Bad Posture from the WorkPlace: Pectoralis Major

It is very easy to develop bad posture from our everyday activities at the workplace. This is mainly due to the natural sedentary nature of office work. This is common knowledge, but what most people don’t realize is that poor posture is something that we create and something we can fix. Countless times over the years patients have mentioned, “If I had better posture I bet my back/neck wouldn’t hurt so much….” Although that is true, the structure of the phrase expresses the belief that posture is the cause of our ailments, instead of the effect. Throughout these blogs, with the assistance of 1-minute instructional videos, it is my goal to help people fight the good fight against bad posture from the workplace and recognize that they can take charge over the creation of they’re posture.

The first muscle I want to go over is the Pectoralis Major. The Pectoralis Major is a broad, powerful muscle of the chest. And not unlike other powerful muscles of the body it has more than one muscle fiber. The Pect Major has three separate fibers in fact. As we sit at our desks and type on the computer we constantly engage the Pec Major and although it doesn’t seem to use up much energy or take much effort, the point is that the muscle is used constantly for hours on end and hence, you are tightening / strengthening them. This causes an imbalance between the front and back of the body and makes it that much harder to sit up straight.

To help combat this “slouched” position we need to stretch the Pec Major. This is best and most convenient stretch is done by means of what is usually referred to as the door frame stretch. THis is accomplished by standing in a doorway as if you are about to pass through it. You place your hand and forearm against the frame and lean forward, as shown in video #1. Something to keep in mind for balance and to accomplish this stretch safely is to place your opposite foot of the side you are stretching forward into a slight lunge, ten turn away from the stretched side. This enhances the stretch of the Pec Major.

Finally, what is not on the video is that you should RAISE and LOWER your elbow against the frame, every few seconds as if you are doing reps. This is because the three muscle fibers attach at slightly different areas of the sternum and the humerus, giving us a greater range of motion and action than we would if there were a single muscle fiber. When we lower and raise the elbow it allows us to isolate approximately ⅓ ot the Pec Major from the other ⅔ giving us a much more effective stretch then simply holding the elbow in a single position.

Remember, creating better posture is all about repetition. The more you practice these stretches the better your posture will be but it takes time. Thanks for reading and if you think you’ve mastered this stretch please move onto Video #2!

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