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Desk Set

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Desk Set

Like many of us, I spend a lot of my time sitting at a desk, typing. Health professionals recommend various tactics to help make desk time less detrimental to your health. These suggestions include getting up and moving frequently, as well as carefully arranging your workstation.

Like many of us, I spend a lot of my time sitting at a desk, typing. Health professionals recommend various tactics to help make desk time less detrimental to your health. These suggestions include getting up and moving frequently, as well as carefully arranging your workstation.

The primary component for good workplace fitness, however, is proper posture. My personal trainer, Kerry Marion, designed a fitness regime for me do to at the gym, which improves the strength, endurance, and range of motion of the muscles that improve posture, including the trunk-stabilizing group of muscles commonly known as core musculature.

If you do the following exercises, you will improve your posture and stamina for those long days at your desk.

1. Arm and pectoral stretch

  • Stand with one side against wall.
  • Place hand on wall slightly behind you, at shoulder height, with arm straight.
  • Turn body away from wall until you feel the stretch in your shoulder and along arm.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.
  • Next, bend arm and put forearm on wall.
  • Turn body away until you feel the stretch in your chest (pectoral) muscle.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.

2. I’s, Y’s, and T’s

Works core, shoulders, and mid/upper back to correct hunched shoulders

  • Sit on a balance ball.
  • Lean slightly forward from hips, keeping back and head in line (known as neutral spine position).
  • Hold dumbbells in hands with arms hanging down at your sides.
  • Slowly raise arms so that arms and torso form a T. Do not raise too high–shoulder height is sufficient.
  • Slowly lower dumbbells down to your sides.
  • Repeat raising dumbbells into the different positions, alternating I’s, Y’s, and T’s.

Why It Works

Sitting on the balance ball forces you to set your core to keep balance, increasing core strength. Raising the dumbbells into the three different positions causes greater muscle recruitment in the back and shoulders, improving muscular endurance for sitting at a desk.

3. Supine bridge

Works core

  • Lay on back (supine), hands at your side on the mat, with heels resting on a balance ball.
  • Roll spine off floor, lifting pelvis toward the ceiling until torso is in neutral spine position.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or until fatigued.
  • Roll body back down to mat.

Why It Works

Bridging works the deeper back core muscles necessary for good posture.

4. Prone tabletop

Works abdominals and core

  • Lie on stomach on balance ball.
  • Roll forward until feet rest on balance ball.
  • Keep body straight using your trunk stabilizing muscles (core).
  • Hold until fatigued.
  • Roll back until stomach is on balance ball.

Why It Works

Keeping your body straight requires strong core muscles.

5. Standing row

Works shoulders, mid back, arms, legs, and core

  • Grasp bar with hands placed shoulder-width apart.
  • Lean back slightly, ensuring that back and head are in line (neutral spine position).
  • Pull back on bar slowly, ensuring that you use the muscle between your shoulder blades (feel the pinch).
  • Let bar back slowly, keeping spine and shoulders in neutral alignment.

Why It Works

Standing causes the body to counterbalance against the weight stack, recruiting core and legs to maintain neutral spine. Rowing strengthens the muscles that keep shoulders properly aligned.

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