The Pain of a Desk Job

A few weeks ago, at Rise and Grind, I met with the physical therapists hoping for a rub down to alleviate some wrist pain. What I got instead was a quick evaluation and homework for my rotator cuff. As Crossfit athletes, we are all aware that the cause of the pain is always above or below where the pain is felt. This seemed like a stretch, a long way to travel, for what I felt (and you guys know me, my arms are long), but after further conversation it made sense.

One, I work a desk job. I’m sitting, hunched over a computer screen for about eight hours a day, five days a week. Since probably fifth grade, when my height surpassed 95% of my classmates, I started standing odd to appear smaller (I’m not kidding). All of this leads to a forward bend of my shoulders, the rounding of my back, and poorer performance.

Second, it’s not an area we think about until something goes wrong. It’s important though! Without it, we cannot lift our arms over our heads, and uh, we do a lot of that in Crossfit – with heavy weights.

I was given four simple tasks to help my problem.

For the hunch, lay on a foam roller, aligning your spine with the roller, tail to head. Then allow your arms to rest stretched out perpendicular to your body; think of a cross or a lowercase t. Three minutes a day. This should counterbalance the slouching and eventually lead to better posture.

For that wonderful rotator cuff, three movements with a light resistance band. I’ve been using the red band and working my way up to completing 3 sets, 10 reps because I’ve been recovering from Rise and Grind and my shoulders are weaklings.

  • Attach the band to the rig about elbow high, stand with your side facing the rig, and far enough out for a little tension. With your arm at your side, elbow at a right angle (forearm parallel to the floor), and the band in hand, rotate your hand toward your stomach and back out. You’re only working with a 90 degree rotation here, not 180.
  • The next movement, is to switch hands without rotating your body, just take a step closer to the rig for less resistance. Start with your hand at your stomach, and rotate out to the previous starting position. When you’re done with one side, flip to have the opposite side of your body face the rig and repeat the movements.
  • For the last movement, move the band to an area on the rig above your head. With your arm out (getting ready to flex ;), keep your elbow at a right angle, and with band in hand, rotate your hand down until it and your forearm are parallel with the floor. Repeat on the other arm.
  • We’ve down the opposite of this last movement in Nika, where we stood on a band and rotated our hand up. Do that to! I had to remove some tension given the stretch of the band, by holding it in the opposite hand – not doing the work, about waist high.

If you need help with any of these movements, hit me up in the box and I’ll awkwardly demo them for you.

Guys, I love this stuff. I love learning the who, what, where, why, and how of movements. I enjoy learning how to implement smaller exercises to strengthen the larger movement, and mobility that will aid in the more powerful, successful landing of a lift. While I love doing this research, I’m terrible at the follow through. The only reason I exercise at all is because I pay someone to make me do it (thank you, Crossfit)! So if you see me around the box, and I’m not working on my rotator cuff or my hip flexors or something extra after class, please remind me. Make me do it, do it with me; I’ll do the same with/for you!