Ryan McMahon Fitness | personal trainer Pimlico

Working At A Desk Is Destroying Your Posture. Here's The Fix.

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Part 1: Setting up your work space

The age of the computer has advanced mankind in many ways. Bad posture is not one of them.

How does Quasimodo iron his shirt?

On a wok.

Terrible jokes aside, if your career is at a desk, you’re probably already suffering from digital hunchback:

  • Pain in the lower back, upper back, neck, shoulders, sometimes down the arms and into the hands.
  • Stiffness throughout the spine, neck, hips and hamstrings.
  • Sciatica.

Secondary symptoms of bad posture at your desk include:

  • poor blood flow
  • a protruding stomach
  • varicose veins
  • headaches
  • vision problems
  • weight gain

All is not lost. Follow the guide below and get your posture back on track:

Fix your desk set-up

Best to stop any issues at source. Check out this video for help.

There are some useful corrective exercises you can do at your desk (starting around the 2:30 mark). The chin tuck in particular is really useful to correct a head which juts forward.

Invest in a a standing desk

Everyone wants to work from home now. But slouch on your couch with your laptop on your knee all day and you’re going to look like a sloth.

Here are a few standing desks reviewed and rated for a variety of budgets.

Get up and move regularly

When you’re focusing on a piece of work, you’re not thinking about your posture.

Set a timer on your phone to remind you to get up and walk around at least every 30 mins.


If you’re going to be spending upwards of 8 hours at work on your backside, then you should avoid the same position on your commute.

You may not be fortunate enough to walk all the way to work, but you can still walk a section of your journey. Try standing on the tube instead of sitting, or get off the train/bus a stop early and walk the rest.

If you drive to work make sure your car seat is set up correctly providing good lumbar support for your journey. Be aware of your posture. Men tend to slouch while driving while women often sit too close to the steering wheel and lean forward for a better view over the dashboard.

Take the stairs

I always encourage clients to use the stairs as a way to exercise while at work.

There’s no need to be running up and down past your colleagues, but skipping the lift will help loosen up tight muscles and encourage blood flow which can often pool while seated. Take it slowly. Start off tackling a few flights each day and gradually build up the distance over time.

The tube stations in London are another great opportunity to get your legs moving. Similar to the stepping machine at your gym, if you push down hard while climbing you can improve glute, hamstring and quad strength. 


Part 2 – Stretching, mobility drills and corrective exercise