Ryan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at yhealthandwellness.wordpress.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
If you’re a sedentary person, office worker, or student, chances are you’re seated much of the day. This chronic position can easily lead to tight hip flexor and chest muscles, weak glutes, and under-activity of the lower fibers of the traps. These issues lead to imbalances in the body and can contribute to pain, injury, or poor posture among other things. Here are some great stretches and exercises to help counteract the damage we do from sitting so often.
Hip flexor stretch
How to: From a half kneeling position, lean the body forward keeping the front foot in contact with the ground and a nice tall posture. Brace the core and tighten the glute of the leg that has a knee in contact with the ground. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Stability ball chest stretch
How to: Take a kneeling position with a stability ball next to your side. Place one arm on top of the ball keeping a bent elbow. Gently drop your chest (keeping a neutral spine) towards the ground until a stretch is felt in the chest then hold for 20-30 seconds on one side, and then repeat on the other side.
90/90 Thoracic mobility drill
How to: Lie on your side with a 90 degree bend in the knees, and place a towel or pad between the knees. Squeeze the towel with the knees. Extend both arms straight and on the ground. Slowly lift the top arm off the other and rotate it to the opposite side, attempting to bring your back in contact with the floor. Keep hips and knees from lifting off the ground and rotating throughout the movement. Stop when you can no longer go any further without the knees rising up. Hold for 2 seconds then return to the start position. Repeat 6-8 times on each side.
Marching glute bridge
How to: Lying on the floor, looking up at the ceiling, put your hands out to the side (palms up) and bring your heels in close to your rear with bent knees. Squeezing your glutes, lift your hips off the ground until you’ve formed a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Holding this position, bring one bent knee into your chest then return it back to the ground. Repeat on the other side, alternating one leg at a time, and contracting the glute of the stable leg with each repetition. Try anywhere from 8-15 repetitions on each side.
Pivot prone pull (for lower traps)
How to: Assume a half kneeling position directly in front of a cable machine that has 2 upright arms. Reach up and grab the handles with palms facing each other. Squeeze the glute of the leg that has a knee in contact with the ground. Pull both handles down by driving the elbows towards the ground. As you pull down, begin to rotate your palms so that at the bottom of the movement your palms are facing away from one another, and your elbows will be pointed out to either side. Try anywhere from 8-15 repetitions on each side.