Lets face it…Desk jobs are wrecking your health and working out in a gym incorrectly can trash your shoulders, back and neck.
Every year we see droves of desk jockeys enter the gym environment, take a look around and sign on the dotted line…then show up a few days a week for a month, then stop when the pain comes on-board.
Most people that have any experiences in the weight room are used to seeing people do bench press or dumbbell press and bicep curls…all the muscles you can see in the mirror, seems good right?
WRONG>>>If you work a desk job and have for years…and are not currently training on a consistent basis, you should focus on training the muscles that will retract the scapula (strengthen the muscles that keep the shoulders back.)
This is what is so common…go to the gym do a few sets of bench press, dumbbell curls, then jump on the stationary bike for 20 minutes.
So whats wrong with this? Working all day in a seated position ends up shortening the hip flexors, pectorals and biceps causing the rounded back posture we see way too commonly in the rehab world resulting in so much back and neck pain.
Lets break it down, the seated position in front of a computer has the hips flexed, arms are bent and shoulders are forward, and even more so if sight is a problem with the neck stretched forward.
Now add in a commute in a car and you have a formula for a rounded back and shoulders…should we be doing exercises in the gym that magnify this posture?
If you are going to the gym, your objective should be to reverse the effects of hours of seated posture behind the desk and behind the wheel of a car.
Bench press further shortens the pecs and curls reinforce the flexed arm position and the bike further shortens the hip flexors.
What really needs to be the focus is exercises that strengthen the muscles that keep our shoulders back, not the ones that pull them forward. We need more rowing exercises concentrating on rotating the shoulders and scapula back, such as a rowing movement. We also need to stretch the hip flexors and work all arm movements through the full range of motion and fully straighten the arms in pulling movements.
The rounded back and forward neck posture is not from old age…it is from the way we live and work and can be reversed…I have seen it here in our small studio many times in all ages from 20-80+.
The real key to all this is keeping a well rounded training program with functional movements and working the muscles you can’t see as much if not more than the ones you can see. The result will be feeling great and not looking like grandma or grandpa in your 40s.
For more information on the subjects discussed here, or for any of your coaching or training needs contact John Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*John Marshall started his career at Baylor College of Sports Medicine over 15 years ago and has been certified and educated through ISSA, ACE, and PFIT programs.