Desk Workers Dozen

My husband is a finance guy. I overheard him the other day explaining the concept of Aggregation of Marginal Gains, where very small, incremental, but consistent gains accrue over a period of time into something much bigger and measurable. 

I realized this is exactly the method that we use to promote lasting postural changes for our patients. Spending 30 min or more a day stretching isn’t necessary, and probably not even sustainable for most people. Spending closer to 12 min a day is a much more attainable goal, and if we break that up into 6 mini breaks throughout the day, it’s even more manageable, AND not only addresses the physical needs that come from sitting (or standing) stationary at a desk, but it also offers a much needed mental reprieve in your day. 

And over time, the consistency of the work will translate into improvements in your posture far beyond what you can likely imagine. 

So we’ve come up with a concrete plan of attack that allows you to get control of your posture. It requires very little in the way of equipment and time expense away from your work: All you need is a big super band (something like one of these) and to set a timer to go off every 90 minutes during your work day to complete less than 2 minutes of work.

Let’s Get Started

We call it “The Deskworker’s Dozen”.

A dozen may sound like a lot, but we have mapped out a plan for you that maximizes your time and minimizes the time you have to be away from your desk. 

Every 90  min, you’ll do two movements for 45- 60 seconds each,  so you only have to take a 1-2 min break to get this done throughout your day : 

Break 1

Scapular protract/retract – 45 sec
Median nerve glide – 30 sec per side,

Break 2

Crab to bridge – 45 sec  
Band press hold overhead – 45 sec

Break 3

Overhead squat with band – 45 sec
Standing hip CARS – 30 sec per side

Break 4

Booty makers -45 sec (alternate sides throughout)
Oblique toe/shin taps- 45 sec (alternate sides throughout.

Break 5

Crab toe touches – 45 sec
Cuff pectoralis stretch with band – 45 sec

Break 6

Prone Ball passes – 30 sec cw/ccw
Quadruped heel slides – 45 sec (alt sides throughout)

If you’re such a grinder that you can’t seem to pull yourself away every 90 minutes, feel free to do these all together during your lunch break. The entire series will take under 15 min (12 min of work)! And by committing to doing it every day during the work week, you’ll soon actualize the mindset of Aggregation of Marginal Gains and take control of your posture.

As always, we’re here for you in the process.  Please reach out if you have any difficulties with the exercises themselves, or if you are still finding difficulty implementing the change into your routine. 

Dr. JJ Thomas, DPT, MPT, CMTPT

JJ Thomas is the owner and founder of Primal Physical Therapy, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. She is an instructor for Evidence in Motion, and lectures and speaks nationally on the topics of Dry Needling, Functional Movement Analysis, and Functional Anatomy. She has been published in IJSPT for her contribution to a commentary on dry needling and consults as a content expert for organizations such as the APTA and FSBPT. In this role, she played a large part in the addition of a CPT code for dry needling through the AMA and was on the task force that helped identify competency standards for dry needling education nationally. JJ works with US Field Hockey teams, and individuals from US Lacrosse, US Polo, USA Track and Field, NFL, NBA, PLL, MLB, and more.
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