Picture someone doing something heoric. Now, was he sitting or standing? Not counting F.D.R. - D. Schrute
This weekend I completed the Florida Tough Mudder. It was fantastic, one of the coolest competitions I've ever competed in. As seen in the video, the Tough Mudder is a 11.5mi mud and dirt course with 26 obstacles designed to require teamwork and mental grit. I will be the first to admit I am not a runner, but that is not to say I am unable to run. Part of my programming for the Tough Mudder was standing@work. Standing got me ready by conditioning my feet to withstand the abuse of a 2.5-3 hr death march. The result of my efforts show in my ability to arrive at work today bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to stand at my desk. Standing@Work has been a win for mobility once again.
An unexpected benefit of Standing@Work has been an increased awareness of what's happening in my surroundings. I stand at an impressive height, so I'm able to survey the cube farm looking over walls when standing. The sheer ability to know what's going on, who's coming and going, and if there is a gathering is extremely valuable.
No longer can people sneak up on me. No longer am I caught unprepared for a conversation. In fact, more often than not, coworkers coming to talk are surprised that I'm standing up, giving me a distinct advantage (although that will wear off). This side-effect has a positive effect on productivity preventing complacency and it has minor mobility effects, encouraging eye refocusing as I look around.
Pictured above: Left side hyper-extension, no glut activation. Right side spine in alignment with no hyper-extension, gluts activated.
I've been canvassing people I know for tips and suggestions about standing up for long periods. One common thread that has come up again and again has been to watch out for back aches. I found this very unusual as a sore, achy lower back hasn't even been on my radar. A possible conclusion why I haven't been experiencing any lower back discomfort is due to being aware of my stance and posture. In a previous daily post Standing is a Skill, Kelly Starrett goes through 3 steps to setting up for standing in a neutrally supported position.
To reiterate, they are as follows:
- Pull ribcage down (mid-line stability)
- Activate the gluts
- Savasana (externally rotate arms, palms facing away, re-bend at elbows)
The key step to eliminating lower back pain is activating the gluts. "What does this do?", you may ask. Activating the gluts makes it IMPOSSIBLE to hyper-extend. The hyper-extension of the lower back is the cause of all those tight, achey, sore backs people complain about.
One of the main motivations to begining the Cubesapien experiments stemmed from very TIGHT quads. This is one of the results from sitting for long periods maintaining that 90 degree hip angle. In the sitting position, the quads are under no tension and without that load they shorten. This is fine and dandy while sitting, in fact, it's a Cubesapien adaptation. The issue arises when you transition to a standing position. So after a day of sitting you feel tight and it becomes difficult get the FULL hip extension. (Full hip extension may be a difference in only a few degrees as measured from the hip/pelvis ball joint)
To combat this terrible affliction, Kelly Starrett has a lovely little mobilityWOD for you (see second half video). This mobilization technique is great for the office. You will need a non-rolling chair. Prop you're knee to the back the the chair, stand tall, and drive those hips forward.