I’m going to call it “desk shoulders,” but truth be told, shoulder issues plague everyone not just people who work at a desk. These issues are most commonly seen in people who work at a desk daily. I should probably contribute shoulder issues to people sitting more in general. We sit to eat. We sit to drive. We sit to watch TV. We sit to work. You get the point…
I have found from the sheer number of people who visit me with shoulder problems that the primary contributor is posture. I have found that many people in Louisiana poses a more comfortable relaxed posture as we chat with our friends or go about our daily activities. Being from Lafayette myself, I’ve named this posture the “Cajun Stance.” Not only does my entire family seem to stand this way, but many people I observe here in Louisiana possess the same troubling posture. Shoulders round forward, which makes the back round. The hips tuck and the knees lock back. Can you picture it?
I have personally worked hard to change this posture myself. While living in Denver, my coworker would often comment on how I hyperextend my knee. I didn’t realize until I returned home that it is very common for Louisianans (not so much in Colorado). Here is my call for you to assess your own posture. Stop and take the time to look in a mirror. Turn to the side and view how your stand naturally. Do your shoulders appear to round forward?
Bad posture causes the muscles in your chest to shorten and the muscles in your back to lengthen making them both weak. Muscles function best at their proper length/tension relationship meaning shortened muscles can’t produce the proper force and a lengthened muscle the same. We need to try to keep all our joints in their anatomical position for them to function properly. So with this type of posture, the muscles found under our shoulders are especially compromised. This week the exercise I present in the picture and in the video online will assist you in trying to rebalance your shoulders.
Now, just performing these exercises alone will help but you will need to take additional steps to alter your posture. I need you to also mentally throughout your day think about standing up tall and imagine channeling a turtle poking its head out of its shell. This will allow the shoulders to sit back, the chest to rise up and also make you even feel better and look better. And who wouldn’t want that?!?
This exercise will help your shoulder external rotators, as well as your shoulder depressor muscles. Perform regularly as a corrective exercise or utilize before a strength workout as a warm-up.
- Lie prone (face down) on a flat surface with arms in what I like to call goal post position
- You can rest your forehead down
- While keeping your elbows on the ground, lift your forearms off the ground and hold for 6 seconds, 6 sets.
* If any of the exercises seem to be causing more pain or discomfort, please stop the exercise immediately. Don’t hesitate to email me about what seems to be going on, and I will try to help or advise you to find someone who can. Most importantly, listen to your body and learn to understand what it is telling you. Our bodies have great intuition if we listen!