4 Easy Stretches You Can Do From the Comfort of Your Office
Having a sedentary job often means you don’t get to move your body as much as it needs to. If you sit at a desk for 10 years you become a chair (basically). The body adapts to everything you do, which for a sedentary worker often means that your hip flexors and quadriceps get tight (front of leg muscles) and your glutes and hamstrings (back of leg muscles) will turn off and won’t switch on even if you tell them to they won’t listen. This happens because you’ve told your body that it’s OK to be in a seated position for the past 10 years.
We often hear how important strength training is and YES it is super important but equally important is proper stretching. A mobile body is a body that is strong and stable in a good range of motion. That “good range of motion” is different for each muscle and joint.
When you’re more mobile it means your body can deal with strains, tweaks, pulls and full blown injuries much better than a body that is too strong, rigid and tight. It also means you’re less likely to get the typical aches and pains a sedentary worker has in their shoulder/neck and/or lower back area.
The solution? Doing 50/50 of strength training and stretching.
To get started, you’ll first need to establish your current physical state:
- What muscles are tight/needs stretching? Do the tests below and make sure to take photos so you can track your progress on a monthly basis.
- What movements can/can I not do at this stage due to lack of stretching or strength? It might be things that requires flexibility like; sitting down in a squat or reaching your arms above head. It might be things that requires strength such as doing a push-up or a chin up.
- What goals would you like to reach? Figure out if you want to train for fat loss, muscle building, strength, increased energy, better sleep, improve a specific movement or other goals, they could be several.
Here are four stretches you can do from the comfort of your own office or home to help build a strong and stable mobile body:
1. Pike stretch
Bend forward with straight legs. Aim to get your hands flat on the ground.
2. Pancake stretch
Sit down with feet 45 degrees out to the sides and bend your upper body forward. Aim to get your upper body to at least 45 degrees forward with a straight back.
3. Split-squat stretch
From a one leg kneeling position, both knees at 90 degrees, lean your hip as far forward and down as you can. Aim to get as close to the ground as possible. Limited range of motion is when you barely move from the starting position aka. When your knees are both at 90 degrees. Below you can see that the back leg is more straight than at 90 degrees.
4. Active pigeon
From a one leg kneeling position, both knees at 90 degrees, lift your back knee off the ground and let your front knee fall out to the side as far as you can. Aim to get as far out down to the floor as you can with that front knee. Limited range of motion would be to just go past your arm with you front knee, you’d like to get at least half way down, if not the whole way.
Great, now that you know what you want AND where your body is at we can start planning and then take action. In part 2 we will dig deep into how to set up a great training program that suits your body as an office worker.
Tell me in the comments below; what goals do you have and how close are you to the flexibility I present in the photos?
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