck and shoulder pain. These are troublesome problems, especially if you like to press (we know you do).
Here's a simple stretch that can keep your benches healthy for many chest Monday's to come:
Another area negatively impacted by constant desk work is the thoracic spine (mid back). Hunching can cause stiffness and a lack of mobility in the thoracic spine.
This lack of movement can lead to poor positioning and injury when performing exercises such as the bench press, shoulder press, deadlift, and squat. On top of this, it can cause a cohort of postural and neck and back issues.
An easy fix to unstiffen a stiff thoracic is a ''thoracic extension''. For this, you will need a foam roller:
So there we have it, three simple fixes to a few common ailments. If you work at a desk, spend a few minutes a day undoing the damage of the desk chair.