Neck pain and lower back pain
Ok so we’ve taken care of the obvious bad posture problems, but let’s now talk about some everyday pains the desk pro may have and how I may be able to help solve or prevent them. Two main complaints I hear every week are lower back pain and neck tightness. How do we take this pain away? Stretch and strengthen! Now I’m not going to bore you with any fillers here. The following exercises are for you!
Exercise #5—The Plank
To strengthen the core I am just going to talk about one of the most basic total core exercises out there, the all mighty plank. It’s not an exercise that really looks like much and as far as movement goes, there isn’t much as it is primarily a static exercise. That being said, some progressions, which you can look into down the road once you have mastered a lengthy plank, exist. Do this exercise for 20-60 seconds at a time, repeat up to 10 times.
- Step 1) The only step. If I were to set a plank of wood across your back, it would be nice and straight and practically parallel with the floor. Refer to the picture below. The forearms are parallel to each other, shoulder width apart. Put feet together, keep glutes (butt) tight, abs drawn in toward your spine and shoulders pulled back. Hold yourself off the ground on your toes and forearms. Hold.
Exercise #6—The Side Plank
This is the sister of the plank and will target more of your oblique muscles or as some people like to call them, the love handles.
- Step 1) From the previous plank position, turn to your side and hold your body off the ground on one of your forearms and lie your feet on top of one another. Place top hand on your hip and hold position while keeping abs tight. Make sure to repeat on the opposite side as well. This will engage the oblique muscles closest to the ground.
Exercise #7—Neck Tuck
This one will help out with tension headaches and hopefully help to alleviate some neck tightness and pain. Because your neck tends to fall forward all day when concentrating on your computer or device in front of you, these anterior muscles become weak. So to strengthen them, we will practice the neck tuck. Do this 10 times for 3 sets throughout the day.
- Step 1) While standing, sitting or lying down, take your fingers and push back on your chin as to push it back in line with your neck. Hold for about 5 seconds and then return to beginning position. Repeat this for 20 repetitions and do this at least 3 times per day.
Exercise #8—The Shoulder Shrug
Those who sit at desks all the time also start to pick up the bad habit of letting your shoulders fall and become too relaxed. The primary muscles that hold your shoulders up are the upper traps. The shoulder shrug will work to isolate these muscles to add strength and take some of that pull off of your neck as well.
- Step 1) Begin by standing tall with good posture while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Step 2) Pull your shoulders up as high as possible trying to touch your ears.
- Step 3) Slowly return your shoulders to starting position.
Feature image courtesy of Simon James