If You Sit at a Computer All Day This Mobility Exercise Will Change Your Life in 30 Seconds

If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen.

In fact, you probably spend a lot of time in a hunched over position. Whether it’s sitting at a desk, in a car, or on the couch, the default position for many people is shoulders forward, hips flexed, back slightly bent, and hunched over.

Here’s the problem…

Eventually, this hunched over position leads to tightness, inflexibility, and poor posture. You’ll start to feel hip pain, back pain, tight muscles, and more.

You need something to open your body back up, pull you into proper alignment, and help you stand up straight. After searching for a lot of alternatives, I have one simple exercise that will do the trick.

The Simple Mobility Cure

The exercise in the video below is taught by Max Shank and he says it is “arguably the best mobility exercise you can possibly do.”

After doing this for a few months, I would agree.

The exercise is called the Thoracic Bridge and there are two reasons why it is awesome.

  1. It keeps life simple. I know that my body would benefit from doing more mobility and flexibility work each day, but I also have dozens of responsibilities that are more of a priority in my life. I don’t want to constantly assess which joints need work and then memorize 30 different mobility exercises and decide which one to use. Instead, I would rather have one or two simple exercises that I can consistently implement to avoid most problems. The Thoracic Bridge keeps things simple while still providing big benefits.
  2. It can be done in just 30 seconds without equipment. Add this mobility exercise into your work day and you’ll immediately feel the benefit in your hips, shoulders, and back. The first time I did it, I cracked my own back and immediately felt my posture improve. But what makes it particularly useful is that you don’t need any equipment or special gear. All you need is some open space and a willingness to get in a strange position for 30 seconds.

Here’s how to do it…

Thoracic Bridge Tutorial

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30 Comments

  1. Interesting exercise. Now, how many times per side should we do? Doing one for each side seems to take less than 30 seconds.

  2. Fine and dandy — IF you’re fairly fit already.

    Does he have something for those of us who’re fat and not fit or very flexible?

    • Yeah, Dude.

      That’s sweet and all but where’s the warmup? The I’m-54-with-2-fake-hips-and-can-hardly-get-on-the-ground level?

      Really though. That’s sweet. I’m gonna try it. But not here at work. Not yet. I so dislike saying, “I’ve fallen and I can’t g….” You know the drill!

  3. Great advice from Max here. This is a staple of warmup routines for most Brazilian jiu-jitsu camps, too.

    Way to help a LOT of people improve posture and mobility in under 500 words, James!

  4. I’ve been doing the straight back bridges for a while, but I like the twist variable introduced with this one – thanks James!

  5. This is good stuff. He gets in a beautiful crawling position. A recent training professional suggested I find a place for crawling in my routine, and it looks like crawling could be a great exercise for anyone looking to improve their full body coordination and strength.

  6. I would love to do this because the benefits seem so good. But I have arm, shoulder, and hand issues (Arthritis, MFS) can you please show something that helps the thoracic and hip area that does not include using arm or shoulder strength? There is no way with the pain I already have that I could possibly do this exercise in this format. I wish someone would help people with Fibromyalgia pain!

    Thank you.

  7. The ‘more’ is what I felt a few weeks ago, when I got up from my computer and literally could not walk – couldn’t put any pressure on my leg because of the hip pain. The physio said, ‘Sitting down too much!!!’ With physio and exercise I’m now riding my bike and actually rode to work for the first time this morning. Yay!! The traffic is scary, but not as scary as being immobile! I hope this exercise can save people from my pain.

    Thanks James. I love reading your posts. :)

  8. I imagine that this could be easily modified as a standing exercise, against a wall, for those who have difficulty with the crawling position. In fact I just tried it and it seems to work pretty well. Put one hand against the wall, then turn the hips and feet so that they are facing away from the wall, pushing the hips forward, and reach straight out from the torso (which should be facing to the side at this point) with the free hand. Turn the feet back to face the wall and repeat on the other side. Feels pretty good. Once you have a sense for how it should feel, you could probably even get many of the same benefits with the hand on the back of a chair.

  9. Good test of range of motion and shoulder strength. Not typical, however, of your typical person sitting at a desk; unless they happen to have significant shoulder strength and range of motion, as well. Supporting the upper body weight on one shoulder while pushing upward with the hips invites disaster unless you’ve prepared ahead of time for such a movement with strength and flexibility training. Most office workers haven’t a clue. In fact, most of the people in the gym should be careful of this one: loss of balance pivoting on the shoulder could be detrimental to the unprepared.

  10. I was wondering which parts of the day is more effective:

    1) Beginning of the day (morning)
    2) Mid-day/noon
    3) Evening/late-night

  11. Thanks for this! I have been spending more time than usual at my desk and noticing hip pain for first time in my life. So timely since I’m writing and doing computer work for more hours per day than I usually do but need to say on task and on time with my projects! Thanks for sharing Max’s video. It’s so clear that I could do the exercise first try with good form.

  12. Nice but it’s gonna just TRASH my knees. Howsaboot something similar for those that could do it physically but for the knees?

    • You sure about it trashing your knees? My knees aren’t great but it doesn’t affect them at all. It’s much more intense on your torso/lower back and shoulders.

  13. Thanks for sharing this, James. This is an effective simple exercise to do for those of us behind the keyboard all day. Done it a few times now and totally feeling the difference. Keep up the great work here.

  14. Some great points in this article and we really need to think about posture and flexibility when working at the computer all day but I’d have trouble with this too because I don’t sit working in shorts (or PJs) ready to leap into action when I have a break. Not that it’s so bad getting changed but any barrier and it’s less likely to happen.

  15. This is actually the first step into getting into a bridge, and also the easiest part. Its not that difficult, the next step is where you can break your shoulder.

  16. I’m a young athlete who has been doing fairly intense physical labor for a few years, and I’ve always been a bit worried about the health of my spine due to that. I’ve been having a very odd back pain that is almost always unnoticeable except for very occasional movements. Strangely enough, the twisting motion of this excercise brings the pain about. Anyone have any ideas on what this means?

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