ALLI Sports Racer X Online MX Sports GNCC Racing Racer Productions The Racing Paper Racer X Brand

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.

TRX Chest Stretch
TRX Hip Flexor Stretch
TRX Lunge
TRX Y Deltoid Fly
TRX T Deltoid Fly
TRX Mid Row
TRX Overhead Back Extension

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, 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

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

Share on:


  1. Gravatar
    Joel Younkins March 31, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Great article! I am a big Mike Boyle fan and enjoyed his book advances in functional training. I am a big believer that the same concept goes for motocross as well. Shortened hip flexors and a lot of rounded backs. When working with my riders I like to focus on lengthening the psoas muscles out and strengthening the posterior side of their bodies as well. Good little read here!

  2. Gravatar
    m c March 31, 2011 at 9:07 am

    makes sense as most people are completely lost when it comes to gym/weight training. i think its fair to say that the article is a little biased though when its written by "trx editor" and the only exercises listed are for the trx.

    not that i wouldnt give them a shot if i had one, but my college student budget doesn't allow for that :(. Mike Boyle sounds pretty knowlegeable though and i'll definitely look into him some more.

  3. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer March 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I wouldn't say its biased at all. If you look at the TRX site they offer tons of exercises like the chest press, bicep curls, and they even promote cycling. But in this instance they are merely pointing out the fact that doing certain exercises can be counter productive. I guess it would have been truly unbiased if they would have used their own exercises to point the finger at, but the whole point was to talk about "traditional" exercises. BTW, all of the stretches and exercises can be done sans TRX. The TRX just makes it better imo.

  4. Gravatar
    Rob Styron March 31, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Now you are talking! This is probably the best article printed on this site. Mike Boyle is one of the nations' s leading S&C coaches. I'm glad to see some good content.

  5. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer March 31, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    "You are glad to see some good content" ???? Does that mean the rest sucks? :)

  6. Gravatar
    Kevin April 01, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Good article. Unfortunately I find myself at my desk more than I want so this is some good stuff. Thanks!

  7. Gravatar
    Daniel January 12, 2012 at 9:25 am

    So can i continue to ride my mountain bike and surf? What are some exercises i can do that involve body weight?

  8. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer January 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Daniel - Search for "body weight" in the Search above. There are a couple of articles on this topic. Plus, the TRX is 100% body weight.

Leave a reply