Bodyweight Exercise Bodyweight TV Flexibility & Mobility

Banish the Office Worker Hunch

Written by Ryan Murdock

Okay folks, it’s time to get back to office life, where we’re busy kicking holy hell outta overcompensations.

You’ve had a couple weeks to work with the Shin Box Switch — if you missed it, first of all, shame on you. Second, pop over to the link, read the article, and get to work. You have nothing to lose but your pains…

Okay, bad pun, I know. But those of you who diligently worked with this movement over the past couple weeks should already be experiencing greater hip range of motion and much less lower back discomfort.

Mike did the work, and check out his results:

I can not thank you enough for posting this video. Having now worked to almost flat to the ground, it has improved so many other ranges of motion I can not believe it! My hips both had dull pain in them 24-7—-NOT ANY MORE! Thanks again

Well done brother! You’ve made us proud.

Now it’s time to take it a step further.

Several of you wrote in to ask about movements that address the shoulders and upper back. That’s where we’re headed next…

It’s been a couple weeks, and our dime store Quasimodo has been diligently practicing his hip mobility. It’s time to address the next link in the tension chain. If you put in the work and perform these three movements daily, you’ll be walking upright faster than you can say “hunch be gone!”

Your first exercise is a Thoracic Surge. You’ve gotta mobilize the area to break up fascial adhesions and get blood flow and nutrients back into the bits that are locked up before you go deeper. Begin with 10 or 20 slow, smooth reps of this, and then hold both the front and back position for 30 seconds to a minute — just until you feel that tension start to melt away.

Once you’ve gone beyond your short range stiffness, it’s time to break out the Double Handcuff. No, this isn’t some sadistic device your boss purchased to keep you attached to your desk. It’s a very simple but very effective release for the shoulders, and it’ll go a long way towards righting that forward hunched posture so typical of wielders of the pen.

You can practice both these movements throughout the day in even the smallest cubicle, and bang out a few after your evening commute to put the perfect polish on your day. But save the last movement — the floor variation — for evening hours, lest you be accused of lying down on the job.

Your last movement is the Shoulder Bridge. Do this at the end of your day, and take the time to go deeply into it. Pay special attention to the shoulders. Roll them up and back to open your chest in order to compensate for a full day in your chair. Start with 30 second holds, and build up to a minute. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of this one.

Here’s a short video to coach you through the movements:

Give these a try and let us know how it goes.

If there’s enough interest, we can address wrist and elbow overcompensations in a future installment.

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About the author

Ryan Murdock

52 Comments

  • Hey guys, I’ve been checking our your site and receiving your emails for a short while now…these exercises are possibly some of the most “useful” exercises I’ve ever seen. I have my Human Res manager looking at them in hopes she will see the benefits and maybe we can share them with everyone at a Health Fair we are having in the fall. Many thanks!!
    JH

  • Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for these exercises. I sit at a computer all day, and these are a great help. It’s taking some of the stretches I already do and making them more efficient. Now I know some better technique on them too! Thanks!

    And, yes, I’d like some tips on repetitive strain matters.

    In my particular case, I had a motorcycle accident about 5 years ago, where I landed on my head after flying through the air from 80 km/h. Thankfully I got up and walked away from that, rather miraculously. But my C3/C4 were damaged a bit, and that causes me some strain when using my computer mouse with my right hand. Somehow things sometimes get locked up and I have to stretch it all out to get nerves and blood flowing right again, instead of a pins-and-needles feeling. I want to know more of what I should do when that happens, as well as how to avoid it happening at all.

    If you know how to replace a C3/C4 that’d be great too … but that’s admittedly a tall order! LOL

    Anyway, thanks again for all the great content you and Adam put out!

    • Chris,

      Neck mobility and wrist stuff coming up in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

      Have you had your neck assessed by a health care professional in the past year or so? It sounds like you’d benefit from some manual release – mobility and compensatory work would help you hold that release, but it isn’t a substitute for treatment.

  • I followed the shin box before which I know from the BER compensation flow but these upper back and shoulder ones really add to it. I actually find that whole compensation flow from BER useful after a long stint on the computer.
    However you mentioned carpal/forearm releases. As a p/time masseur and p/time administrator my hands/forearms get a tough time of it. I find Rocca’s, pressups, crows etc quite hardgoing on the wrists/hands on days when my workouts fall on my heavier work days.
    Any help towards that would be fantastic.

    cheers
    Daryl

  • I found the last desk jockey exercise really good and these sound good but the link doesn’t give me any video, so I can’t see how to do them. Please advise.
    Thank you.

  • I was wondering the same thing as Peter. There was a lot of neck flexion in the videos and with neck flexion and forward head carriage being such an issue with office work, how do you address that concern?

  • Love these exercises. As a sufferer of cervical spine degeneration from long computer and drving hours, these exercises are very pertinent and useful. looking forward to response to Rachel and Peter’s comments also. The wrist and elbow remedys will be very important as well! I’m excited that finally someone is addressing these very common problems!

  • Hey, solid stuff (as usual)! I’ve been using these and similar exercises to work on my back for a while, so I can attest to their efficacy. I’m definitely curious what can be done for wrists and forearms, though. I’ve tried some of the wrist mobility from IntuFlow, and the drill bit hold, and those are keeping it together, at least, but my mousing hand is still terribly, well… clicky. As in, it grates and clicks all the time.

  • GREAT EXERCISE SUGGESTION..I WOULD LOVE TO SEE SOMETHING ON ELBOWS AND CARPAL TUNNEL..THANK YOU AND KEEP THE GREAT VIDEOS COMING

  • Ryan,

    This is greately appreciated! I like how you always provide modifications in case the ‘recommended’ position cannot be done due to some type of limitation. That way no one feels left out!

  • This may sound A wee presumptive….But after four months of regular excerise…and a restricted diet. WHAT I SEE ON THE MIRROR IS REFLECTIVE ON MY CHEST-ABS -THIGHS. FIFTY LEVERAGED PUSH UPS IS DONE IN A WHIFF- Will send the detailed chart body measurements FOR THE PAST MONTHS. THANK YOU GUYS. AS I READ. THIS PROGRAMME ROCKS. WAY TO GO……

  • I wasn’t able to do the Shin Box thing but I CAN and will do these TS/shoulder exercises – when you sit and transcribe long enough, the shoulders get very tight. I roll my shoulders probably every half hour to hour, but this looks a lot more effective than simply rolling. Thanks!

  • I work at computer all day long and these two exercises worked wonders for me. I want more!

    If you keep on doing this, the whole world will flock to your site! And I would definitely buy a product if it was targeted at office workers who are in a relatively bad shape (like me) 😀

  • Ryan, I’m a desk jockey and I agree these are great exercises for compensation. I’m curious to know what your opinion is on spinal rocks for desk jockeys. I have coach Sonnon’s Be Breathed programme, and your own Beyond Situps programme and enjoy practicing them both, but only recently I have wondered if all that forward flexion (in those programmes) is such a good idea for a desk jockey who is already chronically forward flexed. Should I back off the rocks and focus on the above moves more?
    Thanks

    • Nick,

      Sitting at a desk is passive forward flexion. It isn’t training your core, so you’ve still gotta address weakness. That comfy desk chair is an artificial support, and it isn’t there when you get up and move in more dynamic ranges.

      Don’t discount core training. The key is to train the ENTIRE core – not just focus on prettying up the six pack we see in the mirror. Be Breathed is a great starting point. Depending on where you’re at, you may also want to cycle a few basic TVA exercises through your routine. And include movements that teach you to integrate and connect the core with the rest (if you’ve seen TACFIT Commando, Scott talks a lot about this in the instructional vids).

      Finally, compensation, compensation, compensation. There are always two goals: to compensate for the exercises in your current training program, and to compensate for the daily stuff you’ve been putting in for years. In this case, your training program (be breathed) and your life stuff (desk work) both involve forward flexion. Release that in the opposite direction through your prasara practice, and strengthen the other 5 degrees of freedom to balance things out.

  • Hi Ryan,
    Thanks so much. Great information as per usual.
    Any possibility of advice on compensation for the load and tissue stress in the shoulders, elbows and wrists experienced by holding the pads for boxers all week. I use alot of RMAX material to prime and unload but any specific advice would be much appreciated.
    Once again thank for the life changing work you guys do. I hope to get over and meet you all one day.
    Regards,
    Aaron Hogben, Coffs Harbour, Australia

    • Hi Aaron,

      I put a call in last night to our boxing expert, Brandon Jones of 690 Gym in LA. He just released a product about mitt work for fitness, and he had to put in a lot of time holding for his fighters. I remember him telling me what a kickass workout just holding the mitts was!

      Anyway, this was his advice:

      “There’s two causes and nothing I’ve found short of rest does the job. The problem is either he’s holding them without good structure or his people are beginners or can’t hit well. Poor or beginning punchers will hurt you because of bad mechanics. If you hold them wrong it’ll hammer you too. Honestly, I’ve been trying to find something that works well and rest seems to be the best.”

      Hope that’s helpful.

      Ryan

      • Thanks for getting back to me so soon Ryan.
        I’m almost certain my structure is solid and sound. Yes I get caught out with beginners sometimes – especially if I am focusing on correcting their hip rotation or footwork. Alot of beginners (especially males) try to hit the pads too hard and they drive up and through the pad instead of screwing the punch into the centre of the target and snapping it back into the guard. Every now and then I get caught out as they clip the top of the pad causing a sharp dorsiflexion of the wrist.
        Personally I find taiji and qigong help me the most as a rejuvinative practice to restore my system. I would be lost however if I had not come across the RMAX material – all starting with the Warrior Wellness material.
        Thank you once again. Take Care.

  • Wow, as far as I can see, this is an epidemic to the point where most people seem to think that it’s normal and natural. I’ve been trying to help to educate people to the necessity of correcting these postural deformities. These four movements/postures will go a long way toward helping folks to learn to correct these problems. Yes, please, show us the other releases for the elbows and wrists. Great stuff. Thanks, eugene.

  • The shin box and upper body compensations are really great. If I had been doing these for the past few years, I could have avoided a lot of pain and expensive physical therapy. Those postural problems really creep up on you over time and they are difficult to fix once they start causing problems because they form over such a long time. I’m convinced that it is imperative to specifically target the problems caused by prolonged sitting posture, and not just assume our regular workouts will take care of it. Thanks for posting these. Add me to the list of people very interested in seeing what you have for wrists and elbows too.

    Todd
    .-= Todd I. Stark´s last blog -> A classic battle of politicized science- Kamin vs Eysenck =-.

  • I’ve been battling plantar fascitis and related foot problems for almost two years now. I’m a personal trainer so very active and always on my feet. I’ve tried all the “popular” remedies, stretches, orthotics, Aleve, ice, rest, etc. with no lasting relief. If you can help me fix this problem you’ll likely be in line for a Nobel Prize! Any suggestions?

  • these are great! my husband suffers from low back pain, so I will be heading over to the previous link to see if I can help him. The only downside (for me) is that I am on dialup, so it takes FOREVER to load. I would appreciate written descriptions alongside the videos, but I understand that may not be possible.

  • Awesome exercises Ryan! I suffer from “pram-pushing and breastfeeding hunch” and lots of mid-upper back pain and tight muscles. Just doing these exercises through a couple of times has made a HUGE difference. Thank you! I was starting to get really worried about becoming one of those hunched-over old ladies… :-O

  • Hey Ryan, These and the shin box square feel really really useful, thanks a million.
    It would be great if you do find the time to do wrists and arms.
    Much appreciated as always,
    Snake

  • Thank you for this. I feel better after doing this just once. I am very interested in hearing about addressing the elbow over-compensations. My elbows hurt a lot.

  • Great! Thanks for putting this one up. It’s took me a week to find time to sit down and look at this properly.

    What I don’t understand is, why do we hold the rounded back/arms forward/pelvis tilt forward for 30 seconds, when this is the position that we are trying to correct? My brain is saying just do the rear shoulder stretches to compensate for being hunched up.

    I’m sure there’s a good reason, if you could give a brief explanation please, I’d much appreciate it.

    • Joe,

      We’re priming with mobility first, and that always means moving through the full range of motion. Once everything’s primed, we can go deeper with compensatory movements. Make sense?

      • Thanks for the reply. Whilst I sit here with a cup of tea waking up, I’ll ponder it. With any luck the sense will filter through at some point. I actually used these techniques when I got in from work last night, to try and combat 8 hours driving before bed. Hopefully they’re be some improvement. Well actually it can’t be no worse. So video and explanation very much appreciated.

  • Another great video! I could not get my hands flat together behind my back when I started so I held a kettle bell. A few sessions and I can now clasp them palms together! Thanks it feels great! Mike

  • The office worker hunch series is great and just what i needed for me and my clients. This type of training tips are invaluable and very practical..

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