Workplace Exercises

Always seek appropriate professional advice prior to any new exercise activity. If you experience any discomfort, please seek medical attention.

A disturbing number of patients are presenting these days with neck, shoulder, and upper back complaints. I truly believe these come from the workplace, stress, anxiety, and the use of mobile phones and tablets. I’ve developed a series of exercises that can be done in the workplace but if you experience any pain during these exercises you must consult your registered osteopath or preferred healthcare practitioner.

We’ll be working with a foam roller for each exercise which should be performed on a non-slip surface if possible. Remove your shoes as this provides better proprioceptive information to the brain.

Exercise 1

Good for improving your posture.

Place the foam roller in a vertical position and lie on the full length of it. Ensure your spine is in a neutral position. Extend throughout the length of the spine. The chin should be down breathe out sideways into the ribs – (using the diaphragm) - five times.

Exercise 2

Good for improving your posture.

The next stage of this exercise challenges the position of the spine. Extend your arms up above your shoulders. Protract and retract the shoulder blades by extending the arms. The arms should not be straight or bent but soft through the elbows as the movement essentially comes from the shoulder blades. Repeat five times. Turn the shoulders in and then out to discover where the stiffness may be before progressing to a circular motion. Repeat five times.

Exercise 3

Good for releasing tight pectorals.

This exercise opens up the chest and the muscles of the chest area. Lying down, extend your arms out to the side and by your head in a goalpost position. It’s natural for the shoulders and front of the chest to feel a little tight. Progress the exercise with a movement known as child’s snow angels. With the back of the hands facing down, move your arms down to your side and then back up to your head in a slow and controlled manner all the while breathing through the nose. This will significantly open up the front of the chest and help improve your posture. Repeat five times.

Exercise 4

Good for introducing rotation.

Place the foam roller underneath your neck and lie on your right side with your right arm stretched out in front – the foam roller may be uncomfortable for some, so use a pillow under the head if necessary. Rotate the trunk with controlled movement in your upper arm. Fix your eyes on your index finger to help control the movement. Ensure your core is engaged as you open up the chest. Breathe sideways through the diaphragm.
Repeat five times

Exercise 5

Good for challenging rotation.

Start the exercise on all fours and flex and extend your spine like a cat. Next place your hands on the foam roller. This challenges stability. Use five counts to round the spine and five counts to release. Vary the exercise by leaving the left hand on the foam roller and sliding the right arm underneath threading the needle. Return to the middle, round the spine into flexion, and then perform on the other side. 
Repeat five times