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The new year is a great time to make goals and resolutions.
One of my resolutions is to have more attention on how I hold my body while I work.
In the Smart Marketer community, a lot of people tell me they have a tight neck and shoulders. So I thought it’d be helpful if I brought on my personal trainer, a really amazing guy: Zenon.
He’s going to show us a few exercises we can do right at our desks: One for the neck and shoulder, one for the hips, and then a final full body exercise.
The goal isn’t to become a fitness maniac necessarily. The goal is just to be a little more aware of our bodies while we work.
And as always, consistency is the key. A little bit every day.
0:20 I would like to have more attention on how I hold my body while I work
1:23 Introducing my personal trainer: Zenon
3:15 I always hear that people have a tight neck and shoulders
4:00 The goal is to give the body length and take stress off the joints
4:40 A flexion extension exercise for the upper back you can do at your desk
6:20 Focus on breathing: Do not hold your breath
7:40 An exercise for the hips
9:40 How often should I be doing these exercises?
10:10 The goal is to be more aware of your body
11:30 Like always, consistency is the key
12:00 A full body squat exercise at your desk
14:30 Check Zenon out!
Click Here For Video Transcript
So, we all have things that we would like to have happen in the next year. And I’ve got a lot of goals: relationship, business, personal. And on the business side, one of the things that I would like to do is have more attention on how hold my body while I work.
Sometimes I find myself like this… I know you know what I mean. Sometimes I’m slouching. But I would like to pay more attention to how I hold myself while I’m working.
I’ve been taking this Skype personal training sessions. I’ve got this guy and he’s really amazing. I thought I knew a lot about fitness, being a competitive athlete throughout my youth. And I know a thing or too.
But I’ve spend my whole fitness career contracting and building muscle and focusing on power… And what I’ve learned is a little bit of stability. I actually brought him here, because I can’t articulate this in the way that he can. It’s really phenomenal, and it’s helped me so much.
I now have more attention and will continue to have more attention on how I feel and how I hold myself.
So I’d like to bring on my personal trainer. Who has accolades that I will list off… Once he tells me what they are.
Ezra: This is Zenon. Thanks for coming.
Zenon: Happy to be here. I’ve watched some of your videos with Carrie online, and what not.
Ezra: And you’re now here!
Zenon: I’m here!
Ezra: So, Zenon has… I’m not going to say fixed my body, because I wasn’t broken, but… You’ve really helped me understand the mechanics of my body, and helped me fix nagging injuries that I’ve had for years.
And when you were working with me, I was wondering what we were even doing. I thought, this certainly ins’t going to do anything. I will entertain you, but this won’t have any affect… Because it was so gentle, you know?
Zenon: I really appreciate the credit you’re giving me in saying that I helped fix some of those injures. But what I’ve learned over time, and I talked a little before we were rolling the cameras, about the Eastern and Western influences I’ve had, and how I try to marry those two.
And one thing I’ve found is that I’ve developed a great respect for the human power. For its own powers and its own wisdom. So what I try to do is give you body the best chance, the most advantageous environment, to do its own thing. And address your pains and whatnot.
With a little bit of help here and there, where we put the right weights in the right places, I see the body doing the majority of the work.
Ezra: Okay, so you’re humble… Which is nice. But one of the things that we have in common is that we both love the body. We’re interested in movement, and being in our bodies. And when I go to events and I put on masterminds and stuff, I always ask people, how do you feel in your body? How do you work? Do you feel stiff?
And often times you report that you’re neck and shoulders are tight. That’s a common thing people report to me, that their neck and shoulders hurt. So what can people do to relieve some of that?
Zenon: Well the quickest, easiest way is to get a masseuse to massage them. But that will relieve the pain, it won’t solve the problem.
And just by virtue of being in a computer driven society, we are continually in the flexed forward position. We get in cars and we’re flexed forward.
Ezra: We lift weights.
Zenon: A lot of people lift weights and yes they’re very flexed forward. And one of the things I help people do, and help their bodies get, is more length. I find the body responds very well to being long.
When there’s an injury in the body, various therapies will help a limb through traction. Back pains, people hang on the inverted tables. And there’s a gentle traction through the spine to help lengthen.
So we use our own muscles and bodies in a long position, it’s going to take stress out of the joints and muscles will be holding that.
Ezra: So you’re a person, and you’re sitting at a desk 6, 8, 12 hours a day. What is something you can do every so often?
Zenon: One of the things I have people do when they’re at their desks and they ask me what they can do, is flexion extension for the back. If you have foam rollers or message tools you can use to loosen up the tissue in the upper back and the area between the shoulder blades, that’s excellent.
But right at your desk, right in your chair, you can just move back away from the desk a few feet, and what you want to do is allow yourself to exhale and completely round forward. Take a deep breath in and really just surrender to gravity. Then you lift your chest by reaching your butt behind you. And lift your chest really, really high. Not your chin, your chest. Tuck your chin a little bit.
Now we’re getting ourselves really really long. We’re going to lightly put our fingers behind our ears. What we saw right away is that Ezra’s shoulders jump up toward his ears.
Ezra: I do have a habit of that.
Zenon: Relax your shoulders. Good. So what we’re doing is getting ready to round the back and move the shoulder blades through the back. But if we elevate the shoulders, we’re pinching the neck and creating soreness in the neck.
Now when you round forward, you’re going to bring your elbows together and round forward. Drop the head. And lift the chest and open, drop the shoulders away from the ears, lift the chest more more more. Keep lifting, good, then down.
Ezra: That’s intense actually. It feels really good. How many times do we do that?
Zenon: 6 to 8 times. And you don’t want to feel any strain, just the full extension. One thing we didn’t do when we went through the movement, is we didn’t include the breath. So we’re going to exhale on the way down, and inhale on the way up. Don’t hold your breath.
Ezra: Which is what I was doing.
Zenon: Right. So once you’re finished your inhalation, don’t worry about how far you’ve gotten, turn the other direction for the exhalation.
Ezra: And this kind of gets you going, or what?
Zenon: We’re extending the upper back, and we’re doing it with a lot of repetitions. We’re taking pressure off the discs in your vertebrae, and we’re opening and expanding the lungs. So we’re promoting more blood circulation through your body into the brain.
We’re fatigued from being in this flexed forward position, restricting our breath and working harder and harder mentally at these computers. So we’re going to open up so we can breathe better, straighten the upper back, get more oxygen and keep working that flexed forward position the other way.
Okay, we’re going to try this. 2 reps.
Ezra: We’re doing this, like for real?
Zenon: Okay, first, sit tall. Take a deep breath in, and surrender and fold all the way down. Once you’re done exhaling, inhale and come right back up. Lift the chest high, don’t hold your breath, exhale and come back down. Inhale and come up, exhale and go down.
So hips are another area that get very tight from being in this seated position a lot. And we want to stretch them in two different way. We’re stretching muscles through the body…
We’re going to cross our foot over our knee. You want to make sure you’re toes are pulling toward your knee. That’s going to protect your knee.
Now you’re going to hold on your foot and your shin, and left your chest nice and high. For some people, that’s already going to be a stretch through your glut. If it’s not, then you’re going to pull your chest forward.
Ezra: I can’t even do that.
Zenon: Then just lift your chest high and breathe. Any static stretch that you hold, you’re going to accompany it with continuous deep breathing. A lot of people do this, no no. That’s useless. You have to pull your chest high and reach, your bending from the hip here. Okay?
And hold, 3 to 6 breaths. You want to keep breathing until you feel a bit of a tissue quality change. You want to feel it relax just a little bit.
Ezra: What if you’re out of shape and you can’t reach this position. You can’t get your foot on your knee.
Zenon: Then you’re going to lift your knee up and work on getting your foot on your knee.
Now, if you can only get your foot here and the second you lift your chest you feel a pull, then you don’t need to go any further.
Ezra: Because I’m not particularly flexible, as you know, so I feel like I’m golden here.
Zenon: Yes. But you still need to lift your chest, and engage your upper back to pull you to extension. Where the stretch is coming from is bending at the hip. Once you’re bending at the back, you’re not getting the stretch anymore.
Ezra: That was awesome, thank you. So how often do you recommend people do this?
Zenon: Well that depends. If you stretch forward all the way and there’s no stretch there, then it will still feel nice but you don’t need is as much.
But if you’re someone who’s very tight, then I would start my working day at my desk with 3 to 6 reps, 6 to 8 breaths on each side. Basically any time you’re getting in your chair or getting out of your chair, you’re going to loosen up the back of your hips.
Ezra: And the goal here is not to become a superstar fitness person, it’s just to be aware of how you hold your body. To actually have some of your attention on how it feels to be sitting here right now. To just have some awareness while we’re working of how we’re holding our bodies. Because it’s easy to not confront if and pay no attention to you body and how you’re sitting.
So there’s one more exercise that you showed me that would be cool to go over. You can do it right from the desk, and it’s a full body thing.
Zenon: Can I add one more thing? So if you’re just working at your desk and you’ve heard so many different things about posture… Don’t think about those things. Just think that you’re a marionette handing from a string, and you’re dangling from it. So your body is just hanging off the string, and you’re relaxed and straight.
So, you can’t sit like this for the entire day. It’s fine to just lounge and relax. But spend some time being aware of your posture, that’s all. If you’re doing that a little bit at a time, and you keep remembering to hang from that string, it will be the least amount of stress on your body. But that takes time, a little bit each day.
Ezra: Consistency. This is comes up a lot in our conversation in many different contexts.
Zenon: So this other exercise that I wanted to show actually utilizes the desk, and it takes the whole body and turns it into a pump. This is something you can easily do at your desk.
Ezra: Okay so here we are. We’re at the same room we were in before, but we’ve moved to a different angle. So, you’ve trained Carrie, my wife, and you’ve trained me… And you’re constantly having us squat. Why are we always doing this?
Zenon: The squat is the king of all exercises. It requires you to stabilize your posture, which you should be doing all the time. And you have hip, knee and ankle, all 3 joints of the lower body, flexing all the way and extending all the way.
The reason why I love it so much is because people don’t know that the blood in your body does not get back to your heart without movement.
Ezra: It’s not just circulating?
Zenon: Gravity is pulling it down. The heart is pumping it out, and how it gets back up is it goes through a vein, hits a valve and the valve closes and it stays there.
So when you move you’re pumping blood back up through your body to your heart. Your promoting blood circulation and getting oxygen to your body, helping your body be healthy and keeping you alert. And a full body squat is pumping that the most, and you can do it anywhere.
Not everyone can do a full body weight squat. And when you have a desk, it is a great tool to help you do a full body weight squat regardless if you can or can’t.
Ezra: So what do I do?
Zenon: So you’re at your desk. You face it, you get your fit a little wider that your hips. Lock your fingers under the edge. Now first thing people are going do is often round forward. Lift your chest up instead.
As you press your fingers into the desk, you’ll feel your tummy getting a little tight. So as you’re going into the squat, this is going to allow you to get a lot deeper than you usually would while still staying tall through the upper back.
Then drive at the hills to come back. Push the ground down, don’t think about lifting yourself up.
At the bottom you, can even relax a little bit, just push your hands up. That’s what’s giving you the balance and firing your core to help you maintain your posture and get nice and deep.
Ezra: That’s not easy! That’s tough.
Zenon: Yeah, but you can do it with the help of the desk. Some people squat and feel like they fall back, or fall forward. Try this and you’ll find you get a lot deep than you could before.
That’s it. Pump the blood.
Ezra: So Zenon does, from time to time, Skype personal training sessions. You train me, and I’m a huge fan. I never would have though that I would like it, but one of the beautiful things is I can just close the computer and you’re gone.
What are you offering? I’m going to put a link and you can inquire and check out his deal.
Zenon, thank you so much for coming and spending some time with us. I really appreciate it.
Zenon: My pleasure.
Ezra: We’ll catch you in the next one.