If you clicked on this blog expecting a guide on how to get better on the ski erg, or rowing erg, sorry to disappoint! In this blog we’re referring to the study of an individuals efficiency in their work environment, as oppose to the various ergometers in the gym, which measure energy expenditure during physical exercise. But don’t leave just yet! The following may just improve your work at home, correct day to day posture and improve posture when working out!
Most us have had to adapt to a very different work environment over the past few weeks, setting up make shift offices at home. You could be forgiven for not paying too much attention to your work station, after all there’s been more pressing issues to resolve. That being said, there’s every chance you could be based at that work station for 40+ hours per week and so it would be prudent to consider if you could improve your setup. If you have a seated desk based set up, you could make some minor adjustments so that you don’t end up like Quasimodo! Customise the height of your seat, keyboard and monitor, in order to ‘sit tall’ and create less stress on the body.
In an ideal world, it would be beneficial to have the option to switch between a seated desk and standing desk to avoid the muscles around the hips and lower back becoming tight and weak. Standing desks can cost a fortune, however, it is easy enough to set one up at no expense, using whatever you have available at home (e.g. a book case, a table, chair etc.) to achieve a suitable keyboard and monitor height. Maintaining a standing position with good posture would be better for the hips and lower back as well as helping to burn more calories!
There’s one thing for sure…. in the future, chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists are going to be kept busy with all the technology related postural problems and inevitable musculoskeletal issues. If you’re going to be glued to your smartphone / tablet, do yourself a favour and wind your neck in 🙂
In the gym we can get hung up on performance metrics. How many kilos you can lift, how many meters you can complete in a given time etc. Although we spend a lot of time drilling functional movement patterns in weightlifting and gymnastics, it is very easy to overlook movement patterns in conditioning based movements, using equipment such as; ski ergs, rowing ergs, assault bikes etc. and instead focus exclusively on the performance metrics. Yet if we look at the bigger picture and the effect that dysfunctional movement patterns and poor posture have on our robustness and longevity, then it may be in our interests to make postural changes as early as possible to avoid potential complications later down the line. Will such adjustments improve performance? Not necessarily, but they are also unlikely to make performance worse and your back will thank you for it!
If in doubt about your posture, focus on lengthening the spine and consider the following postural cues; “sit tall”, “stand tall”, “shoulders down and back”, “head up”, “eyes on the horizon”, “squeeze your butt”.