Stretches For The Office Warriors

Sitting for several hours a day working away at a desk can lead to adverse effects on the body. The human body is not designed to withstand seated postures for more than an hour at a time. When seated for extended periods of time, muscles around the hips, spine and legs can become tight as they are in stationary positions and not being utilised through active movements. Muscles in the wrists can also become tight if the hands and wrists are constantly being used for activities such as typing. Muscle tightness can progressively get worse over time and lead to aches and pains. These aches and pains can then result in reduced activation the muscles which can lead to reduced muscle strength and subsequent movement impairments.

It is important to manage muscle tightness in order to prevent and/or reduce associated pain and movement limitations. At Capital Physiotherapy our physiotherapists can help reduce the aches and pains in the office-worker through targeted treatment strategies. Our physiotherapists also emphasise the importance of self-management of reducing tightness through regular stretching in the workplace. Capital physiotherapy have devised a series of stretches that can be performed regularly in the workplace to reduce muscle tightness and discomfort. Our physiotherapists recommend stretching every hour or two, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

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5 quick and easy way to make your work station more ergonomic

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By Leah Christoforou

 

The Proper Lunge Technique

Last week, we wrote about squat technique. Lunges, like squats are one of the best exercises you can do in the gym too. It’s another exercise that can effectively work on more than one area of your body. An effective exercise means your body will gain the most out of it, so you can reach your goal quicker! However, just like an improperly done squat, the wrong technique will cause you injury and future issues in the knees. It is important that you scrutinise your technique and concentrate on the quality of your lunge.

Not only are lunges great for your body, but they are easily done anywhere you’d like to exercise. You may see lunges done out in the park during boot camps (*shivers*). You may also see them done in the gym; you can be creative and use the different weights and bars to increase the intensity of your lunge routine. We personally like to do the lunge at the comfort of our own home. It’s an easy exercise that your body will thank you for!

The most important factor while doing lunges are to make sure your knees are positioned correctly throughout the movement. This means:

  • Your knees do not move past your toes at the front
  • Your knees do not move rotate inwards
  • You keep your body nice and upright

By making sure you follow the above rules, you reduce the chance of any wear and tear around your knee caps as well as reducing any issues that arise due to improper technique. By having your knees moving in the correct way, your knee caps are able to distribute the force much more evenly around its surface area; this reduces stress building up on only one area of the knee cap.

In addition, by doing the exercise correctly, you will gain the most out of your lunge. Correct technique allows your muscles to function at its most effective; which means you can progress yourself and get stronger quicker!

Make sure you have a chat with one of our physios to get the most out of your routine!

The Proper Squat Technique

Squats are one of the best exercises you can do in the gym (or at home!). This is because it is one of the few exercises that works multiple areas of your body. This makes it an efficient exercise to make you stronger quicker! However, when done incorrectly, squatting can cause a lot of issues to your knees. Improper technique results in imbalanced pressures around your knee cap, which will accelerate wear and tear.

Not only are squats great for your body, but they are easily done anywhere you’d like to exercise. While the gym is a great place, as you can use different bars with weights to challenge yourself. However, you can do squats at home or even at the park! The best exercises are the ones you can do anywhere. This means you won’t skip your exercise day and get the most out of it!

The most important factor while doing squats are to make sure your knees are positioned correctly throughout the movement. This means:

  • Your knees do not move past your toes at the front
  • Your knees do not move rotate inwards

By making sure you do not do the above, you reduce the chance of any wear and tear around your knee cap as well as reducing any issues that arise due to improper technique. By having your knees moving in the correct way, your knee caps are able to distribute the force much more evenly around its surface area; this reduces stress building up on only one area of the knee cap.

In addition, by doing the exercise correctly, you will gain the most out of your squat. Correct technique allows your muscles to function at its most effective; which means you can progress yourself and get stronger quicker!

Strength and Conditioning

The deadlift

The deadlift is both the best and worst exercise for your back. This depends entirely on your technique.

If you deadlift correctly, you will build an extremely strong core and posterior chain. The posterior chain is simply the backside of your body and its primary muscles include the lower back, gluteus maximus (glutes), hamstrings, and calves The posterior chain is often neglected by the average gym goer however it is probably the most important.

Benefits of the deadlift in no particular order include the following:
1 – Development of power and strength for sports
2 – Prevents injury if done correctly
3 – Increased muscle mass
4 – Increased fat burning: By increasing muscle mass your metabolic rate increases.
5 – Better posture: Deadlifting strengthens your core and as stated earlier your posterior chain which is responsible for keeping you upright/erect.
6 – Improved grip strength
7 – Increased hormone production – Testosterone increases muscle growth and improves muscle repair while growth hormone, which is produced by your pituitary gland, promotes tissue healing, bone strength, muscle growth and fat loss.
8 – Improves cardio respiratory fitness.

In my professional opinion everyone who intends to deadlift (and they should) needs to have proper coaching/form to help avoid injury at all costs. In the long run you will not only avoid those injuries but will lift heavier and get more out of your workout. So make sure you invest in a good personal trainer/physiotherapist who has experience in teaching proper technique.

Deadlifting Incorrectly

Deadlifting incorrectly can result in many different injuries. These injuries include but are not limited to the following: Disc prolapses , Facet joint injuries, muscle strains.

Disc prolapse: When the centre of the intervertebral disc (a jelly like substances) pushes through the fibrous outer ring and can push on nerves or surrounding tissue. This can cause debilitating pain and neurologic symptoms.

Facet joint injury: Each vertebra connects with the vertebra above and below via two types of joints: the facet joints on either side of the spine and the intervertebral discs centrally. During certain movements of the spine stretching or compressive forces are put on these joints which in turn can result in injury.

Muscle strains: Muscle strains in the lower back (erector spinae muscles) can happen when load being lifted is too much or improper technique is used.

If you injure yourself deadlifting it is important not to panic/stress. This can make the problem and recovery time a lot worse.

Stop the activity immediately and do not continue any other exercises in the gym as again this can make things a lot worse. Put ice on the affected area as soon as possible. If you are in a lot of pain non-steroidal anti inflammatories such as Nurofen (ibuprofen) or voltaren (diclofenac) may help.

Often people with back injuries believe it is best to rest however it has been found it is best to keep moving if at all possible, so try minimise prolonged sitting and keep yourself moving.
Book yourself in to see a physiotherapist for a professional opinion. They will be able to assess the severity of your injury and guide your rehab process so you are able to get back to the gym as soon as possible and avoid further injury.

Any physical activity can cause injury. Yes, you can hurt your lower back with Deadlifts. But more people hurt their back outside the gym than doing deadlifts. Sitting slouched at work for hours is bad for your lower back. So is picking up something at work by bending over with straight legs and a rounded lower back. Everybody knows somebody who never did deadlifts but hurt his lower back anyway at work or home.