Your parents have said it for years, and you probably hear it more often now than ever.
“Sit up straight, don’t slouch.”
Like many athletes I hardly ever listened, until I realized that poor posture severely limits performance. To be honest, if Mom would have said, “You’re ruining your thruster,” I probably would have listened.
Like anyone I spend a lot of time on my computer, especially when I have a day off from training. I sit tall as long as I can, but eventually my posture starts to give. I constantly fight it, trying to sit back up straight.
What’s the big deal? Basically, spending an extended amount of time slouched over a computer with your head stuck forward will cause the muscles in the front of your shoulders to shorten, leading to a rounded upper back in time. This position will become very comfortable and it might turn into a default position, even if you’re training in proper position. Falling into this kyphotic position can lead to a ton of issues throughout the rest of your body. For example, if you need to reach overhead or press something you’ll probably over extend at the lower back and press the hips forward to compensate for that lost range of motion. This position is a temporary fix, but it will likely lead to strain, wear and injury. At best, you’ll never be able to perform the jerk correctly. That requires a vertical posture and flexible shoulders.
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Here’s my suggestion. Any time you start to feel yourself creeping forward into that slouched position, go spend a few minutes on a roller or hang from a pull-up bar. Even if you stand while working, it’s still easy to round forward like a question mark. Think of it like a challenge. The second you feel yourself fighting to hold things up right, go get on the roller. This habit will work wonders. Here are a few quick take-aways from the video:
- Check for a flat upper back before starting any work on your shoulder mobility.
- Start simple with some extensions over a foam roller.
- Using a “peanut” is going to be a bit more direct if you want to dig harder.
- The muscles in the front of the shoulders and chest could be short and tight as well. So, spend some time loosening up the pecs.
I’ve found that changing up my mobility routine often helps me to be more likely to work on these issues. I recommend that you play around with your routine, varying it often. If you keep it interesting you’ll be more likely to do it. It’s the habit that matters most.
Everyone just chill and remember to muscle up slowly. #armdaychamps A video posted by Michael McGoldrick (@mcg_faction) on
Again, there is no absolute right or wrong way to stretch. Just remember that it has taken time to mess things up, and it will take some time to gain strength in the new position. I can’t say how long it will take, but I know for sure that a couple of minutes a week is not going to be enough. Start with 2 minutes a day of stretching and adjust from there.
One final tip…You need good tools.
You are more likely to work on that rounded back if you’re constantly seeing rollers, bands and balls lying around. If you have to look for it you just won’t do it. That’s actually why I started making mobility kits.
The easier and more convenient it is make to the right decision the more likely you are to succeed.
Click to check out Mike’s kits.
I haven’t invented anything new in this video. This is simply a collection from some of my favorite coaches, including Kelly Starrett, Dave Durante, Grey Cook, Eric Cressey, and Ido Portal just to name a few.
These are drills that have worked for me. I hope they help you too. If you have any mobility questions, just leave them in the comments below. I’d be happy to answer.
Train hard, stand straight,