Fix Your Desk Posture Right Now
Being chained to a desk hunches us over like Quasimodo. Here's how to keep your spine straight even if you're four hours into a spreadsheet and weed session. Find out how to fix your posture right now.
Every desk-bound man knows that working over a computer all day can lead to the dreaded concave chest and drooping shoulders. Good posture is essential: studies show it keeps bones and joints in correct alignment, decreases stress on ligaments that hold the spine together and, equally as important, conveys and even increases self-confidence. But in this age of desktop work for hours on end-not to mention hunching over our phones on the tube, online, even in bed, how does a guy beat the bow? Here’s how to fix your posture when pretty much everything is going against you, and your back.
“The shoulder is quite a complicated joint that’s not necessarily designed very well.”
“It’s really hard to lift your max amount of weight or perform your best when you’ve got impingement in your shoulders or you’ve got imbalance between your front and your back”, says Lee Bennett, co-founder of Evolve Fitness gyms, which recently opened a new location on Liverpool Street in London. Often bad posture causes shoulder pain, rotator cuff injuries or shoulder impingement thanks to a tight chest. “The pec minors are pulling the shoulders forward and there isn’t room to move the shoulders”, Bennett says. “It’s quite a complicated joint that’s not necessarily designed very well”.
Pump your scapular
To fix your posture, he suggests doing scapular rotations and scapular retractions, one-arm dumbbell rows, T-bar rows, barbell rows, single-arc rows, lat pulldowns and strengthening the upper back using resistance bands.All of these can be done at home or at the office, as long as your back is upright and the core is tight (though if you work in an open-plan office, we would caution against gym-style grunting). These John Lewis wrist weights are subtle enough to wear at your desk - £12 for 2.
Puff your Core
Besides these compound movements, Bennett recommends core work for good posture. "A lot of people slouch when they sit and they don't hold in their midsection. The core isn't just about your abs, it's about your lower back as well". Bennett says strengthening the IT Band muscle that runs across the midsection is an integral part of core work. Isometric hold and isolation exercises like planks help fortify both the lower back and abs.
Do something functional
Bennett also suggests functional movements like rock climbing for strong posture. As with any exercise program, balance is key. Performing a range of exercises strengthens the overall health and fitness of your body. "What you don't want to do is just muscle isolation or just hitting weights because then you're not going to have the balance with other aspects like your cardiovascular work or your flexibility", Bennett says. He also stresses that as men get older it's beneficial to try new exercises even if they don't want to. "Things like yoga or even Pilates, especially for guys who are older, are really important". Have a look at the five best climbing holidays for some well needed posture improvement.
Lie down and relax
And the tip that made us sit up straight and really take notice? "You can also improve your posture by getting sports massage work done to find out where the tightness in the muscles is", Bennett says.
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