Improve Your ‘Hunched over the PC’ Posture

Posturehealthy eating and workout methods, this essential facet of our well-being is often overlooked.

Posture provides the foundation for a balanced workout, deeper breathing, effective digestion and efficient functioning of organs. Improving your posture will benefit your overall health, give you more energy, help rehabilitate or prevent injury and increase sporting performance.

That’s a lot of benefits for such an overlooked idea and I didn’t even mention that it would help you sit at your workstation longer and work harder without cramping!

Here we take a look at six core stretches that will increase your flexibility from head to toe.

  • Stretch One: The “Superman”
    The aim of this stretch is to finish at 90 degree angle, leaning forward onto a stretch band or other object with your legs straight, torso horizontal and arms extended.

    • Keep your feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend at the knees.
    • Lean forwards with your arms extended and resting on a steady object or stretch band.
    • Push your backside out, keep your shoulders high
    • Gently straighten your legs
    • You control the stretch.

    You should feel the stretch in the front and back of the shoulders, across the back of the neck, through the back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. 

  • Stretch Two: The “Reverse Superman”
    The aim of this stretch is to step forward pull your arms upwards behind your back. This is a great stretch for your chest muscles (pectorals) and especially good for anyone who has rounded shoulders from desk work, driving or poor training habits (too many bench presses and no back work!).
    You’ll need a stretch band for this one.

    • Hang the stretch band over a steady object and grab hold of it behind you.
    • Make sure you have an underarm grip on the stretch band – palms towards ceiling.
    • Keep your arms straight and your body vertical as you step forward, pulling your arms up behind you.
    • Keep your abs tight, chest out and head up.
    • You control the stretch.
  • Stretch Three: Hamstrings
    The soccer player’s favorite! Connected to the glutes (backside) which in turn are connected to the lower back, improving flexibility here can help back issues. A stretch band will help you perform this stretch effectively.

    • Attach stretch band halfway along foot
    • Lift one leg straight in the air
    • Keep the knee straight
    • Pull toes down towards head
    • Stretch a little further as you relax into the stretch.
    • You control the stretch.

    Pulling back the toes will also increase the stretch into the calf muscles. 

  • Stretch Four: Posterior Chain
    You’ll feel this stretch in your leg but it primarily targets the lower spine and is particularly effective for lower back issues and sciatica. I consistently use this with great results for clients experiencing back problems.

    • Attach stretch band halfway along foot
    • Hold the elastic in the opposite hand Left leg stretch, right hand elastic)
    • Keep the free arm flat on the floor
    • Gradually increase the stretch as you relax into it.
    • You will feel the stretch in the calf, hamstring and glutes but it also works the lower back.
    • You control the stretch.
  • Stretch five: Glutes (backside)
    OK, it’s time to work on the buns! These are really important muscles in the lower body. They are used for lots of common movements such from sitting and standing to walking up stairs, so get a lot of use and tend to be quite tight, particularly in people with pelvic tilt.

    • Place one leg against a wall at a 90 degree angle for support
    • Place the ankle of the other foot in front of the knee resting against the wall.
    • Pull the heel towards you and push the knee away to control the stretch
    • Hold for 1m on each side

    You should feel the stretch down the outside of your thigh, into your backside and nowhere else. 

  • Stretch Six: Hip flexors
    Lordosis (curvature of lower spine) and posterior tilt in the pelvis can cause these antagonist muscles to be particularly tight. Stretching can help align the pelvis, reducing lordosis and alleviating lower back pain.

    • Put one leg on floor at a 90 degree angle
    • Place opposite knee on floor and your toes on wall behind you.
    • Make sure your body is upright
    • Pull back your shoulders and keep your abdominals tight
    • Push hips forward gently above the knee that is on the floor
    • Hold for 1m each side
    • Remember you control the stretch! 

And that’s the six stretches! Many of my clients have had great results just from improving their flexibility, some have even been on the brink of surgery after exhausting a lot of other options. Correcting the underlying postural imbalances is a great help, but in the first instance these stretches will set you on the right path.

Written on 1/30/08 by Jan Keller, Postural alignment and Correction specialist for Keller Postural Specialists. Republished on 4/8/11.

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