Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

Just because you’re active and focused on your fitness doesn’t mean you’re not exposed to potentially compromising positions that can throw off your posture. Just look at trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., who is about as active and fit as you can be—but still found herself struggling with her upper body and spine.

Atkins was once a SoulCycle Master Instructor, and the time spent teaching and riding took a toll on her posture. “Years of being on a bike and in the gym (oh and smart phones/computers😅) has got my upper body in a bind,” she says. But she knows she’s not alone, and the spinal struggles are widespread.

“A majority of my clients in NYC are what I like to call ‘Desk Warriors.’ They’re the athletes that hit the gym in the morning and then go straight to the computer for 8-plus hours,” she says.

To combat the stiffness and tightness that comes from poor positioning, Atkins makes posture work a priority. “Lately I’ve been implementing a lot of yoga-inspired exercises into our warm-ups and mobility sessions to help open up the chest and take some stress off the neck and back,” she says. “The key with using yoga-inspired exercises is to also bring over the breath work. Keep in mind, these are the exercises that are going to help reverse all those ‘pushing’ exercises so they’re bound to be uncomfortable for most biceps and chest-focused men.”

All you need to implement these exercises in your own routine is some space on the floor and a yoga mat, if you want a soft surface to work on. Check out this self-rolling version from our Backslash Fit brand if you need a new one.

Try to hold each exercise for 10 slow controlled breaths.

Add this series of exercises to your pre-workout routine, or at the end of a long workday.

Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.

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