We’ve talked in the last two posts about the importance of posture and how to stay away from injury.
Today I’d like to keep it as practical as possible, by providing you actual exercises you can do, similar to the ones we talked about in the posture post.
See, I’ve been working with two friends on an app that reminds you to do these posture exercises regularly. The simple reason being: Because we tend to forget.
You can check out the app here.
Massage first, strengthen later
When it comes to injury prevention or fixing structural problems (be it your posture or pain points) a lot of people go about it the wrong way, and I can’t blame them. It’s the normal way that the usual fitness coach would show you.
You would start out with some balancing work and maybe some physiotherapy exercises after. The idea is that the muscles in that area need to be strenghtened and the only way to achieve that is by doing those exercises in that sequence.
But the problem, literally, lies deeper. Your muscles tend to tense up, when used in a bad pattern and don’t easily loosen up when you do balancing exercises.
Let’s say you have neck pain, probably from working too long in the same position, and not rotating desks enough. Chances are you lean forward during working, rarely move your neck muscles (which are tonnnns of stringy little, complex muscles) and then when you’re looking behind your back it tends to hurt, or even worse you can’t even properly turn your head anymore.
That happens mainly because your soft tissue (your tendons, muscles etc – so all the material that is NOT bone) glues up, when not properly used.
Breaking this bad pattern requires work and you can think about this similarly as a Velcro glued together. It needs work to remove both parts and make sure that they don’t glue together anymore.
That is why I’m a big fan of massaging the area first. Massaging it for a few days or weeks loosens up the required muscles and makes sure that you can strenghten it the proper way (this is where the balancing and physiotherapy exercises play a big role!).
Depending on the soft tissue, genetics and your patterns it may take longer or happen rather quickly. (Healthy) Athletes generally tend to have better soft tissue, but they are getting A TON of massage work done almost every day. That’s for a reason.
Three Exercises to loosen up
In all seriousness though, these exercises are meant to help you with the tense muscles that involve your posture, the first two are pretty obvious but the third is not directly linked to your posture, but can be a pain point DUE to bad posture and we want to avoid that, let’s get started:
So for this one, you can take either a massage ball (I’m using the Acuball), or a lacrosse/tenis ball. The idea is to get your neck from the side and “lie in to” the muscle. So you would place it between your shoulder and your neck and slowly tilt your head into that direction. It might feel a bit uncomfortable, so make sure to start out slowly.
2. Upper back
Our upper back gets hunched a lot when we’re working on a desk in a seated position, that’s why with this exercise you’d loosen it up, especially the tight spots around your scapula (shoulder blades).
Place yourself onto a foam roller (you can use a metal or aluminium pipe from the hardware store as well, but it’s a bit tougher), close your arms so that your upper back is exposed and slowly move from up position to down position.
Now hear me out, this might not be directly the reason for bad posture, but it is causing a lot of problems DUE to bad posture. The tightness in your neck reflects onto your shoulders and chest, which in turn may lock your biceps and cause nasty illnesses such as Carpal tunnel and other problems while working on a computer.
Lay your arm down straight, palms facing up. Take a massage ball (or lacrosse/tennis ball) and find the knots or bigger parts of the biceps (you’ll feel slight discomfort when pressing onto it).
Roll and massage as pictured in the gif, and keep the pressure up. Towards the end press onto the uncomfortable area and stay on it.
This is of course just a little part of what’s really need to properly fix your posture and move throughout the day.
That’s the reason I’ve built Posture Coach with two friends of mine.
It’s currently a Mac app (iPhone app is in the works!), that you can get in the App Store and it regularly reminds you to move and do certain exercises that will help you move more and stay healthy, while at the same time making sure that your posture is getting an upgrade, too!
Do yourself a favor and fix your posture with Posture Coach.
(How does that sound? We’ll throw in a knife set for you, too if you buy NOW! Kidding. It’s only a plastic knife.)
In all seriousness, I’m really proud of this first product and I’m sure it will help you in the long term, give it a try!
Not all exercises need equipment to do it, but some do. There are details about what kind of equipment (it’s pretty cheap all in all!) you’ll need to do the exercises.
Not ready for that type of commitment, yet?
I totally understand. If I were you I’d want to learn more about this stuff as well. That’s why I’ve created a special course on how to fix your posture with some friends over at Daily bits of.
You can check it out here and sign up below: