The sitters curse or the desk job curse. Sitting at a desk all day puts you into a shortened, internally rotated position that’s generally hunched over. I made a short instagram post about it and thought it would be worth going into a bit more detail about it. That way you’ll be able to get a few more fixes and and solutions to the problem. And hopefully learn a little something new.
So there’s a few things that’ll go into the sitters curse. 1) Posture will be terrible. Hunched and rounded forward. 2) Core stability & strength will be lacking, not just core but other muscles groups will be weak too. We’ll get to that shortly. 3) Hip flexors are most likely going to be tight/shortened likely causing some aches and pains in the back region.
What do I mean about posture being terrible? Well you’ve probably developed or developing signs of Upper Cross Syndrome. Have a look in the mirror, is your head leaning forward, are your shoulders internally rotated? achey neck/shoulders? Got a little hunch back? Well this Upper Cross Syndrome means that you are weak in the deep neck flexors, rhomboids, lower traps and serratus anterior muscles. It also means you’ve got tight/overdeveloped pectoral muscles, upper traps and levator scapula.Here’s some exercises and stretches you can use to help fix it: Just something to mention, I’d like you to hold each stretch for a total of 2-5mins per day and 100-200 reps total a day.
Rear Delt Flys
Any form of rows - I like prone rows or pendlay rows
Seated Upper Trap Stretch
Include a few of these into your daily routine and i’m certain after a while you’ll notice a huge difference within yourself.
All that sitting wracks havoc on your core musculature. This is due to not needing to use the core musculature whilst your slouching in on your chair. Other muscles will take over and start doing most of the work which is not what you want. A great way to re-learn and develop core stability is to perform these exercises: I’d perform sets of 3x10 each side on the 2 exercises and 3x30s per side.
Side Planks/Pallof Press
The reason I’d go with these exercises is the dead bug is a safe and easy way to strengthen and stabilise your core musculature whilst moving and co-ordinating your limbs. It’ll help improve posture and co-ordination and help in reducing aches and pains. Like the dead bug, the bird dog is a core strengthening exercises that’ll improve stability and encourages and teaches you how to maintain a neutral spine whilst moving. A great addition/tool to this exercise is if you place a stick/pole along the top of your spine and perform this exercise you want to keep the stick where it is without rolling off to one side. For this you can to consider hip placement and how you move whilst keeping the core engaged throughout. Lastly I put side planks/pallof press, side planks being easier to do at home and in the office but personally I prefer the pallof press. Working on maintaining an upright posture and an anti rotation exercise it’ll do wonders to develop a strong and stable core. And it’s easily progressed and regressed for each individuals needs. Obliques and surrounding muscles will be burning for sure.
Ever been told to stretch? Well there’s a good reason for that. Your hip flexors are probably going to be tight. It’s not rocket science to realise that sitting in a position where your shortening your hip flexors is going to make them tight and stiff. You’re likely spending the majority of the day there. Have a think, in the car? Seated. At the office or at the desk? Seated. At home relaxing? Seated. As sad as it is now most people often spend their days sitting. Now what makes up the hip flexors? These are the iliac, psoas major and the rectus femoris. Having them be in a shortened or flexed state for long periods of time will likely cause problems somewhere else along the chain. For example you might start experiencing knee pain or low back aches and pains and general stiff and achey around the hips itself. How to release them? A personal favourite of mine is the Thomas Stretch, unfortunately for this you need someone to help you and a table, bench that won’t topple over if you sit on the edge. But the Couch Stretch is also a staple in my daily routine and its easily progressed/regressed if needed. The focus on this stretch would to place the hips into a posterior pelvic tilt and squeeze the glutes hard and keep them contracted throughout the stretch. IMPORTANT to not loose position of the hips when shifting into the stretch. I’d suggest holding the stretch for a total of 2-5mins each leg a day.
Overall the best cure is movement. Movement is king. Get up every so often just to get out of the same old position you are stuck in. If you feel like you’ll struggle to do it in the day then make time to do these exercises/stretches I’ve suggested in the morning and evening. You will notice a difference if you do it regularly. A few additional extras i’d like to mention in training would to include some loaded carries in to your programme. Farmers carries, Zercher carries, Overhead carries or Yoke walks. All will have a huge impact on posture, core strength and stability and overall health and athleticism.