Deskercise With Coach Eddy

Iconic chairs inspire active sitting.

Made to move with your body, Varier chairs inspire continual, controlled movement. You sit upright, engaging and strengthening your core muscles. Your feet and legs are in motion, which stimulates your circulation. Your shoulders and chest are open, making it easy to breathe deeply, boosting your blood oxygen levels, circulation, and general wellbeing. Enjoy the freedom of active sitting this summer with Edward ‘Coach Eddie’ Bergersen, a personal trainer and movement therapist based in Geneva, Switzerland. Coach Eddie has tailored a set of exercises for your chair that is easy to perform during short breaks in your busy day.

Angel wings

This deskercise utilizes the Varier Move sit/stand chair. This exercise stretches the rotator cuff, and the deep muscles of the shoulder joint. These muscles need to be strong for the ‘prime movers’ of the shoulder (the big superficial muscles that younger guys love to train) to function properly.

What to do:
Place your closed fists on your hips and puff out your chest. Without collapsing your chest, try to bring your elbows together. You’ll feel a deep stretch in your shoulders. Bring your elbows back and forearms in towards your body and ‘open up’ your arms, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Alternate between both positions, so it looks like you’re ‘flying’ with your elbows.

This deskercise also utilizes the Varier Move Sitting/Standing stool. Therapists and coaches call the shoulder the ‘mischievous younger brother’ of the hip. And just like the shoulder, the hip can also act up. This exercise targets the deep stabilizers or ‘rotator cuff’ of the hip.






Seated deep hip-rotator

This deskercise also utilizes the Varier Move Sitting/Standing stool. Therapists and coaches call the shoulder the ‘mischievous younger brother’ of the hip. And just like the shoulder, the hip can also act up. This exercise targets the deep stabilizers or ‘rotator cuff’ of the hip.

What to do:
Lower the seat until your hips are at a 90° angle to your upper legs. With your back straight, place one ankle on the opposite knee. Push your knee gently down until you feel a stretch in the hip. With your back straight, bend slightly forward to increase the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. To stretch the opposing group of hip rotators, place your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, then bring your knees together, and hold for 20 seconds.

Note: if you experience any knee pain during this exercise, either skip it or reduce the intensity of the stretch.






Palm peel

When we type or write, our wrist extensors (the muscles that lift the hand) are constantly contracted, and the flexors (the muscles that bend the wrist) are constantly stretched. This can lead to conditions like mouse arm, or carpal tunnel syndrome. No explanation is needed if you’ve had one or both of these. If you haven’t, trust me, you don’t want to know.

What to do:
Stand behind the Move standing stool. Grip the chair with one hand to stabilize it, and place the other hand flat, with your fingers pointing back toward you. Gently straighten your elbow to stretch your forearm. Then slowly bend your forearm and ‘peel’ your palm off the chair. Repeat five times on each wrist.









Straight-arm plank

An office version of a timeless classic, the plank activates the stabilizing muscles of your midsection, which unfortunately weakens when you sit for long periods. To activate your deep shoulder muscles, keep your arms straight.

What to do:
Stand behind your Varier Move standing stool and lower the seat until it’s about halfway down your thigh. Place your hands on the seat like you’re holding a steering wheel. Step backward until your body is in a rigid plank position, and you feel your arms and core contract. To up the action, tilt your pelvis backward, and tuck your imaginary tail between your legs. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Ready for more? Tilt the chair, so it balances on the edge of the base.

Note: only try the tilted chair version if you can hold the normal version for at least one minute.








‘Move’ assisted downward dog

One of my favorite yoga poses, the downward dog stretches all the muscles in the back of the body and improves circulation to the brain. But, busting out a downward dog in the office may be awkward. That’s where your Move sit/stand stool comes in. Use the chair for balance, and to hide your embarrassment at sticking your butt in the air at work.

What to do:
Raise the standing stool to its highest position. Stand in front of it, with your hands on the seat, and tilt it toward you. Push the chair forward, while lowering your chest to the floor. You’ll feel the stretch in your chest, shoulder, mid-back, and hamstrings. Hold this position for a few seconds, then stand, pushing your hips forward and your hands downward and toward you. Repeat 10-20 times.









Seated chest and mid-back move

Long hours in front of a screen with your shoulders internally rotated and rounded creates a lot of tension in the chest and mid-back. Unfortunately for your neck, it’s attached to your shoulders, so when they pull forward, your neck compresses into hyperextension. That’s not good. This exercise will ‘unglue some of the stiffness and liberate your neck.

What to do:
Grab the base of the standing stool’s seat and rock slightly forward in the chair, pulling your shoulders back and pushing your chest forward. Hold this position for a few seconds, then rock back, slowly releasing your grip, and reach forward. As you do this, turn your palms out and thumbs downward and in, while pushing out the mid-back. You’ll feel the stretch between your shoulder blades. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat eight times.








Seated forward reach

Tight hips? That’s because your butt is not a load-bearing surface. The hips need to be mobile, so give them a little extra love. A combined stretch and activation, it ‘switches on’ your lower back and lightly stretches the hamstrings.

What to do:
Place your heels on the floor in front of your activity stool, and straighten your back. Slightly arch your back, reach your arms forward and bend at the hip. You’ll feel the stretch in your hamstrings and calves. Don’t bend the spine forward. Hold the stretch for five seconds, then sit up. Repeat five times.









Neck mobilization party

Rounded shoulders and a rounded upper back (kyphosis) lead to a hyperextended upper neck. Osteopaths and other manual therapists often manipulate or crack the neck joint to release it. These upper neck mobilizations will loosen this area. To isolate the upper neck vertebrae, imagine you have a pencil on your chin, and you’re drawing a large circle in the air.

What to do:
Grab the underside of your Move active stool and lean forward, so your neck is at a 45° angle to the floor. Rotate your neck slowly from side to side, like you’re looking over your shoulder. Repeat five times on each side. Next, draw a circle in the air with your chin. Repeat five times on each side. Grab the underside of your movement stool and lean back, keeping your back rounded until you feel a stretch between your shoulder blades. Slowly nod your head up and down eight times, then try to touch your ear to your shoulder – repeat five times on each side. You’ve now covered every possible joint angle – embrace the suppleness!

Note: You must perform these neck exercises slowly. If you feel any pain, dizziness, or nausea, stop immediately.






Invisible chair

If your muscles aren’t active, your peripheral circulation decreases. To activate your lower body and increase your peripheral circulation, take a break on an invisible chair.

What to do:
Using the Varier Move standing stool for balance, do an air squat and hold the position halfway for 20 seconds. Ensure your weight is toward your heels, instead of on your toes.











Office twerk

Long days in the office taking their toll? Do your hips and lower back feel tight? Twerk it out. This double whammy standing stretch opens up your hips and your lower back. Wow, your co-workers with an impressive slow-mo booty shake and enjoy feeling like a supple young cheetah again.

What to do:
Stand behind your Move, sit and stand chair, and place your hands on it for balance. Round your lower back, and shift your weight over to one foot as much as you can, while pushing the hips on that side over and back as far as you can. You’ll feel the stretch in the side of the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Hold briefly, then shift to the other side. Repeat five times on each side.

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