Pilates At The Keyboard


Since we tend to store up stress in the shoulders, try to roll it out again with shoulder rotations. Mobility exercises—taking the joints through their full range of movement—are a staple of most forms of modern exercising. Your shoulder, like your hip, is a ball and socket joint, meaning it can rotate in any direction, so every now and again you should let it. Sitting in neutral, with your feet flat on the floor and your shoulders relaxed but not slumped, bend your elbows and rest your fingertips on your shoulder (right on right, left on left). Now circle them forwards and upwards so your elbows touch, then lift up above your ears, pull back to be in line with your shoulders and finally come forward again. Now perform the same circle but in the opposite direction—remember the importance of working every equal and opposite muscle so that for every pull there is a push.

The best office distressing exercise is undoubtedly to land a clean right hook on the boss, but since this may lead to ugliness it’s worth looking at other options. Stress balls—those squidgy balls you can squash in your fist when anxiety rises—are a good exercise for your hand muscles. The problem is people often tense the trapezius muscle that leads to the shoulders when they do. If you use a stress ball, then make sure you perform the shoulder roll above.

Now work on the fingers—if you’ve been typing, then they’re probably tense and tired. Despite the publicity about RSI you only have to look around any office for a couple of minutes and you’ll find keyboards without wrist wrests, keyboards set up at the wrong height for the seat and keyboards right at the edge of the desk so there’s nowhere to rest your elbows. Concentrated mouse work, even with elegantly shaped ergonomic mice, can also put real pressure on your fingers. Remember that before you start your fiftieth game of minesweeper.

To release tension in the fingers start by turning your hands palm upwards and bring the tip of each finger in turn to the tip of your thumb then repeat the sequence. Just to make things a little more interesting, try starting with the little finger on one hand at the same time as you start at the index finger on the other so the two hands are out of sync.

Next, hold all your fingers our flat together and then open up the gap between the second and third fingers so that the first and second pull away in one direction and the third and fourth in the other. Now bring the second and third fingers together and keep them together and this time open up the gaps between the first and second, and third and fourth.

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From Power-up Pilates by Steve Shipside

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