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3 ‘Anti-Desk Exercises’ You Can Do To Improve Your Posture and Relieve Upper Back Pain

ANDafter two years of working from home, your neck and upper back are killing you. You put your laptop on top of a couple of books on the kitchen table, do yoga and hope for the very best, but you are still tense and sore.

Why is that this happening?

Many of the activities which are integral to modern life appear to have been designed to generate bad posture. Rounding forward over a steering wheel, desk, or phone stretches the muscles within the neck and upper back while flexing the chest. Your thoracic spine – the part that runs out of your lower chest to just under your neck – naturally curves forward, and that forward curve can turn right into a hump over time as you spend hours every day in a hunched position.

I’m a Pilates instructor, and while everyone’s body is different, from what I’ve seen with my clients through the years, the important thing to “relieving” the neck and back is to strengthen what’s too loose and stretch what’s too tight. Here are three of my favorite exercises that can assist relieve upper back pain.

1. Foam roller arm wheels

This is an awesome exercise to stretch tight chest muscles and mobilize stiff shoulders. I wish to do that at first of my workout, however it’s also great for cooling down.

  1. Lie down on a foam roller with support to your entire spine (top of head to tailbone) and place your feet bone-distance apart.
  2. Pull your navel into your spine and stretch your arms towards the ceiling. Soften your chest in the froth roller and extend your arms way back to possible without expanding your chest.
  3. Lower your hands to your hips and return to the ceiling.
  4. Repeat three to 5 times in each direction.

Change: Hold one to 3 pound weights to extend the stretch.

2. Little cobra

The goal of this exercise shouldn’t be to provide you a shape that appears a certain way, but to strengthen your upper back and provides your thoracic spine some much-needed extension. Pay attention to that feeling – don’t fret about how high you’ll be able to get off the mat.

  1. Lie in your stomach and place your hands on top of one another under your brow. Rest your head in your hands and picture that your neck is lengthening – if you happen to like metaphors, imagine that you simply are a kitten grabbed by the neck.
  2. Lift your arms, head, and chest off the mat and hold for a moment, pull your shoulders away out of your ears, then lower yourself back to the mat.
  3. Repeat five times.

Variations: If you’re feeling quite a lot of tension in your neck during this exercise, try keeping your hands and forearms on the mat and lifting your head and shoulders barely upwards. If you have got a small exercise ball, you’ll be able to try placing it under your sternum for higher range of motion.

3. Chest expansion

This Pilates exercise stretches your chest and strengthens your upper back and shoulder muscles. You can do it with Pilates equipment, light weights, a resistance band or no equipment in any respect, but I believe a light-weight resistance band is a superb place to start out.

  1. Start by kneeling on the mat.
  2. Hold the band along with your hands about six inches apart at shoulder height. Pull the resistance band barely in order that your hands are barely further apart than your shoulders and you are feeling the activation of the muscles between your arms.
  3. Keep the band taut as you lower your hands to your hips and picture your clavicles widening.
  4. With your hands in your hips and keeping your chest open, look over your right shoulder, look over your left shoulder, then bring your hands back as much as shoulder height.
  5. Repeat six to eight times.

Change: If you have got sensitive knees, you’ll be able to do it standing up.

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