Reversing the effects of sitting at a desk all day...

SMason22

Level 4 Valued Member
Hi all

I've been sitting at a desk looking down for long hours for the last 8 years and have recently noticed my posture has become very bad. My neck seems to be constantly flexed forwards! I'm sure it's just a matter of time before I get injured or start to have pain.

Does anyone have any advice on how to counteract this? Some simple exercises I can do twice per day or something?

Thanks !
 

Bunn

Level 5 Valued Member
Swings, seriously. Pavel himself stated that for every hour you spend sitting you should do something like 10 swings. I apologize, I can't find the source or exact number right now. But bottom line, swings.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Swings, seriously. Pavel himself stated that for every hour you spend sitting you should do something like 10 swings. I apologize, I can't find the source or exact number right now. But bottom line, swings.
Yes, and stand tall when you do swings. Video yourself relentlessly. Keep working on getting your ear above your shoulder and the crown of your head reaching for the sky at the top of the swing. It is very easy to do swings that are good other than a head forward posture, and when you do lots and lots of swings, I'm sure it adds up.
 

TravisS

Level 6 Valued Member
any way you can get a standing desk? just standing instead of sitting will help immensely.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Elevate your work materials, keyboard, whatever and put then on an incline. A stand up desk is nice but after years of using one I'd swear it started giving me hip problems. I had to become aware of when I'm tilting my hips too often to one side or the other and stand neutral.

Swing is good, any exercise regimen will be helpful. You really need to learn some observational skill, and constantly remind yourself to keep your spine erect. Remind yourself in your regular life as well, stand tall, sit tall, sit tall when driving, watching TV etc.
 

Johnnyy

First Post
Certified Instructor
Goooood morning,
While swings are your go to exercise when working out, one of the easiest resets that you can do while at the office are the Wall Ws or Wall Angels exercise (easy to find vids and pics online). Even without a wall, just keep your forearms and elbows aligned with your ribs as you move up and down. Aim for 20-30 reps twice a day...
Hope this helps!
Wish you all a great day.
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
Practice tucking your chin. You can look down without your head jutting forward.

I've also been doing prone presses and prone Ys, pec stretches, and inverted rows with a pause in the thumbs-in-armpits position to help keep my shoulders square.
 

SMason22

Level 4 Valued Member
Thank you all - I love this community!

With regards to swings, do you find them somewhat self correcting? Or is consciously perfect technique required to reap the posture and corrective benefits?
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Concously perfecting technique is always an ongoing pursuit! Every single session is a practice. I would not say that they are self correcting.
 

SMason22

Level 4 Valued Member
Concously perfecting technique is always an ongoing pursuit! Every single session is a practice. I would not say that they are self correcting.
Thanks.

Is anyone aware of any other self correcting exercises that could help? If I have some postural dysfunction I don't want to load that in a swing.

The OS reset was great and I will definitely incorporate that.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
If I have some postural dysfunction I don't want to load that in a swing.
I would think of it as two different things. Let's use the farmer's carry instead of the swing as an example. If a person tends to do their everyday walking with poor posture, it's difficult to remind and correct themselves every single time they walk. But if they do farmer's carries as part of their training/practice, let's say four carries of 90 seconds each with 24kg in each hand as Al Ciampa once prescribed for me, it's possible to really focus on posture for those 4 x 90-second carries. Stand tall, crown of the head reaching up, chest up, shoulders down and back, abs tight, using the glutes to walk... etc. And during those four 90-second carries, you are building the posture you want to have, by challenging it with a load. I believe this has an effective carryover to your everyday walking posture.

So think of your swings the same way. Even if you "have a postural dysfunction" (and I wouldn't think of it that way -- just think of it as something to improve) -- you can still perform loaded movement by consciously doing it correctly and with good posture. It just may take additional focus and self-cuing to get there. And sometimes you may need to lighten the load to practice correctly... but I wouldn't hold yourself back too much on weight unless you see a clear degredation of posture that you can't correct as you go heavier. Then just stay with what you can do with good form.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
What you want to do is create an association between a behavior that you already do and the stretch that you want. For example, when you enter your office, when you shut off your computer, do a head nod etc. The book "Atomic Habits" has good ideas on this strategy. In short, I think the fitness industry and fitness trainers are too concentrated on corrective exercises. What you need is to build in reps all day long associated with cues until they become habit. A few minutes of stretching before or after workouts is not enough.

I have read that you want an adjustable desk, not a standing desk. Standing all day is not good either. Just ask a teller or cashier.

The shoulder dislocation stretch is good. I keep a dowel in my office.
 

strawdog

Level 6 Valued Member
I've spent too much time sitting, but a postural 'game changer' for me was introducing tall-kneeling drills into my warm-ups; I found they really taught the alignment needed for the likes of farmer walks, and the end position of the swing. I revisit them every so often, and usually press from tall-kneeling.

 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Pretty much do the opposite. Since flexion is the position you're slightly glued in, train extension, bridges, deadlifts, swings, Mackenzie back bends, snatches, i.e. lso know, that it is not merely your shoulders, upper back that need work. Your glutes get weaker in this position (sitting), your stomach probably isn't stacked properly, i.e. your hips, spine and shoulders are all connected. This is why doing something like "training upper back" will not completely remedy this. Pavel wrote a good article on this here...

Posture: An Easy Way to Up Your Performance | StrongFirst

Also, daily habits are more important than "training", as in fact, they are training. If you're slumped over 8 hours a day, will 1 hour of training remedy this? Probably not. However, if you take the steps to ensure good posture throughout the day with the advice of changing your workstation around as others have suggested and trained an hour a day, you'd have a pretty good thing going.
 

Molson

Level 4 Valued Member
I had a bad posture all my life. I’m a slim guy in mid 30s, office job. I had been doing S&S the last 6 months and my posture had never been better. I still have some bad habits while sitting but there’s no pain or soreness throughout the day. GFM had been a great way of resetting my posture before S&S sessions and at the point of transition between bell sizes it had been necessary to allow proper form. Using 32kg only now I mostly don’t use GFM anymore, but definitely will do when I’ll move to more demanding weights or programs.

Thank you StrongFirst for teaching me that!​
 
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