In this edition of “Worst Inventions Ever”, I’ll be changing your paradigm about something that you use every day, all day, even though you’re ruining your body forever because this particular invention actually despises you and your fitness goals.
This abomination of abdominal abscess, this pioneer of poor posture, this sultan of sensational slouching is called a ‘chair’ by many people in the world, but would be more correctly referred too as a ‘corpus morsus’ which is Latin for ‘hunchback machine’. (no source)
The human body was built to stand, walk, run, and stay active. By relegating ourselves to chairs for the majority of a workday, we essentially deactivate the following muscles:
Internal and External Obliques
Pretty much every muscle in the elusive core that we all chase at our respective temples of fitness by doing single leg plyometric kettlebell squat thrusts on a bosu ball. Every muscle from your armpits to your knees is deactivated, or turned off while you sit.
Time for a quiz!
Do you want a six pack or nice abs?
Do you sit during the day?
If you answered A to either of these questions, you lose.
However, for those of us who have office jobs and can hardly convert to a standing desk. (a fantastic idea if you have the means) there is hope. (not much though).
By practicing correct posture and abdominal bracing while you sit, you can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with chronic sitting. Figure out how to stand correctly first, with your spine in a neutral position by standing up, and trying to flex all of the aforementioned muscles at the same time. Keep your back tight, chest up, butt and quads tight, and push your stomach out to engage your abs much like you were pushing out against a belt. You don’t have to be straining, but there should be a good deal of tension in all your muscles.
A good litmus test for if you’re doing this right is if you were to stand up in the middle of the office and do it, people would be looking at your strange, and someone would hopefully ask you if you were mad about something.
Now continue to hold that position as you sit back down. You chest should be up, shoulders down, and abs tight with your back not touching the back of your chair.
If you catch yourself slouching, snap yourself with a rubber band, because you have no right to do that. What, are you tired from your long day sitting? Negative. Stop being posture lazy and fix yourself.
We’ve all seen the elderly (and young) people with rounded upper backs. That’s called thoracic kyphosis, and it’s caused by tight chest, and a weak upper back from sitting poorly, often times in front of a desk. If you want a built in system to make sure that you don’t hunch during the day, stand up straight with perfect neutral posture, and have someone put a strip of duct tape across your back, a little lower than each shoulder. You’ll definitely remember to sit upright, especially if you’re hairy.
Want a built in way to keep yourself from having a hunchback and shoulder problems for the rest of your life? Grab a band that’s not too heavy, and with straight arms and, you guessed it, perfect neutral posture, pull the band apart, taking care to squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold it for a second. Do this 100 times per day, and you’ll have a sexy back, and even sexier posture.
For more suggestions on how to improve yourself in this arena, read this article, written by my best friend.
If you find that you have problems with posture, or upper back mobility, post to the comments, and I can help you improve that and improve your life.