Desk-bound employees can develop a hunched posture that saps energy and strength. Here’s a safe-for-the-office routine that can help.
For many people, nine-hour workdays are the minimum—and lunch breaks are short or taken at the desk. Even if the person goes to the gym a few times a week, it isn’t always enough to offset the impact of so much time at work. This can lead to upper-crossed syndrome, the shoulders-hunched, head-jutting-forward position that signals muscle imbalances in the neck, chest, shoulders, and back. Fortunately, you have the tools to help—especially if you are a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES).
“Developing a program that breaks someone away from his or her desk and gets them moving and active will result in a happier, healthier, more productive employee,” says Jonathan Penney, NASM-CPT, previous general manager for Plus One Health Management, a company that develops fitness solutions for companies across the United States. The routine featured here—created by Penney and Rick Richey, MS, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, CSCS, LMT, owner of R2 Fitness in New York and an NASM Master Instructor—not only does that, it also fights those upper-crossed syndrome imbalances. And it’s easy for clients to take advantage of the moves in an office setting, during the workday.
Before recommending this workout to anyone, Penney and Richey both say an overhead squat assessment to determine imbalances is smart. Once you’ve identified imbalances, you can then suggest a specific foam-roller routine to lead into the workout. The idea is to inhibit the overactive muscles before moving into any stretching or muscle activation movements.
All in Order
This workout is designed so that clients finish the “A” exercises in a circuit before moving on to the “B” exercise, the “C” exercise circuit, and so on.
Warm-Up – 2 to 4 minutes
Choose from a variety of mobility movements:
B Exercise – YTA
2 to 3 sets, 10 reps each
- Stand with feet hip-width apart. Keep abdominals tight, and bend slightly at the waist.
Quick Neck Saver
Trouble with neck strain while sitting at a desk? Make sure your client isn’t dropping her head to her chest or jutting her head forward to try to work it out. “That’s going to increase the compensatory patterns exponentially, unfortunately,” says Richey. Instead, he recommends tucking in that chin and pressing the back of the head into the back of the chair, so it’s in a kind of retracted position. This activation will help relieve the strain.