You’ve been sitting at your desktop or hunched over your mobile device for too long. You feel “text neck” setting in. You need to get up and stretch!
Below are 5 exercises you can do to counter the negative effects of sitting in front of a computer.
Recalibrate your posture
Stand with your back against the wall; head, shoulders, hips and heels touching the wall. This would be perfectly upright posture, which almost no one has. Spend a few minutes contracting the muscles that put you in contact with the wall – developing these muscles will help you develop better posture.
Pro tip: don’t simply tilt your head back and look up to make contact with the wall. Keep your head straight and tuck your chin.
Turn to the right and put your right shoulder on the wall. Reach your right arm overhead and “walk” your hand up so that your arm is directly overhead. Lean into the wall as if you were trying to put your armpit on the wall. Breathe deeply as you allow your shoulder to stretch out. Hold each side for 1-2 minutes.
Pro tip: to increase the stretch, press your hand into the wall as if you were trying to bring the wall down. This will help to build strength in the overhead position and shoulder mobility.
Sit with your back against the wall in the butterfly position (soles of the feet together, knees spread). With your head, shoulders and tailbone (very important) touching the wall, slide your arms up and down the wall as if doing an overhead press. Try to keep your forearms flat against the wall as you extend completely so that the elbows are straight and arms vertical. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions. This will strengthen the muscles in the upper back and help counter a hunched back.
Pro tip: if you have difficulty keeping your arms on the wall as you extend, alternate each set of Wall Press with the Wall Walk stretch.
Stand with your feet spaced about hips width apart and your back about 12” away from the wall. Push your hips back while at the same time reaching forward with your arms. Touch your butt to the wall without leaning into it. Bring your hips back forward by contracting the glutes. Do a few reps and then step an inch further away from the wall. Repeat the exercise and continuing moving further away from the wall until you can no longer touch the wall. This will teach you the proper way to do a hip hinge, an exercise that will strengthen those muscles you’ve been sitting on all day!
Pro tip: the knees should not travel forward in this exercise and you should not rely on the wall to catch you. Imagine that you are hinging back to touch a screen door or something so that you if you lean into it you will fall.
Face the Wall Squat (advanced)
Stand facing the wall about 6” away and perform a deep squat. The wall will force you to stay upright and prevent you from allowing your knees to travel forward. Do a few reps and move one inch closer to the wall. Repeat until you can squat with your toes touching the wall.
Pro tip: you should be able to do a full squat before attempting this exercise. If you’re unsure how to perform a full squat properly or if you’re unable to, it could mean several things and require other exercises to help get you there. For more information, download the free Kettlebell Start Up Guide