Bad posture is a common problem today. Sitting at desks all day long or looking down at your smartphone can develop a poor posture for many people. Believe or not, a wrong workout or unbalanced training can also lead to a bad posture, which will destroy your strength gains and increase the risk of injury.
If you do a lot of push exercises like bench presses or push-ups and too little exercises for your posterior chain, you will be at the risk of tightening your muscles that are already tight. And, muscles that are already weak will have no chance to work against them. This will result in a forward head position and slouching shoulders.
This not only looks horrible but can also lead to neck pain and muscular imbalances. To avoid or correct bad posture, we need to activate our muscles in the posterior chain and stretch and relax the tight muscles in the anterior chain. Here are 3 basic exercises that will activate your weak muscles and stretch those tight ones. With consistency, you will be able to fix that poor posture easily.
1. Reverse Plank Bridge
This exercise activates muscles like middle trapezius rhomboids, erector spinae and neck flexes while stretching your pecs, long head of the biceps, front deltoids and your neck extensors.
To perform the exercise correctly, keep your arms straight, pull your shoulders back, bring your shoulder blades together and tuck your chin. Now, push your chest up as much as possible and extend your spine.
You can do this exercise with different hand placements – fingers pointing forward or backward. If you place your hands with fingers pointing backward, you will activate your external shoulder rotators and this will result in a better shoulder stability. You will also achieve a higher range of motion and stretch your chest, biceps and front delts.
2. Arch Up
This exercise consists of two different movements. In both movements, tuck your chin and look to the ground. This will activate your neck flexors and stretch your neck extensors.
The part of the exercise is the Shoulder Flexion. This movement is very good to open up your shoulders. Push your arms and your shoulder blades upwards and try to raise your arms as high as possible without bending them or arching your lower back.
The next part is the Horizontal Abduction. Here, you also try to lift your arms as high as possible. But, this time try to bring your shoulder blades together. This will activate your rhomboids and middle traps.
The last exercise for improving your posture is any kind of rowing movements. You can do body rows, rows with the band, seated cable rows or even dumbbell and barbell rows. No matter which kind you choose, don’t just move your arms. It’s very important to keep your spine slightly extended, pull your shoulders back and bring your shoulder blades together. Avoid a rounded back and the forwarded head position.
A word of advice
The key to improving your posture is to do all these exercises on a regular basis and not only for a few weeks. Your daily posture fails will always remain the same or even get worse. So, don’t limit the duration of a training session that improves strength coordination and mobility. You will also profit from a functional full-body workout instead of an isolated one-sided training program.