How desk posture increases your likelihood of pain, injury and limits your maximum power.
So, how exactly can a poor desk posture while working contribute to increased pain, likelihood of injury and limit your overall power when running?
To understand this further, we’ll look at why rounded shoulders and a tight back may occur in runners as well as at how it can cause inefficient running, pain and injury. Finally, we will analyse how Pilates for Sports can develop muscle balance in the runner, which will result in more open shoulders and a more flexible back, leading to improved performance and decreased pain.
"Let's look at the sedentary lifestyle many people have these days"
Many of us spend hours and hours every day sitting at a desk working on a computer with our shoulders hunched, rounded and rolled forward. Let's call this a “desk posture".
In a “desk posture”, the muscles in the front of the upper body, and the chest are strong and short, drawing the shoulders forward. While in the upper back, the muscles are becoming long and weak allowing the shoulders to be drawn forward.
The effect on the posture is that the shoulders are rolled forward and the upper back starts to arch.
When people are running with poor form they will run in this same "desk posture" where once again their shoulders are hunched, lifted and rounded forward. Runners may do their entire session in this position, or sometimes just end up in this position as they get tired and start to lose form.
"When this happens, the 'desk posture' is reinforced in the runner's body and if not fixed, may end up being their normal posture."
Desk posture has a number of impacts on running. It can lead to neck and shoulder issues, tightness in the upper back and pain in any of these areas. Performance-wise it will impact the runner as this posture will impede their ability to breathe efficiently and therefore to run at their optimal level.
"Also, the desk posture means reduced flexibility in the shoulder girdle which means an inefficient arm carry and wasted energy, resulting in reduced power output."
Pilates for Sports is great to help those with a “desk posture” fix the issue as it focuses on strengthening the muscles in the upper back while also lengthening the muscles in front of the chest, which helps to reverse the curve.
The other major benefit of Pilates is that it requires the runner to work through all of the planes of motion.
By working in extension, flexion, rotation and lateral flexion, they are mobilising and strengthening all of these upper body muscles, bringing the body back into balance and improving flexibility in the shoulder girdle to produce a more ideal posture.
Find out more about our programs at Pilates For Sports.
Noeleen O'Shea is the co-founder of Pilates for Sports, an online training program designed to improve your core strength, muscle balance and technique so that you can perform better at your sport with less pain, more power.
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