If you sit at a desk all day, this mobility exercise is for you. Simply put, sitting for an extended period of time tends to tighten, weaken and shorten the muscles in the front of your body (think pecs, biceps, hip flexors and abs), and can also weaken, tighten and/or lengthen many muscles on the back side of your body (think back of neck, back muscles, glutes and hamstrings). Bodies are smart and learn to adapt to the positions and movements you repeatedly put them in. So, after years of sitting you may notice your neck pokes more forward, your shoulders become rounded, your upper back is more hunched, your lower back aches, your butt sags and your hamstrings feel incredibly tight. Sounds nice right? Well, it isn’t because humans aren’t meant to sit all day!
You may think holding some 15-30 second stretches after a training session will help counteract sitting for hours at a time. It’s definitely better than nothing, but to really stretch out the front of your body and ‘switch on’ the muscle of your back and glutes, you’ll also need to incorporate mobility exercises that both stretch and strengthen your body at the same time.
This is where Table Rocks come in. (*Please be mindful this exercise is harder than it looks for some, and will definitely feel uncomfortable if you sit all day. You should never push through pain, especially if you’re feeling it in your elbows for this particular exercise).
To perform the movement, sit on the ground with your knees bent and your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders (Photograph 1). Your finger tips are pointed away from your heels. For some people who are extremely tight, this may feel like enough of a stretch without even moving, so stay in this position if needed. If you don’t have any elbow pain in this position, continue the movement by opening your chest, pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold your shoulders back and maintain straight elbows while you squeeze your butt to lift your hips into the air. The aim is to lift your hips so your body makes a ‘table top’ position. However, for some people just a little lift will feel like a massive stretch. Hold the position wherever you can for one second, then lower back down with control. Aim for 10 repetitions. Slowly come out of the position by leaning your torso forward. Your biceps and pecs should feel very stretched and this is what you want. A big stretch without elbow pain. This exercise can be done multiple times throughout the day, or at the beginning of a training session.
Give Table Rocks a try and let us know how you go.
If you’re interested in trying more mobility exercises to improve your posture and to reduce everyday aches and pains from stiff joints and strength imbalances, contact our Personal Trainer Ashley on 0736911601 or email email@example.com