How do I fix back pain and poor posture are the most common questions I get each week.
If you spend your day at a desk, you might want to fix this too. In fact, as I’m writing this, I can feel my low back tighten and my neck get stiffer as I crane my head forward and look at the screen.
Unfortunately, a lot of people I talk with don’t realize that these daily frustrations are quite easy to fix.
Sitting for decades is why your back is sore and your shoulders are slumped forward
Here are 5 reasons people struggle to make actionable progress with their posture and back pain.
- Reason #1 – You’re sitting for 8+ hours a day
- Reason #2 – Your back and glutes are weak
- Reason #3 – Your shoulders are tight and restricted
- Reason #4 – You’re sitting environment never changes
- Reason #5 – Your chest and hip flexors are extremely tight
These are the 5 steps for how you are going to overcome these issues.
Let’s dive in:
Step 1: Use the 2 x 60 rule
Sitting 8+ hours a day is normal but not healthy. It’s easy to get sucked into work and when you combine sitting for breakfast, commuting to work, working, and watching TV in the evening, the hours add up quickly. Instead, practice the 2 X 60 rules.
For every 60 minutes you sit, go for a 2-minute walk. Set a timer at work and do your tasks, then go for a walk or grab something to drink. My client has a good idea to walk to the furthest toilet in the building!
Step 2: Strengthen your back and glutes
A lot of guys work on their chests and quads at the gym but they’ve got it backwards. Due to sitting, your posterior chain weakens and your anterior chain gets tighter. So you should focus more on strengthening the glutes and back with movements like deadlifts and horizontal rows.
This will fix a lot of shoulder issues and give you much better results over the long term.
Step 3: Start hanging
Hanging helps to open up the shoulders by stretching the lats. It also teaches you how to move your scapula independently of your elbows. This is one of the most challenging parts of the body I see clients struggle with and improving scapular mobility has a huge impact on posture, upper body stretch development and reduced injury risk with shoulders and elbows.
You can hang from a bar or rings and use your feet as training wheels in the beginning.
Step 4: Change Your Environment
Chances are you have always sat in a chair. As a result, your hips have been locked into the same 90-degree angle for decades so it’s no surprise your hips are so tight.
Instead of sitting at a chair for meals, for work, and for leisure, try ground sitting or standing instead. Have a phone call? Go for a walk or stand. Having a meal, sit crosslegged at your coffee table.
If you’ve ever been to Asia you’ll see how much more time locals spend in resting positions like ground sitting and squatting that isn’t in a chair. It’s no surprise their hip mobility is far better than any Western person.
You get good at what you practice each day so bring attention to your environment.
Step 5: Stretch The Front Of Your Body
Because of decades of sitting, you get very stiff through the front of the hips (hip flexors) and the chest area. Tightness in both of these areas can lead to poor posture as the tight chest pulls the shoulders forward and low back pain as the hip flexors can stress the lower back.
A simple fix is to lie on your back with a foam roller along your spine in a snow angel position f(or the chest to open) and do a couch stretch to open up the hip flexors.
If you’re on autopilot mode in the modern world you will sit all day, eat fast food and wonder why you’re in pain and have an aching body.
These 5 tips are easy to implement and sustain.
Remember you’re not born with poor posture or have a family history of back pain.
You just followed a similar path as your parents.
Break the cycle with these tips.
You’ve got this.