Now that we are living in an age where COVID-19 is running rampant throughout the world, we are forced to our homes in many cases and forced to now work from home on our computers either temporarily or permanently. With this being the case, we all run into issues of wanting to be comfortable at the computer and at the desk and tend to round our shoulders forward and slouch in our posture without even thinking about it. What this eventually turns into is an issue where the front of our body starts to tighten up and our posterior, or our back and rear deltoid muscles, start to become weaker which can lead to injuries later on down the road. So, how to we counteract this issue before we get to the point of no return?
Where do we start? Simple, what has started to tighten up will now need to be released, either through massage from a professional or there are things that you can do with items that you can buy for cheap at any athletic store or store that carries athletic supplies. What we call this is myofascial release, or basically taking the tight, knotted muscles and just pushing the knots out to be stretched back to normal. For this, as the video below will show, you will take a tennis ball and roll the ball from the shoulder down to the bottom of the chest running at an angle. The reasoning for this is this is how the chest muscle is oriented in the body, this is the way that the fibers run so we will need to go "with the grain" if you will in order to take the knots out.
Now that we have the knots out, how are we supposed to properly stretch out the muscles that we have now taken the knots out of? Well, the first stretch that we want to look as is something to help open up the chest and stretch the muscles out, so we look to the corner stretch for your chest which will be below. The key here is to spend 12 seconds at a 90 degree angle with your arms and then move to a 45 degree angle for 12 seconds and repeat twice. The reason why we switch up angles is the first will target the chest while the second will help with the front deltoid, the front muscle of the shoulder.
Finally, we now have some of the range back and the knots out, so now that we are in uncharted territory when it comes to mobility, we want to make sure that we are stable with this new range of motion. With this, we will look at 2 exercises specifically to work to bring those shoulders back. The first exercise that we want to look at is going to be a wall slide. The key here is to keep everything from the waist up glued to the wall and to reach up as high as you can, with control, and keep the elbows on the wall. From here, another thing we can do is I's, Y's, and A's. What these do is target all aspects of the upper back that have been neglected with this posture and work to add some strength into these areas. Same here as with the wall slides, make sure that everything from the waist up is straight up and down and the core is tight. As we start off, we may notice our lower back is arching because of the lack of strength, but we want to make sure to squeeze our core to help straighten up our upper body.
These are just some examples of things that we need to do in order to start to counteract the rounded shoulders but there are many more options as well that we can do. It is always important to start at the top and work to get the range of motion back and to then also make sure that we are mobile BEFORE we move into stability. If we do both at the same time, we will not only be adding strength to a poor posture, but we will also start to take longer to get to where we need to be and to correct it. Along with this, we will need to start to be mindful of how we sit and what we do when we are sitting and work to make those small changes everyday in order to see improvement in our posture and prevent future pain. Hopefully this was a very informative first blog post and we hope to keep brining on more great content to this blog in the near future. Stick around for the end of the week blog post on foam rolling and the benefits that come from that.