Exercises for Office Workers: What to Avoid if You Have Neck and Shoulder Pain
Neck, shoulder and upper back pain is an extremely common complaint, especially from office workers who spend all day sitting in front of computer screens. If you try to keep fit and come into the gym, there are several exercises that can exacerbate problems in your neck and shoulders and are therefore best avoided.
Neck and Shoulder Pain? Avoid These Exercises
Upper Trap Shrugs
This is kind of an obvious one, but a lot of gym guys still include this in their workouts. Our upper traps are a super dominant muscle group and tend to get really tight from office work. Adding an upper trap isolation exercise like shrugs tends to really create a lot of tension in your neck and can lead to headaches. Avoid this exercise if you can.
Bench Press/Pec Flys
If you do a lot of bench press/pec flys without doing adequate mobility/stretching on your pecs these exercises can create some pretty bad posture changes and lead to pain or injury in the shoulders. These exercises cause the pecs to engage and tighten which is exactly what happens when you sit at a computer all day long. This can lead to internal rotation of the shoulders and a hunched forward posture to develop. If you do want to continue doing these exercises break them up with a lot of pec stretching/trigger pointing and try to balance them with some pull movements to balance out the pec tension.
This is an exercise that frequently gets used in posture training as it is technically a back exercise. The problem with this exercise is that strengthening the lats can cause hyperextension of the arms and internal rotation of the shoulders which is the lats secondary function. So strengthening this movement will basically make your bad posture even worse! Replace this movement with a row variation which will train your back and strengthen the muscles that actually require strengthening if you have bad posture.
Need Advice About the Best Exercises for Office Workers?
I am a big believer in the importance of exercise and especially weight training. However, if you do any or all of the above exercises, I would recommend avoiding them or substituting them for other exercises that won’t affect your posture.