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Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World

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You’d better stand up for this bit of news.

Sitting can wreak havoc on your health, and not just in the form of minor aches and pains. Recent studies show that too much sitting contributes to a host of diseases—from obesity and diabetes to cancer and depression—and literally shortens your life. The facts are in: your chair is your enemy, and it is murdering your body. In Deskbound, Dr. Kelly Starrett—physical therapist and author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book Becoming a Supple Leopard—unveils how your sedentary lifestyle is killing you and, more important, what you can do to change it. Deskbound offers a detailed battle plan for surviving the chair and reclaiming your birthright of mobility and freedom from pain. It provides creative solutions to reduce the amount of time you spend perched on your backside, as well as strategies for the workplace and school that will improve your productivity and your overall health. You will learn how to identify and fix poor posture while sitting and standing; how to prevent, treat, and resolve low back, neck, shoulder, and wrist pain; and avoid and reverse repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel and tendonitis. Whether your goal is to maximize your performance in and out of the workplace or simply to live pain free, Deskbound is the blueprint. Dr. Starrett provides a revolutionary cure for desk-death.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published September 15, 2015

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Kelly Starrett

14 books153 followers

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5 stars
607 (50%)
4 stars
428 (35%)
3 stars
134 (11%)
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26 (2%)
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8 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Wiebke (1book1review).
921 reviews493 followers
April 10, 2018
I read the book in ebook format, which I regret doing. This format is not well suited for the book as it encourages constant flipping between pages and the images were hard to see on kindle (they were just too small and when enlarged you had to scroll around).
The book itself was well written and during the introduction and setting of the situation it read like a doomsday story, making you feel bad about yourself and your sedentary future.
I came to this book as an active person who recently (18 months ago) switched from a more active job to a more sitting day - and I didn't like it.
So I got out of the book what I was looking for: tips on how to get more activity into my day again and also exercises to increase my mobility again.
I have to say though, that if I had been stuck behind a desk for years and not really seen a problem with it, this book will not magically make you active. It is a lot of work and demands discipline and stamina to make long lasting changes. If you don't see yourself pulling through this book might be a waste of money for you.
Profile Image for Phobean.
949 reviews44 followers
February 26, 2018
I didn't read this book. I did, however, check it out of the library because I was highly tickled by what I felt was a somewhat unchecked use of hyperbole. I perused the very expressive text, looked at the pictures and giggled (yes, all at the same time.) Then I returned the book to the library -lugging the enormous tome in my bike panniers. Following, a curious thing happened: I started using the laptop bars at cafes as standing tables, I discovered ways to stand and do work at my local libraries, I bought a standing desk attachment for work.

So who won? Me, or the book?
Profile Image for Cody Lasko.
153 reviews6 followers
March 13, 2018
Comprehensive and eye opening, this is a good resource for those struggling with postural related physical ailments. The text is presented in typically well organized Starrett fashion and if this is your first exposure to the MOB WOD guru then there’ll be a lot of value here. But, if you’re like me and many others and have already worked on much of the Supple Leopard material, there isn’t going to be a lot to add to your already vast library of mobilization tools and strategies.

I commend what Kelly and co. are striving to accomplish - especially within the western school system - and I love the presentation style within.

Look into this if you’re wanting to improve upon your own “desk bound” posture, return to former levels of movement quality, or are simply interested in a lot of Kelly’s system for restoring proper mobility standards in people.

But don’t expect anything earth shattering if you’ve had lots of exposure already.

And if you want the short and sweet solution... it’s simple: JUST MOVE.
Profile Image for Simon Eskildsen.
215 reviews968 followers
April 1, 2021
The biggest take-away is that yes, we should stand more, and not just 2-3h a day, but more than we sit. The other huge take-away is that you should have a stool in front of you to lean your knees on, to allow yourself more different standing positions. Tools for your feet to fidget with, are a good idea too. Those things alone made a huge difference to me. I just push my chair under the desk and lean against it sometimes to change how I stand.

The first 2-3 weeks are hell as you get used to it, but it's been worth it for my upper-back tightness.

But, come on Kelly, you want me to not even have a desk that I can sit at, to make sure I never sit?
Profile Image for Mark Moon.
142 reviews88 followers
December 28, 2016
Important stuff! I will probably be using this as a reference for years to come. My posture has already improved, and I am continuing to make progress, both on my range of motion and on combatting my sitting habits.
Profile Image for Glenda.
364 reviews16 followers
April 30, 2018
"Sitting is the new smoking"... yeah, yeah - we see this everywhere. At least this book gives you some practical exercises and adjustments that can help you do something about it, since for most of us, our day jobs aren't going to chance anytime soon.

I like that he acknowledges that not everyone can go immediately from sitting to standing all day, that you can create bad standing habits as well, and it's more about moving more that will be the most beneficial.

I've started doing the exercises; it's great how they are broken down by area of the body and so eay to choose those that are most applicable for your body. It's early on yet, but I'm hopeful that they will provide benefit.
Profile Image for Katherine Green.
23 reviews
September 3, 2019
Amazing. Ten stars. This book literally changed my life. I am so grateful that Kelly Starrett wrote a book for people who are not athletes. I never knew how to care for my body, and as I got older it had become a challenge to figure out how to get in shape without hurting myself. I had terrible back problems - to the point I couldn't get dressed or out of a car without pain - until I found this book. I've learned how to work my muscles in ADDITION to stretching to find relief and allow myself to slowly build strength. I also became a fan of the standing desk. Everyone needs this book because we all need to know how to counter the effects of sitting.
Profile Image for Sir Readalot.
78 reviews6 followers
March 1, 2020

The content of this book, at best, deserves to be no longer than 30 pages long (that's just me being polite, I think this book can be summarized in one of those fact filled images you see on Instagram). Although the message it wants to convey is important, and it's tips are useful, but flipping through 360+ pages long is not worth it. I'd just suggest the reader to Google this shit and save their time.
Profile Image for Vinod Kurup.
220 reviews2 followers
June 17, 2018
Thanks to Erin Mullaney for recommending this. I agree that anyone who sits at a desk should read this. It was worth it just to learn how to stand properly without getting tired. I had to return it to the library before I got to follow any of the"exercise prescriptions" but I'd like to try them sometime.
Profile Image for Weltengeist.
145 reviews2 followers
January 18, 2021
Bei diesem Buch bin ich hin- und hergerissen. Die "Message" ist sicherlich richtig und wichtig - zu viel Sitzen hat eine ganze Reihe von gesundheitlichen Folgen, auch solche, die man vielleicht nicht gleich auf dem Schirm hat.

Bei einigen der Lösungsansätze, die hier präsentiert werden, bin ich aber mehr als einmal im Zweifel. So halte ich den Ratschlag, man möge doch einfach möglichst oft wieder in eine aufrechte Haltung zurückkehren, für vollkommen unpraktikabel. Diese Sorte "Ratschläge" höre ich mir an, seit ich zehn bin, und sie haben überhaupt nichts genützt. Es läuft darauf hinaus, entweder seine Haltung zu beobachten oder etwas zu arbeiten - beides zugleich funktioniert aber nicht.

Auch sonst ist mir beim Versuch, mit dem Buch zu arbeiten, oft aufgefallen, dass es so einfach eben nicht ist. So habe ich mir fürs Wohnzimmer ein Stehpult zugelegt, um beim Lesen stehen zu können. Leider stellt sich heraus, dass das überhaupt nichts bringt - um nämlich ein Buch zu lesen, das auf einem Stehpult liegt, muss man den Kopf schräg nach unten neigen, dabei runden sich der Rücken und die Schultern - also alles genau wie beim Sitzen. Und wenn man erst einmal darauf achtet, merkt man, dass die gleichen Probleme auch an tausend anderen Stellen auftreten, die gar nichts mit Büroarbeit zu tun haben, beispielsweise beim Abwaschen oder beim Essen kochen. Immer geht der Blick nach unten, die Schultern sind vorgezogen, der Rücken rund. Ein Stehschreibtisch und ein höhenverstellbarer Monitor lösen das Problem also noch lange nicht!

Was mich auch gestört hat (und was ja schon von anderern Rezensenten kritisiert wurde), ist der geschwurbelte, pseudo-akademische Schreibstil der Autoren. Ich kann nicht beurteilen, ob es an der Übersetzung oder am Original liegt, aber in manchen Sätzen sind ein Drittel aller Wörter Fremdwörter (und zwar oft unnötige, sowas wie "agieren" statt "handeln"), die dem Text keine zusätzliche Tiefe geben, ihn dafür aber bemüht klingen lassen. Dass man zudem viele Erklärungen deutlich kürzer fassen könnte, ist ein weiterer Kritikpunkt.

Die Trainingsprogramme im hinteren Drittel konzentrieren sich vor allem auf "Smash"-Techniken (nennen wir das mal einen neuen, coolen Ausdruck für "Selbstmassage"). Ich bin mir aber nicht sicher, ob das wirklich so funktioniert - sind Ungeübte ohne Anleitung durch einen Trainer wirklich in der Lage, ihre eigenen Verspannungen mit einem Tennisball wegzumassieren?

Alles in allem hat mir das Buch eine Reihe von Impulsen gegeben. Ich werde aber das Gefühl nicht los, dass es sich am besten umsetzen lässt, wenn man ohnehin von Beruf Fitnesstrainer ist (wie die Autoren) und dass es für überwiegend sitzend tätige Menschen, die zudem auch noch ein Leben neben der Arbeit haben, schwer umzusetzen ist.

P.S.: Eines muss ich ja noch loswerden: Als ich mich mit der Anschaffung eines höhenverstellbaren Schreibtischs beschäftigt habe, hat sich herausgestellt, dass mein Arbeitgeber dies nur genehmigt, wenn man bereits einen Rückenschaden hat (!). Und dass unser Personalrat dieser Regelung zugestimmt hat...
Profile Image for Joshua.
32 reviews
May 28, 2022
this was one of the most important books I have ever read.
Profile Image for Fullfaun Faun.
852 reviews8 followers
March 15, 2017
Clear directions on how to transition to a standing desk, how to help you in airplane seats and driving in a car.

The first elementary school that only has standing desks and how much healthy the kids are.
Profile Image for Jaime.
113 reviews1 follower
November 12, 2022
I'd heard of "Becoming a Supple Leopard" but never quite managed to read it. As I understand it, "Deskbound" is a repackaging of much of the same material but directed towards deskbound workers - folks who may find themselves sitting for 8+ hours per day.

I loved how clearly and precisely this book laid out the problems with sitting for long periods, and how to organize my spine to best support my body in standing and other daily activities. It provides mobility "prescriptions" for how to roll out to loosen everything that tightens up from hours, days, and years of lack of use.

Since reading this, I've upgraded the ergonomics of my (already-standing) desk set-up, and spent hours doing self-myofascial-release (aka foam rolling). I'd already been doing occasional rolling on my quads and traps, but this book really connected the dots for me on how pretty much every part of my body is affected by my work and could use the same attention.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,286 reviews9 followers
February 16, 2018
This is a super comprehensive book and was too much to get through on a limited library loan period, but I do recommend it for anyone who is looking to realign their bodies and get healthier from the inside out!
Profile Image for Charlotte Rich-Griffin.
9 reviews1 follower
April 15, 2020
I didn't read from cover to cover but I read about half and skimmed the rest.
Whilst I believe in the central concept of the book, sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to our health, I am unconvinced by Starrett's extremely prescriptive approach to solving it. After the first chapter, he forgoes any references or scientific reasoning for why his approach is good. A lot of his ideas do not seem to be evidence based and I do not buy into the idea that his way of standing is fundamentally better than any other.

I could summarise the whole book as sit less, move more. For Starrett, getting a standing desk is not about replacing constant sitting with a constant standing posture. Instead it is about using the standing desk as a way of introducing more movement into your day.
Profile Image for Greg.
Author 2 books9 followers
October 8, 2016
I just finished this book by genius physical therapist Dr. Kelly Starrett. The book postulates that much of our physical dysfunction is rooted in the fact that we sit at desks (or behind the wheel of a police cruiser) for too much time. The book provides specific prescriptions to counteract the damage of sitting too much. It goes beyond that, however. If you have random knee pain, an aching low back, TMJ issues, or even "tennis elbow" from shooting too much, this book has a prescription to fix it.
Profile Image for David.
89 reviews13 followers
October 24, 2017
Here's the way I see it: most of us spend the majority of our lives sitting (yes, we sit more than we sleep or do any other activity), so we should spend at least a few hours reading about how to do it.

The great thing about Deskbound is that it looks at the whole picture when it comes to our relationships with our chairs: posture, body mechanics, risks, exercise, prescriptions. I would take it a step farther and say that this book should be titled The Office Worker's Manual for The Body.
Profile Image for Jordan Chicano.
116 reviews6 followers
June 20, 2020
Good booking showing the importance of standing and moving compared to the sedimentary lifestyle. The mobility techniques at the end are all very similar to his 1st book Becoming a Supple Leopard.

Key Take Aways:
Stand if you can
Every 30 or so minutes, mobilize for 2
Pushups & Squats are great for you
15 minutes a day for daily maintenance
Proper prosture is crucial and will help eliminate pain.
Profile Image for Sasha.
55 reviews1 follower
September 4, 2020
This book has some really good tidbits, but he wants you to read the whole thing in order and it is very, very long. It covers avoiding systemic causes of being sedentary and loosening up muscle tissue, but nothing on strengthening and stretching postural muscles which is a puzzling omission. I hope he revisits this topic and writes something much shorter yet more comprehensive.
Profile Image for yamiyoghurt.
267 reviews23 followers
July 29, 2018
Easy to read, easy to apply. The advice resonate with my beliefs and the mobilization techniques were particularly useful. This book is a good reference for taking care and doing something for the body.
Profile Image for GiGi.
84 reviews36 followers
November 13, 2022
Picked up after reading Overcoming Poor Posture: A Systematic Approach to Refining Your Posture for Health and Performance, since I heard it was more thorough. I'd say either is a good read if you're interested.

This book starts from the ground up and gives reasoning, tips, and pretty thorough explanations of how the Starretts think the optimal workstation should be, and their ideas of mobility standards plus some info on how to get there. Way more content here than in OPP, but i didn't find most of it necessary personally, and I think I generally like what OPP offers in terms of movement 'prescriptions' a little better, though it obviously doesn't target how to change your workstation like this book does.

Something I wish the book discussed: balance/wobble boards and 'active' standing versus static standing or leaning. I'm personally buying a board to let me move around while standing, rather than just staying static, as well as an active stool for sitting/leaning better.

I appreciated the guidelines, and the way that they give some info on ways of sitting that are better (though I don't believe they discuss 'active sitting' either).
29 reviews
July 14, 2017
Found Kelly Starrett through youtube video, than his website and finally this book.

Usually health books tend to push some products, some more aggressive than others, but most annoyingly they use words like: probably, should, maybe and expressions like: not researched, but I believe, I'm sure that, other stuff is well researched but I don't believe it...and so on. None of that here.

The author gives pure advice from years of experience of working with patients of all ages. Nothing ground breaking here, just forgotten technique brought back to life.
There is some product pushing but it's so small and the author even gives cheap alternatives, or competitor products so you just can't blame him for anything.

The problem addressed in this book (sitting long hours) is so widespread, that it's probably the worst and serious problem in the world at the moment because, well, pretty much everybody is doing it.
Not everybody can avoid sitting, but the book gives so many little steps that you can implement that you can make your life easier even if you continue to sit long hours. It only takes a little will.

Very happy that I found this book and will continue to track Kelly's future works.
Profile Image for Cody.
49 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2021
While I normally stand clear of anything that even smells like CrossFit, I’m pretty keen on this. Some of the prescriptions are really helpful and the emphasis on mobilizing throughout the day is useful for establishing some habits and routines. That said, there is just way too much redundant explanation here. And the prescriptions themselves are occasionally extremely silly and kind of hard to execute, even though they do come with helpful pictures and are well-organized. The mobilizations are either smashing a muscle with a foam roller / lacrosse ball, or pretty basic stretching, and everything is thoroughly over-explained. And I think that last bit is a legitimate complaint because there actually is a right way and a wrong way to mobilize and since there’s so much text it’s too easy for your eyes to glaze over. Anyway, I’m thankful to have the practices I’ve gleaned over the years from this reference, even if I think it could have had a slightly smaller scope and been much more concise.
123 reviews
April 3, 2019
Great book, which may be utilised in isolation or in conjunction (as a complimentary text) with Dr. Kelly Starrett's other publications, to utilise as a suitable reference for advancing & maintaining personal mobility.
Presented in like kind to the authors other publications, simply directly applied within an office setting.
I strongly recommend the authors fundamental mobility philosophies (opposing convention - by suggesting utilisation of athletic training to refine personal mobility via personal prescription of a mobility regime) to all, I recommend this particular text to anyone whom finds themselves, or anyone whom is dependent of them, at any time operating within an environment of which resembles that of office space.
This publication has simply reaffirmed my conviction in the value of advancing a philosophy via application of theory, upon doing so the practical transferability & scalability may be rapidly derived with great conviction.
Profile Image for Megan.
124 reviews
March 6, 2023
The only reason it is 4, not 5 stars, is because I would have liked for it to go further in adjusting to a standing life from sitting for all. How to adjust if you're more of an artist than a desk jockey, or how to properly read their own book! My copy is from the library and it is big and heavy, exactly like a textbook, and it would have been a great if they had used it as an example of how to read or study without throwing everything out of whack.

Also: what about warmups for the mobility exercises? Do you need to warm up before starting to smash and floss and all that? I am completely new to this type of exercise so I'm a little lost, and I feel like the authors are maybe coming at this from a very experienced point of view, and didn't cover every little step in a process because it comes so naturally to them.

But those are my big gripes. I found most of the information and advice to be compelling and I'm currently working on reducing optional sitting now.
Profile Image for Yakov Pyatnitskov.
89 reviews11 followers
September 10, 2020
The biggest takeaway from the book apart from the mobilization program that I am still exploring is how detrimental sitting is to our health. This is something I never though or read about and something I plan to change in my life in future. I even set up a makeshift standing station with an empty carton box and am writing this review standing. For that I am very grateful.

As for the techniques I haven't yet found a prescription that I'd fall in love with but I also haven't done them all yet. It was already pointed in another review that directions of movements and areas of mobilization would be very helpful.

The writing style for me was too verbose with unnecessary repetitions that served no purpose. I'd give writing 3 stars.

Overall, great message, good techniques and average writing.
Profile Image for Kendrick Vinar.
64 reviews2 followers
January 15, 2023
Wrapped this up in the New Year with a fresh pep in my step on taking good care of my body, especially with a desk job. Starrett’s insights on the myriad effects of prolonged sitting and poor posture are valuable and jarring. Much of his advice in the book is impractical and borderline comical, as are many of the recommended sitting positions in the book (I don’t have the courage to try that in a boardroom!). I adopted a “chew the meat, spit out the bones” approach to the book and found it quite resourceful.

Specifically, the recommendations on setting up your standing desk as well as the mobility standards and corresponding targeted mobility prescriptions were both excellent. Worth a flip for anyone in a deskbound job who wants to maintain optimal body function over the coming decades.

Profile Image for Mattheus Guttenberg.
Author 1 book9 followers
August 12, 2018
Designed to combat the evils of perpetual sitting, Deskbound is both an education in the principles of human mobility and a complete recovery kit for those living the "deskbound" life. Starrett relates the importance of posture to your health and mobility, teaches the reader how to stand, sit, walk, and even lie down correctly, and offers a comprehensive mobilization strategy to fix stiff joints, rounded shoulders, tight muscles, back pain, etc. that accompanies endless sitting. Office workers need this, athletes need this, anyone who wants to recover their natural flexibility needs this. Deskbound was a critical brick in my progress toward physical health and it will be a resource for years to come.
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