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Bench Racer Blues

by Fraser Quelch - Director of Training for TRX

Note the ultimate corporate wellness solution pictured above using a height adjustable desk, a TRX and stability ball

Most Bench Racers are Desk Jockeys. Perched upon their steed, driving their computer mercilessly until all hours of the night or until a systems upgrade forces them to shut it down. Increasingly we are under more demands and stress at work and our workday hours creep up to levels that make it difficult to spend time with our family, let alone get in the exercise we know that we need. When we do get home we are often too exhausted from the day to even contemplate a training session and so we plop ourselves down in front of the TV for hours on end to unwind (average American watches 4.75 hours of TV per day). Certainly not the best way to achieve our fitness goals.

So we are faced with three problems:

  1. What can we do at work that will help the situation.
  2. What are the most important exercises that a desk jockey should do?
  3. How on earth can we fit them in?

Behaviors and Strategies
Perhaps the greatest cause of the epidemic physical dysfunction and poor fitness levels is sitting. We drive, work, eat and entertain ourselves from the sitting position and as work day hours creep north of 10 for most executives, this seated position has some very negative effects. Beyond the obvious ramifications of a sedentary day, this position promotes poor posture, contributes to back and neck pain and is the primary cause of many of the imbalances that affect the majority of people.

So What is the Answer?
Stand to Work
For some this may sound like a radical switch but you will find that an increasing number of progressive companies are switching to height adjustable desks and standing work stations.

Standing to work increases energy throughout the day, avoids the static seated position and promotes movement, weight shifts and various stances. This makes a huge impact on the negative long-term effects of prolonged sitting. If this sounds too severe for you remember it is not an all or nothing equation. Stand for as long as is comfortable and then simply adjust the desk to a seated height and integrate a stability ball to promote active sitting.

Don't have a TRX? Get yours here!
In the mean time, just do air squats, pushups, or stretches in your cube.

Take Intermittent Exercise Breaks
Most people sit down at their desk and plug themselves in. You can often come back hours later and find that they haven't moved from that spot. Implementing exercise breaks throughout the day is a simple concept that is highly effective. I have implemented something I call the 100 rep rule. What does it mean? Every day over the course of the workday, I will amass 100 reps of some combination of movements. The TRX makes this extremely simple by attaching it to your office door. Adding a series of stretches and/or strength exercises throughout your workday will increase energy and productivity as well as take a positive step to combat the affects of sitting and help to drive metabolism.

The TV Factor
What are you watching? Seriously, what are people watching for 4.75 hours every day. Sure there's nothing wrong with a little TV but is it REALLY that captivating or do we need to re-set our default switch. Evaluate why the TV is actually on and then consider all of the other things that you could be doing. In short, life is not a spectator sport. Do something... and let other people watch.

A Little is Better Than None at all
Don't blow off your workouts completely! When people realize they simply don't have as much time as they need for their regular workout they tend to skip it all together. Don't fall into this trap! Use a short metabolic sequence taking your 4 favorite TRX exercises and doing as many cycles of 10 reps of each as you can in 10 minutes, due one of the Core DVD workouts or crank through the All Body Express DVD. If you must watch TV for hours on end, implement the TV training strategy I outlined in the 12 days of Christmas series. Every 30 minutes of TV consists of 8 minutes of commercial programming. When the commercials come up, jump out of your seat and do as many of a selected exercise as you can during the break. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish! Just what ever you do, don't fall into this common trap.

So what are some of the best exercises to do? While there are many, here are 4 that do a great job of targeting many of the weaknesses and imbalances that are common in the desk jockey.

Overhead Squat T-Shoulder Fly
45-Degree Back Row Balance Lunge

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

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  1. Gravatar
    Lori May 02, 2010 at 10:40 am

    These are great tips! I, like many weekend warriors, can only dream about having enough time to train like the pros. This is very helpful in giving practical tips normal folks can use. Love to see more like this!

  2. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer May 03, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Thanks Lori, glad you found the article helpful. I always try to take exercises that the pros are doing and make them as practical as possible. Same goes with workouts. What good is knowing what the pros are doing if it is so time consuming that there is no benefit to the time-crunched Weekend Warrior? Thanks for reading!

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