Do You Have Bad Office Desk Posture? How to Fix It!
If you have an office job, or any other type of job where you’re constantly sitting down at a desk looking at a computer for most of the day, this may have caused you to have bad posture.
Do a self check right now, is your back straight? is the monitor at eye level or are you looking down? Are your feet flat on the ground?
Chances are that you said no to one of those things. What does this cause over a period of time?
This causes bad posture when we stand up and walk in every-day life. You’ll end up with a kyphotic posture for your upper body (a forward rounding of the shoulders) and most likely a lordotic posture for your lower body (inward curve of the low back).
This is caused Kyphosis-Lordosis posture, and looks like a combination of “Lumbar Lordosis” and “Thoratic Kyphosis” in the following picture.
Lumbar refers to the area of spine in your low back. Thoracic refers to the area of spine from the middle of your back to your neck.
An easy way to remember this is to call it the Gorilla/Donald Duck Posture like I do. Your upper body has forward, rounded shoulders and your arms are possibly rotated inward, like how a gorilla stands and the lordosis causes your butt to stick out like how Donald Duck stands.
You may also very likely have the “Forward Head” postural deviation as illustrated above.
Of course there are other ways to end up with this type of posture, but the majority of people get it from their posture while their working at the computer. I’ll cover other ways people get postural deviations in another post.
So how do you fix this? Well, to get a better understanding of how to fix it, I’ll quickly describe which muscles are tight and which ones are possibly weak with a kyphotic-lordotic posture.
1. Pectorals – Your chest is tight and pulls your shoulders forward, making them “round out.”
2. Anterior deltoid – This is the front part of your shoulder. It also may be tight as it stays pulled forward.
3. Hip Flexors – Your hip flexors are responsible for moving your knee to your chest when you lift your leg. So you can visualize it, since you’re sitting down all day, those muscles are shortened and become very tight over time.
Since they’re tight, they tilt your pelvis forward and make your butt stick out.
1. Upper back/trapezius – Since your chest is tight and pulling your shoulders forward, your upper back and trapezius muscles are being overly stretched and thus cause an imbalance because they’re weak.
2. Glutes/hamstrings – Same concept here, since your pelvis is tilted forward, your hamstrings/glutes are being stretched and could be weak.
3. Abdominals – Since your lumbar spine has an exaggerated curve in it, it can push your midsection outward, which stretches your abs and could cause an imbalance.
What you want to do here is:
Stretch the tight muscles and Strengthen the weak ones!
Here are some examples of effective stretches for these body parts.
You can use your resistance training routine to emphasize more of the muscles that you know now are tight. The stretching is critical to making things balanced again.
This bad posture can very likely cause other problems such as chronic back pain. A lot of people don’t realize this, but some of the major hip flexor muscles are attached to the lumbar spine, so when they become tight, they pull on the low back, causing pain.
It just takes time like anything else. You can definitely stretch these muscles out every day, Maybe 2 or 3 sets of 20-30 seconds stretching for each muscle.