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    6 Stretches for Writers to Prevent Injuries (and Butt-Ugly Posture)


    Making a living from your laptop is a beautiful thing...

    But it takes a hefty toll on your body.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that hunching over your keyboard for 8+ hours a day is basically posture suicide.

    Crappy posture is not only unattractive, but it also leads to a whole slew of health issues.

    The good news is, by the following some quick-and-easy writer’s stretches, you can reverse the ravaging effects that the laptop lifestyle wreaks on your body.

    In order to get the most out of these stretches, we first need to take a look at what’s actually happening to your body when you spend your life tapping away at the computer all day.



    How Typing All Day Jacks Up Your Body

    Inside your body, you have a tissue called fascia that connects and covers all of your muscles. To put it simply, think of it like a saran wrap covering that connects all your muscles together. This saran wrap plays a huge role in your posture. 

    saran wrap body

    Your biceps, abs, quads, calves—they’re all connected. And to keep your body balanced and functioning smoothly, the length and tension of this fascia connection needs to be maintained in proper proportions throughout your body. If the tension gets out of wack in one area, it affects the entire chain.

    What’s more, your fascia is constantly restructuring itself according to the stress and forces you apply to it every day.

    Whenever you have poor posture, your fascia is being compressed in some areas and stretched in others. If you do this day after day, it will create a memory of this position, start to think it’s the new normal, and “reset” it’s default length accordingly.

    This is BAD.

    And it’s where a laundry list of health problems start.

    Remember, everything has an optimal length and everything is connected. So when one area gets jacked up, everything gets jacked up.

    Here’s what the saran wrap of most writers looks like.

    mitch bad posture

    By looking at the angles of different joints, we can see how...

    • Neck - Fascia in the back of the neck is shortened, while the front of the neck is lengthened
    • Shoulders - Shoulders are rounded forward, shortening fascia in the chest and lengthening in the upper back. They’re also hiked up, tightening the traps
    • Hips - Fascia between the front of the torso and legs is short (i.e. “tight hips”), while the backside is long.
    • Wrists - Wrists are not in a neutral position, causing imbalanced fascia in hands and forearms.

    If your fascia resets itself to these lengths, it’ll result in some butt ugly posture. But worst of all, it’ll lead to body aches and the potential for serious injuries...

    • Poor positioning and repeated motion in your wrists causes inflammation that leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • Poor shoulder positioning causes upper back and neck pain.
    • Shortened muscles in the front of your hips causes low back pain.

    Your body will then start to compensate for this pain, leading to more problems and dysfunction up and down the chain.


    The #1 Way to Prevent Ugly Writer’s Posture

    Before getting into stretches to FIX writer’s posture (and associated pain), I want to talk about PREVENTION.

    Posture can be hard to correct, so if you’re smart, you’ll nip it in the bud and prevent it from getting bad in the first place.

    It’s simple, really.

    Don’t let your fascia saran wrap reset to a bad default position.

    This means spending as little time as possible in sub-optimal positions as possible.

    There are three keys to doing this successfully…


    #1.) Create An Ergonomic Workspace

    It’s impossible to work with proper posture if you’re workspace isn’t set up ergonomically.

    If you have a dedicated office, this should be easy.

    ergonomic workspace stickman

    But if you work while traveling and are constantly moving to new workspaces, it can be a challenge. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you have. I recommend a laptop stand with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

    mitch's workspaceThis setup in my current Airbnb is far from perfect, so I try to take as many stretch breaks as possible. Without a laptop stand, it’d be 10x worse.


    #2.) Always Be Aware of Your Posture

    One of the biggest challenges to fixing your posture is awareness. When working, it’s easy to slip into your bad default position without even realizing it.

    To combat this, try using different posture cues…

    • Pillows that help you stay in position
    • Setting posture alarm to go off every 20 minutes
    • Kinesiotape that stretches and gives you feedback when you slouch

    After using cues for a week, you’ll automatically start becoming more aware.

    Training Your Posture Muscles


    #3.) Get Up and Move Regularly

    Even with perfect posture, sitting for long periods of time will cause problems. This is because when your legs are bent in a sitting position, the muscles connecting your torso to the front of your leg are shortened. If your saran wrap gets tight here, it will affect the rest of the chain (this is a SUPER common cause of low back pain).

    Tight hip muscles

    To help prevent this, set a timer for 30 minutes to remind you to stand up, walk around, and stretch.

    Speaking of stretches, here’s exactly what you should do.


    Writer’s Stretches That’ll Fix Your Achy Body and Reverse Your Posture

    If you sit all day at the computer, try to take 5-10 minute breaks every couple hours to run through this list. These shouldn’t hurt, so if you feel any pain, lighten up the stretch.


    #1.) Hip Stretch

    This hip stretch helps counteract the tight front hips (and low back pain) you get from sitting too much.

    The key to this stretch is maintaining a neutral pelvis. Start with your knees at 90 degree angles. Then tip your pelvis backward to feel the stretch in the front of your hips.


    Hip stretch good formHere I have a neutral pelvis, lower ribs are tucked, and natural arch in my back.


    Hip stretch bad formHere my pelvis is tilted forward, low ribs are flaring out, and low back is over-arched. This is WRONG.


    #2.) Wall Posture Exercise

    This is my favorite posture exercise. It looks easy, but is actually pretty challenging. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Touch your heels, butt, head, outside part of your shoulder, and wrists against the wall.
    2. Rotate your pelvis to a neutral position, tuck your low ribs in, tuck your chin, and keep the outside tip of your shoulder pressing against the wall (your shoulders will want to rotate inward; don’t let them).
    3. Keep your shoulder blades down and back, and press your wrists backwards into the wall with pressure.
    4. Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds, rest, and repeat.
    5. If you’re doing it right, you’ll probably feel a stretch in the back of your neck, and your back muscles might feel a little tired and uncomfortable.
    6. After you finish, you’ll immediately feel like your standing up straighter.

    wall posture exerciseFor this stretch to work, every joint has to be in the right position. As you’re doing the exercise, keep mentally checking that each body part is still in the correct position.


    #3.) Wrist Stretches

    Wrist stretches are easy, but important. If you already have wrist problems, be very gentle with these and don’t do anything that is painful.

    wrist stretch 1Flex wrist down as far as possible for 5 seconds, then extend fingers to the ceiling and separate them as far as possible for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times on each hand.


    wrist stretch 2Hold each stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.

    If these stretches get boring, try Neville’s magic handstand cure for wrist pain.


    #4.) Neck and Shoulder Stretches

    Your neck and shoulders are more complex and require a few different stretches to hit all the hot spots.


    Neck Stretch #1

    neck stretchTuck your chin in like your trying to make a double chin, then protrude it back out. Repeat 20 times. Do this as often as you can throughout the day (you can even do it while you’re working).


    Neck Stretch #2

    neck stretch 2Slowly look as far as you can to the left and hold for 2 seconds, then look as far as you can to the right and hold for 2 seconds. Repeat 20 times.


    Neck Stretch #3

    neck stretch 3Tilt your head to the side and slightly backward. Use your hand to push down the flesh of your upper chest to stretch the neck even more.


    Trap Relaxation

    trap relaxationWe have a tendency to keep tension in our shoulders when working. For this exercise, shrug your shoulders up as far as you can, hold for 3 seconds, then depress them down and back as far as you can. Repeat 10 times, then continue working with them in the depressed position.


    #5.) Wall Pec Stretch

    Pretty much everyone has tight pecs that cause our shoulders to roll forward. These two pec stretches help reverse it.

    Wall peck stretchFind a corner (or doorway), put your hands on the wall, and lean forward. Be careful not to over-arch your lower back.


    no wall pec stretch

    If you don’t have a good corner, this variations works as well. Interlace your fingers together behind your back. Roll your shoulders down and back. Keep your pelvis neutral (don’t overextend your lower back). Press your arms back and away from your back and expand your chest.


    #6.) Upper Back Mobility Stretch

    This stretch helps you avoid developing a hunchback and keeps the spine in your upper back from getting too stiff. (Be prepared for some cracks!)

    upper back mobility stretchGrab a foam roller or rolled up towel (I used a water bottle rolled up in a towel). Position it below your upper back, and keep a neutral pelvis (don’t let your lower back over-arch). Support your neck with your hands while simultaneously expanding your chest. Roll around a bit on the foam roller/towel and take deep breaths. After exhaling all your air, push down into the roller and see if you can get a nice crack.

    Doing these stretches on a regular basis might seem like a hassle at first. But if you make it into a habit, your fragile writer’s body will thank you for it!

    Hope this helps you avoid writing injuries!


    Mitch Glass

    mitch glass

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Guest Santosh Sahoo


    I run a blog but moreover into a full time desk job as well. My job requires sitting for long hours in office and working.


    The exercises you have mentioned in the this article are just great and will definitely helps.


    I do attend the MMA classes (kick boxing + Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) on alternate days and do a detailed stretching and warm-ups but now realized that some of the neck and shoulder stretching  you mentioned can be done in office while sitting on my workstation too.


    Cheers !


    Link to comment
    Guest Zena Ryder


    Great article, Mitch. I started suffering from pretty-much-daily headaches and eventually discovered they were due to my bad neck posture. Although I do stretch more often than I used to, I need to fix my desk set-up and get even better about the stretching.
    Link to comment
    Hey Zena, Yeah having the right setup can make a HUGE difference. No matter how hard you try to stretch and keep good posture, if your desk setup isn't right, you'll be fighting an uphill battle (Mitch says as he types on his laptop sprawled out sideways laying on a hotel bed)
    Link to comment
    Glad you found them helpful! Sometimes they're hard to remember at first, but if you can make it into a habit, it's not so bad!
    Link to comment
    Guest Varun Sharma


    Really a helpful article for writers. Writing whole day in front of the laptop or desktop is not a easy job. These stretches or exercise will be helpful.
    Link to comment
    Guest Work From Home Productivity (15 Methods You Don't Normally Hear)


    […] This might mean having an adjustable desk, perfect ergonomics, and regular stretch breaks. […]
    Link to comment

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