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More Training Info > Cubicle Calisthenics

Cubicle Calisthenics

C. Schurman for Sports Etc. Jan. 2002 issue

When you�re swamped at work or you feel stuck behind your desk with little time to spare for your workouts, try targeted stretching. The two upper body stretches will help relieve stress that accumulates in the neck. The hip and lower back stretches will help get rid of the stiffness that occurs when you stay sitting in one position for too long. All four stretches can be done at your desk and only require a few minutes. Keep them pain free, and repeat as often as needed, daily.

Chest Stretch

The chest stretch is great for climbers, cyclists, movers, and people who spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Lace your fingers behind your head and lean against your chair back. Inhale deeply, and as you slowly exhale, press your elbows behind you as far as possible. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and arch your back slightly to stretch the chest, shoulders and abdominals. Hold 20 seconds, exhaling fully, then relax and repeat twice. Repeat as often as needed to relieve stress in the upper back and encourage better posture throughout the day.

Neck Stretch

This stretch is a lifesaver for climbers, cyclists, computer or desk workers, construction workers, and anyone who carries stress in the upper back and neck muscles. Move forward in your chair so that you can place your right arm behind you, and tilt your head to the left. Angle your head forward a bit, turning so you can look right. Inhale, and as you slowly exhale, gently press downward with your left hand to increase the stretch. Press the shoulder down to increase the distance between shoulder and ear. Hold 20 seconds, repeat to the other side, and do each side twice. If tightness remains, take a tennis ball with you to work and rub it against your neck during phone calls or breaks.

�Thinker� Hip Stretch

For hikers and joggers who want to stay limber in the hips, move forward in your chair and place your right ankle across the left knee, and right elbow on the inside of the right knee. Inhale fully, and as you exhale, gently press the knee down to stretch the outer right hip. Hold 20 seconds, and then repeat once to the other side. This stretch may remind you of Rodin�s �Thinker� statue, hence the name.

Pretzel Hip and Low Back Stretch

From the same position as the �Thinker�, remove your right elbow from right knee and gently cradle the knee in the crook of your left elbow. Sit up straight, bring the knee toward your chest, and slowly rotate your torso toward the right. As you exhale, try to stretch around behind you as far as possible, using your right arm for leverage. You�ll feel a good stretch not only in the lower back, but also deep into the glutes and hip. Hold 20 seconds, repeat once to the other side.


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