If you have a desk job or you are a student stuck to your desk then this post is for you. You sit for prolonged periods probably trying to keep somewhat relatively good posture but you feel your hips “tighten” and your back begin to cry for a bit of TLC. Our bodies are not built to sit for prolonged periods of time. Inactive glutes “bum” stuck to your chair are crying out to be used ,hips flexed and shoulders crouched, tight wrists and fingers from beating on the keyboard are some of the symptoms. Here are 5 tools to help rid of your back pain, improve your posture and give you the freedom to move.
The passive hang is my go to exercise for shoulders. Is it plain and simple and it is what it says on the tin. One grips a bar overhead and hangs passively for a period of time. One can aim to try the 7 minute hanging challenge by simply accumulating 7 minutes of hanging throughout the day. Why is hanging important you may ask? A passive hang is one of if not the best exercises for increasing shoulder mobility and it relieves compression on the spine. So if you haven’t tried this one before, go out get yourself a pull up bar or a branch on a tree and get hanging.
90/90 Glute stretch or Pigeon Stretch
I don’t know why this stretch is called a pigeon stretch because I’ve never seen a pigeon stretch, however, we’ll move on. This stretch loosens out your gluteal muscles ( your bum muscles). You basically lie with one leg in front at a 90 degree angle and the opposite leg is straight behind your body. The aim is to get your front glute or bum cheek as close to the ground while squeezing the opposite glute. It sounds a lot harder than what is it. Check this video out and you can practice it at home.
Hip Flexor Stretch.
The hip flexor muscles are attached to the hip joint which allow the femur to flex in the pelvis. The hip flexors can become very “tight” due to being contracted from an excessive amount of sitting. Therefore, stretching them can relieve some of that “tightness” that you may feel.
The hip flexor stretch shown in the video is one of the easier regressed versions of this exercise. If you came to ACLAI, the coaches would show you a progressed version of this exercise as it requires coaching to maintain good posture while performing the more advanced exercise. Check out the video so you can use it at home.
I know you’ve heard it so many times already, about the squat and how it builds a nice good bum, however, there is so much more to this exercise than meets the eye. It is a movement that we do naturally as children but lose when we become seat ridden. Take a look at any toddler and how they squat down to grab a toy from the floor. Being half Asian I have been exposed to a culture that still uses the squat in everyday life. My grandmother pictured below is 77 years old and she squats while cooking. Squatting is so very important and is hugely beneficial in keeping your hips loose and mobile. Squats are king, do them every day, all day.
Kettle bell Swing
The Kettlebell swing is such an underrated exercise, it is an easy exercise to learn however, I would recommend getting a coach to guide you along with it because from my own experience as a coach a lot of people start to extend at the back which is not what we want. Hip Extension is the main action of a kettle bell swing which really works your glutes. Strong glutes protect your back and are the most important locomotive muscles for long distance running and sprinting.
To conclude, all of these exercises and stretches can easily be done at home. However, I would recommend getting in touch with a good coach to help you through a kettle bell swing and a squat so that you can have the best technique. Keep moving, keep stretching. Enjoy. You can also follow the link below if you are interested in taking our mobility course in ACLAI, which is a 30 minute stretching and mobility class every Wednesday at 1pm, 10 sessions for €160.
This article was written by Shakira Coonghe Bsc.