Hunched Over a Desk… Back Pains and Safe Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

Spending the work day hunched over a desk, sitting or standing for hours at a time along with plenty of other factors all contribute to one very common problem many of us share…back pain. These days it seems that age nor vocation is entirely to blame since so many of us suffer from this uncomfortable reality to various reasons. While it isn’t always possible to completely alleviate back pain permanently, there are ways to reduce the intensity, duration and occurrence of the pain and make life more manageable.

Strengthening your back with exercise

Strengthening your back is one of the best ways to be proactive in lessening the impact of back pain. The upper and lower areas of our back usually suffer the most from being weak and tight. Poor posture and a weak core are two common causes of back pain, so I am going to share a couple of easy exercises to help you build strength and stability in these areas. Remember that these are general suggestions and if your pain is severe or specific, always consult with your physician before engaging in any exercise.

1. Rows/Reverse Flys for Upper Back

“Upper Cross or Rounded Shoulder Syndrome” is the result of a weakened upper back thanks to being in a hunched forward position for long periods of time. You may notice something of a burning sensation in between the shoulder blades causing you to want to squeeze them together to lessen the discomfort.

A couple of exercises designed to help this are rows and reverse flys and they can easily be done using light dumbbells or resistance bands in either upright or bent over positions. Rows incorporate using your biceps and forearms while strengthening your mid and upper back. Reverse flys recruit the help of the long head of the tricep instead. I am going to share a couple of videos to give you demonstrations of each exercise using both the dumbbells and the bands. Feel free to interchange equipment and positions to maximize your options.

Seated Row Exercise with Resistance Bands

The first video demonstrates a seated row using the bands. The trainer offers suggestions to change positions in the presence of back pain as well as incorporating a quick progression if you want a bigger challenge.

Reverse Fly

The second video is teaching you how to do a bent over dumbbell reverse fly. You can do this seated as well. The trainer mentions that if you are new to this exercise, you can always begin with no weights and get used to the movement itself.

2. Plank for Core Strength and Stability

There could be numerous reasons for low back pain and since each cause is unique and may require specific recommendations, I will suggest an exercise that can be a huge asset yet safe enough to be implemented in most cases. The plank is an isometric exercise that involves holding yourself in a push up position for as long as you can. This forces your abdominals to contract in order to keep your spine from hyperextending in the presence of gravity, which is a great way to build strength in this area. You want to make sure you keep a straight posture throughout the movement since this is the only way you will truly reap the benefits of the exercise.

The demonstration in this video keeps it nice and simple while the trainer does a great job of explaining the benefits of the exercise while giving examples of how easy it is to do this movement incorrectly.

Let us know what you think

Regardless of whatever has caused your back pain, what enables healing is being proactive in your own well-being. It’s when we focus on taking control of our circumstances rather than being victimized by them that we experience true empowerment.

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