Are You Doing the Wrong Exercises?
|If you sit at a desk all day, one of your favorite exercises may be doing more harm than good.|
In a recent blog post on his site, strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle presented a new theory: gym-goers have fallen in love with all the wrong exercises. According to Boyle, if you work a desk job (which is 90% of us), the three worst exercises you can do are bench presses, curls and stationary cycling.
I know what you’re thinking. “But that’s my whole workout.” Sadly, a lot of people go to the gym, do a few sets of bench, a few curls and hop on the bike. What’s wrong with this? The truth is that working all day in a seated position results in short hip flexors, short pecs and short biceps. This is due to the posture adopted while seated. This is also why Americans suffer from so much neck and back pain. Just look at what comprises seated posture in front of a computer. The hips are flexed, the arms are bent and the shoulders are forward.
“If you are going to the gym,” says Boyle, “your objective should be to reverse the effects of hours of seated posture, not magnify it.” According to Boyle, you need exercises that strengthen the muscles that keep your shoulders back, not the ones that pull them forward. You need more rowing-type exercises to strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulder blades back, not more pressing to pull them forward. You need to stretch the hip flexors, and you need to make sure all arm work is done through the full range of motion to not reinforce adaptive shortening.
With this in mind, we’ve got a TRX protocol designed specifically for desk jockeys (or those of you addicted to bench presses, curls and the stationary bike). Performing these movements will help to open up your chest and hip flexors and strengthen your postural muscles, which will in turn combat the forward head and rounded shoulders posture commonly associated with prolonged sitting and/or aging.
Perform each exercise for 10-15 reps, 2-3 sets, 60 sec rest between sets.
Remember, poor posture is a result of the way we live and work. You can break the cycle by eliminating certain movements and introducing others into your routine, and soon you’ll be standing tall and building a foundation for future healthy movement patterns.
Are you a desk jockey, worried about how hours hunched over your computer are affecting your posture? Tell us about it on the Forum. But first, get up and stretch for a minute…
Mike Boyle is co-owner and content editor for strengthcoach.com, one of the world’s leading resources for performance enhancement information. He is Strength and Conditioning Coach with the US Gold Medal Olympic Teams in Women’s Soccer and Women’s Hockey and also for the Ice Hockey team at Boston University. The author of Functional Training for Sports and Designing Strength Training Programs and Facilities, Mike has appeared in well as over 20 instructional DVDs. He currently owns and operates Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, one of the nation’s first and most successful private strength and conditioning companies.
(Reprinted with permission from TRXTraining.com)
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