The most common areas of weakness I notice when I start with new clients are their hips, glutes, hamstrings and backs. This is usually a result of their desk-sentenced lives as an office worker. Sitting, whether at a desk, on the couch, or in the car is extremely damaging to our health. From a purely musculoskeletal perspective it weakens the hamstrings, glutes and the core muscles of the back and abdomen, tightens the hip flexors and pectoral muscles. All of this results in poor posture and poor movement patterns. How do we fix these problems?
Whilst prevention is always going to be better than a cure, it isn’t always practical or possible. However, there are ways to minimise the damage and counteract the problems.
- A standing workstation: This is not only physically healthier but will also increase mental activity.
- Staying active throughout the workday. Break up your sitting. Walk around, do some stretching. Try and avoid long stretches of total motionlessness.
If you can’t avoid sitting then here are some ways to counteract the negative effects.
- Plenty of hip-flexor work: Try Kelly Starrett’s Couch stretch, foam rolling and trigger point work.
- Strengthen your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, lower back): Squat, deadlift, hip thrusts, kettlebell swings, lunges, sprints etc.
- Strengthen your mid and upper back and open up through your chest and shoulders: Pulling exercises such a pull-ups, chin-ups, ring-rows, bent over rows.
- Stretching through the shoulders and chest: Try foam rolling along the thoracic spine.