Relieve Tension & Perfect Your WFH Posture With These 6 Pilates Moves
From professional on the top, party on the bottom dressing to walking meetings, working from home setups come with more than a few perks. But how often do you find yourself hunched over your keyboard, or even slumped diagonally in your new not-chiropractic-approved desk chair? “Poor desk setup and prolonged hours sitting at a computer can cause a buildup of tightness,” says pilates instructor, physiotherapist, and founder of Go Chlo Pilates, Chloe de Winter.
However, the effects of poor posture can be rectified. de Winter recommends a combination of specific postural stretching and strengthening exercises, the latter of which “specifically targets strength and endurance of the muscles that support and maintain your posture,” relieving built-up tension and creating lasting postural changes.
Fortunately for our sore muscles, de Winter has shared six easy-to-implement stretches and strengthening exercises to incorporate into your everyday routine.
Stretch 1: Book openings
Do this to open up stiffness in the upper back and pecs.
Lie on your side, knees in toward the chest and fingers interlaced behind the back of the head.
Open up the top elbow, allowing the head and chest to follow and assume a twisted position.
Repeat 10 times then repeat on the other side.
Stretch 2: Cobra stretch
This will reduce that rounded shoulders posture.
Lie on your tummy with legs extended behind you.
Place hands flat on the floor under the shoulders.
Press through the hands lifting up the head, shoulders and spine until you feel a full extension stretch.
Hold for 2 breaths and lower.
Repeat 5 times.
Stretch 3: Lunge stretch
Do this to open up tight hips.
Assume a long lunge stance with hands down on the floor, one foot bent between the hands and front knee, and the other leg extended behind the body with the back knee straight.
Rock forward and back on the back toes, keeping the hips sinking down and the chest open.
Repeat 15 times then change legs.
Strengthening exercise 1: Swan
To strengthen the muscles that pull your shoulder blades together behind your back.
Lie on your tummy with legs extended and arms out beside you; palms down and elbows bent.
Slowly lift up the head, neck, shoulders and arms in one smooth movement, keeping the chin tucked in.
Then slowly lower the shape back down.
Repeat 15 times.
Strengthening exercise 2: Bird dog
To strengthen all the extensors of the body i.e. the ones that hold your posture.
Begin on hands and knees, hips over knees and shoulders over wrists.
Reach out the left arm and right leg away from the body, trying to keep the spine as still as possible.
Slowly return and repeat on the other side.
Alternative sides, repeat 30 times.
Strengthening exercise 3: Kneeling arm lifts
To help you feel lengthened in your spine.
Begin by kneeling, sitting the hips halfway back to the heels and allow the chest to fold forward into a diagonal position. Hold onto some light weights and have the arms hanging down beside the body with palms facing back.
Keeping the rest of the body still, lift the arms behind the body, feeling the shoulder blades draw together.
Lower them down.
Repeat 20 times.
In collaboration with Go Chlo Pilates Image courtesy Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue UK