Summary: a few easy and quick fixes for your back, to prevent injuries, appearing old, as well as make you healthier and more attractive at the same time.
-Arching your back, and rotating your hips.
Length: 1187 words; pretty short (just as your psoases)
Sitters are people too
-LOL, as if
Let me guess; you’re a “sitter”.
-meaning you sit down in a chair or couch/sofa for several hours a day, sometimes even stretching single sitting-sessions to over an hour (sic).
If you are one of those lowly, ignorant and generally useless excuses for a human being, here’s a quick fix for you:
(I’m sure you’re looking for quick fixes; I mean, being a sitter and all, it’s pretty obvious you like short-cuts)
“Fix for what?”, you ask.
“Whaddyamean ‘fix for sitting’? Sitting is normal, and not just for ‘hours’ but for double-digit hours per day”
- The fixes prevent injuries like disc bulges, hernias and stiff necks – even restless legs
- You’ll become a better bench presser through more practice arching
- Your posture will naturally straighten from your current slouch
- With better posture comes improved hormone levels and immune system
Let’s describe these slippery suckers now. First up: the cobras.
During a particularly slouchy period of my life, I developed a disc bulge in my vertebrae. To get rid of it I was prescribed sets of 15 cobra-ups every waking hour, later every second hour, and yet later twice a day.
It took me about 8-9 months to get rid of the pains, sudden powerlosses and tingling in my back, glutes and hamstrings, not to mention restless legs syndrome (link to my article on how to get rid of RLS=WED).
I wish I had sat straighter, sat less or at least done a short set of cobras a couple of times a day, to prevent that disc from bulging in the first place.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah, get to the point already. How do you do the snake-y thingies?
A cobra-up is basically a push-up from the floor without raising the hip from the ground. You simply push off from the ground and arch your back as evenly distributed over the vertebrae’s all discs as possible. Then lower yourself back to lying flat on your stomach. Spend a few seconds on your way up as well as down, but there is no need to stay in either position.
If you’ve ever had a hernia or a stiff neck, I’m sure you’re already familiar with this technique. It’s recommended for loosening cramping muscles after throwing your back out.
However, it’s even better as a preventive tool, in effect “teaching” the body beforehand what range of motion is okay without risk of injury (and consequent painful cramping that can last for weeks). I perform the movements pretty quickly standing up before squatting or deadlifting at the gym.
All you have to do is wiggle your hip in three dimensions:
- move your hips closer to your ribs on first the left side, then the right, then the left, then the right… Try to increase the range of motion for every repetition. Do 10 on each side. This one can be tricky for men that never dance.
- alternate arching and rounding the back, strive for a stretching feeling in the lower back when rounding. Go slowly and deliberately, spend several seconds on the rounding, e.g. Do ten reps of arch+round
- turn your hip to the left and to the right without moving your upper body. This can be done pretty quickly. 10 reps to each side.
Sounds weird and difficult? You couldn’t be more wrong (Chandler Bing), but here’s a video to explain it all (in Swedish, but that doesn’t matter):
Neck-3D: Just as with the hips and lower back, you can prevent (or remedy) a stiff neck by doing the 3D exercise for the neck as well. Wiggle the head side to side, rotate it left to right, and up and down. There!
You can do them to loosen up a stiff neck, or as a prevention technique when sitting still too much in an air conditioned office (or before exercising – in particular after a day of sitting).
Foam roller: As a complement to the cobras you can lie down on your back on a foam roller. Just make sure to focus on arching and bending the thoracic spine, and not overarching the lumbar region.
Old stuff – squatting and couching
Cobras and Hipsters are the new lessons for sitters in this article. They are easy enough, can be performed anywhere and in just about any outfit.
Finding a foam roller takes a little more dedication – a level I don’t expect of a sitter. The neck thing, however, I’m sure even you can fit into your hectic day of 5 coffee breaks, 5 toilet breaks and reading the sport news online.
If you, against all odds, are interested in (almost) fully compensating for your sins (sitting), you want to add the two big ones to your daily routine. Actually “weekly” is enough if done properly, but daily is better.
Squatting is exactly what it sounds like. Sit down as low as you can go with your back straight (no rounding of the lumbar) and your feet flat on the floor. Vary your stance from broad to narrow. Try to stay in the bottom position for two minutes.
The couch-stretch is tougher. The good thing is that you can do it in front of the TV, in the couch. Spend, e.g., the 2-minute Game Of Thrones intro in the following position
If you’re not a TV or couch person, you can always stretch your psoases as a pro:
Full retard way:
Never mind Mr S to the left, who’s apparently shitting himself
Summary: cobras and hipsters
If you sit down several hours a day, you should try to compensate at least a little bit. One way is to add cobra-ups and some hip wiggle-jiggle in three dimensions to your daily habits. It will make you look better, be healthier and prevent injury. You’ll also familiarize yourself with a great remedy should you or someone close to you get injured anyway.
If you’re looking for something slightly more advanced; add neck-wiggling, foam rolling, squatting and couch stretching as well. However, if you’re that ambitious, my guess is you don’t sit that much to begin with.
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If you want more advanced mobility tips for more than just sitting and back issues, check out this post on an earlier blog I had.
P.S. Remember that short psoases are the reason old people walk, shuffle and stumble like old people