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4 exercises to make up for your desk job

Expert advice to promote better movement and posture, reduce stiffness and help keep injury at bay

Spend most of your day sitting at a desk?

You need these four exercises and stretches, recommended by Brandon Santo, a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning specialist at Vancouver’s Groundwork Athletics. Not only will these exercises promote better movement and posture, they’ll keep you more alert at work, reduce stiffness and help keep injury at bay.

1. Half-kneeling stretch

Take a half-kneel position, squeeze your back glute and pulse forward, eight times per side. This will stretch out your hip flexors and quads, which shorten and tighten from sitting at a desk.

2. Pectoral stretch

Put your forearm on a doorway, lean in, squeeze shoulder blades, and turn away from your arm, 45 to 60 seconds per side. Your shoulders and chest can round over when sitting. This stretch creates the opposite movement.

3. Horizontal pull/row

This strength exercise, which can be done with a resistance band or as a seated cable row at the gym, will strengthen your shoulders and back muscles. Santo recommends three sets of 10 reps at moderate to heavy intensity, three times per week.

4. Glute bridge

Lie on your back and with your knees bent and heels placed near your glutes. While pushing down on the floor, contract your glutes, and hold at the top of the position for two seconds. The glutes are the most important muscle that is used in daily activities like walking and standing from a seated position. Santo recommends three sets of 12 to 15 reps, three times per week.

While exercises are important, Santo says the best solution to sitting at a desk is to move. “The best position to be in is your next one.”