The Professional Who Sits

By John Monteleone, Head Trainer at Wyomissing Fitness

In over ten years of personal training, the most common clients I train are the professionals who sit all day. Sitting is rapidly becoming the new smoking. There are several health risks involved being seated for most of the day. The average American is seated approximately thirteen hours a day and that does not include sleeping. YIKES. Who would think a comfy chair would have such a deleterious effect on our body?

The human body is a gloriously adaptable movement machine! The key word is movement. The human body did not evolve through sedentary behavior. However, if you are a highly educated, high earning professional, chances are you are seated for most of your day. When on one’s butt for most of the day, the body starts structurally change. Dr. Vladimir Janda discovered this observation and classified it as upper cross and lower cross syndrome.

Upper Cross Syndrome:

Seated positions, especially working at a desk or computer screen the body after time changes. The upper back (mid spine to the base of your neck) begins to round as your shoulders pull forward. The neck juts forward losing its C-spine curvature. The muscles of your upper back and rotator cuff begin to stiffen and weaken. Lastly, the muscles in the chest and shoulders become shortened and stiffen, pulling the upper body into this posture.

Lower Cross Syndrome:

For the Lower Cross, think of hips and low back. When seated the hips extend (your butt juts out) and the low back arches opposite direction. Biomechanically, not an optimal position for movement for the body. The body is no longer relying on mobility of the hips, but of the low back. The abdominals and glutes become weak and deactivate. The hip flexors and erector spinae become shortened and weakened, reinforcing this posture. Hello sciatica!


How do we change  or fight off this posture? Ideally walk for 5 minutes for every thirty minutes seated. However, if that is not feasible,try standing for 2 minutes for every twenty minutes seated. Moving helps blood circulation and prevents muscles from shortening or weakening from in fixed positions. Here are some exercises that can help to mitigate the effect and keep you healthy. Complete these exercises three times per week.

Hip Bridges: 3 x 12

Bird Dog: 3 x 12 per side

Plank: 3 x 40 seconds

Side Plank: 3 x 40 seconds per side

Body Squats: 3 x 12

Cable Standing Row: 3 x 12

Healthy living is a lifelong commitment that personal trainer John Monteleone emphasizes to his clients. He is passionate about sharing his wisdom and educating the community about getting healthy and incorporating fitness in their lives. In his own words, “I love healing people while always emphasizing quality”, he shares. “That’s why I get up at 3:30am Monday through Friday. If my clients are motivated to come to the gym at 5am, then I want to match their level”.   John is also a candidate for the Olivet Boys and Girls Club Kiss a Pig 2018 campaign. Kiss-A-Pig Candidates compete to raise the most money for Olivet Boys & Girls Club. The candidates who raise the most money will kiss Miss Maycie May the pig at Olivet’s Steak & Burger Dinner on May 22, 2018. Support John to help him raise the most funds to benefit the Olivet Boys and Girls Club, benefiting the youth of Greater Reading, so he can win the chance to pucker up and kiss a pig! You can find him at Wyomissing Fitness and Training and Exeter Fitness and Training gyms.

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