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Work Break Stretching For Better Performance

Work Break Stretching For Better Performance

                Sitting at a desk for 8 hours is torture on both your body and your mind.  You are doing one of the worst things you can do to your body by succumbing to this behavior; but I am here to help.   A great way to break up your day and get more energy is to do mobility stretching throughout your day to perk you up and get energy flowing back into your life.

I recommend every 2 hours you get up from your desk to move around, and if your really smart do some of these exercises.  You will have to experiment and find out which ones are the most useful for you given your body type, posture and biomechanics.  I’ve been experimenting with different mid-day stretching and mobility exercises but this is my current routine below.

3-4 minute backward shoulder rolls to arm circles
Wall Slide
Self Myofacial Release w/ Piriformis Stretch
Fire Hydrate Circles
Bent Knee Iron Cross
Rear-foot-elevated Hip Flexor Stretch
Knee In front Swings
3-5 minutes just Moving/Dancing

Backward Shoulder Rolls to arm circles

I start with some shoulder movement, to both get the blood flowing and get my shoulders set back into their sockets properly.  We roll our shoulders back instead of forward because well seated at your desk chances are your shoulders naturally roll forward.  Also most men that go to the gym are chest dominate, and he act of rolling back your shoulders helps to release those tight pecs.   As you get loosed up you can turn them into arm circles or semi arm circles.  Trust your body and do what feels good.  One other key to this exercise is only moving your shoulders as much as your muscles will let you, start with small circles and feel the muscle as it let’s go.  The key is not to just move the shoulder, but to feel the muscle disengage from tension.

Wall Slide

Standing with your upper back and butt against a wall, walk your feet out approximately 18 inches away from the wall. Lift your arms up so that your upper arm is parallel to the ground and the lower arm is perpendicular, with the elbows and hands pressing into the wall behind you. From the starting position, try to pull your elbows back into the wall and down. This exercise is as hard as you make it, so take it easy to begin with then crank up the intensity once you start getting comfortable. If you’re performing this exercise correctly, you’ll feel it in between the shoulders blades.

Stand with your back to the wall and your feet about eight inches away from it. Lean back into the wall and maintain contact between the wall and your head, hips, and back. With your hands over your head, press your forearms against the wall, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slide your arms up the wall. Maintain contact the entire time.

Self Myofacial Release w/ Piriformis Stretch

Place either a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or baseball, place the ball on the ground, cross your leg over your opposite thigh then place your glute on the ball and just roll around for about 30 seconds.  Find the tender spots and focus on those.  Then straighten your leg out and roll up and down your leg with your leg stretched out.  The more it hurts and the more uncomfortable it is the more you need it.

After your done rolling go into a seated pisiforms stretch.


Fire Hydrate Circles

Put yourself on all fours keep your arms straight, belly button pulled pull your heel to your but without leaning your body in any way.  You want to get as much range as motion without leaning or moving your upper body.


Bent Knee Iron Cross

 

Lay down flat on your back; bend your knees as if you were going to do a crunch.  Put your hands palm down straight out to the side of you.  Put your knees up in the air so your upper legs are perpendicular to the ground and your lower legs are parallel to the ground.  Then drop your knees to one side and turn your head to the other side.


Rear-foot-elevated Hip Flexor Stretch

Use a bench or a chair; post the leg that you are stretching on the bench, and that knee on the ground.  Don’t hyper extend/over extend your back to get “more of a stretch”.  Put your arm on the ground to support yourself contract your glute and try and keep a neutral spine and bring your upper body up.  If you want to increase the stretch you can raise your hands over your head and slightly tilt in the opposite direction.


Knee In front Swings

Standing up bring your knee up so your upper leg is parallel with the ground and your lower leg is perpendicular.  Swing your foot from left to right and right to left keeping your upper leg parallel to the ground.


3-5 minutes just Moving/Dancing

This is something that I kind of stumbled upon that really should just be common sense, but will still be the hardest for most people to adopt.  Your body knows how to heal itself, and knows which muscles need activation and which ones need mobility work.  The key is to tap into this self-healing nature of the body.  Put on your favorite song that has a tempo that you can dance to and just move your body without consciously thinking about how your movement is helping to heal your body.  This is a practice that almost all tribal civilizations regularly engaged in.  Dancing around a fire to beating drums, letting your body go into a trance is a healing art form that for some reason has been swept under the rug.

The mixture of music and novel bodily exercise creates a spike in dopamine, more blood flow to the body and will wake you up.  The key is to realize it doesn’t matter if you think you look stupid, you probably do but who cares you’re doing something that is better for your body.

Conclusion

This is just a few of the many exercises that you can do throughout your day to get back some of the mobility that your time at the computer is sapping away from you.  The key is to understand is everyone is different, and the stretches I get the best results from are the not going to be the same for you.  Here is a list of other stretches and mobility exercises I recommend you try out mid-day, the start of your day or end of your day and see what stretches work for you at what time of the day.

List of More Stretches

Foam Roll IT Band: 10-15 passes

Foam Roll Adductors: 10-15 passes

SMR Glutes (lax ball): 30sec. – 2min.

Bent-knee Iron Cross x 5-10 each side

Roll-overs into V-sits x 10

Rocking Frog Stretch x 10

Fire Hydrant Circles x 10 fwd/10 bwd

Mountain Climbers x 10 each leg

Cossack Squats x 5-10 each side

Seated Piriformis Stretch x 20-30sec. each side

Rear-foot-elevated Hip Flexor Stretch x 5-10 reps (3sec. hold) each side

Front Leg Swings

Lat Stretch

Chest Stretch

Angled Chest Stretch

Spinal Extension

 

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