[Updated on 1 June 2020] Bad posture is a common problem for most people in the modern world since we live in a time full of activities that promote poor posture. Having poor posture is when an individual’s spine is situated in an unnatural position for an extended period, mostly due to individuals’ daily activities. In this article, we have discussed advanced posture exercises that can correct poor posture easily.
Some of the causes of poor posture include hunching your back, improper understanding of correct posture, slouching, sedentary lifestyle, looking down at your computer the whole day, poor core stability, and lacking a regular exercise routine. If you are a victim of the above, you don’t need to panic. Fortunately for you, poor posture can easily be corrected.
Why is it important to fix poor posture?
Having a poor posture doesn’t only make you look unattractive and unhealthy; it’s also the leading cause of several health issues. Having a good posture will ultimately help you walk, sit and stand in positions that put minimal strain on your ligaments and supporting muscles during weight-bearing activities. Having the correct posture:
- Correct posture helps keep your bones and joints in the correct alignment so that your muscles work correctly, and in effect decreasing the abnormal wearing of the joint surfaces that would otherwise result in degenerative arthritis as well as joint pain.
- Having a good form works in reducing stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together while minimizing the likelihood of getting injured. It also helps your muscles work more efficiently which results in the use of less energy and ultimately reducing fatigue.
- Having good posture also works to prevent overall muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain. Poor posture puts your entire body system in an unnatural position; these positions result in pain in the affected areas.
- Poor posture also works to misalign your body’s natural weight distribution, meaning that some of your muscles and bones will have to work harder than they naturally have to in their areas.
- Poor posture will negatively affect the way you breathe by putting extra pressure on the heart, ribcage, and diaphragm, preventing your lungs from expanding properly as you breathe in. This will ultimately affect how much oxygen your lungs are taking in.
Therefore, to have proper body posture, individuals need to ensure that they have enough muscle strength and flexibility, regular joint movement in the spine as well as other areas. You also need to have effective postural muscles that are equal on all sides of your spine.
How can I identify poor posture?
Individuals with poor posture will have rounded shoulders, head tilted forwards, slouching figure, bent knees, and a potbelly.
Individuals with good posture will have a straight line from their ear to the shoulder of their hip balanced, with an upright posture.
Advanced Exercises to Improve your Posture
To avoid getting any of the discussed negative experiences caused by poor posture, you need to actively get involved in correcting your posture. Having good posture will ensure that your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments within your body are properly aligned and working optimally. Having good posture also helps your body to develop balance, strength, and flexibility. There will be less strain on your body, and you are less likely to experience any of the negative effects that are caused by poor posture.
Having a strong core is very important when it comes to having good posture, and doing this simple exercise is one of the best ways you can strengthen your core. The Plank workout helps in strengthening your abdominal muscles as well as the glutes, erector spinae muscles located on your back, and the muscles located on your shoulder.
While performing a plank is straightforward and doesn’t need explaining, doing it the right way will go a long way in improving your posture.
To effectively do a plank, it’s important that you start with your face facing down on the floor or mat, place both your legs and feet together, with both your palms along your shoulders in a pushup position. Raise yourself onto your forearms in such a way that your elbow and the rest of your forearm is touching the ground. Ensure that your forearms are parallel to each other.
The next step is to lift the lower part of your body as well as your knees in such a way that your toes and forearms remain in contact with the floor. Lock in the abdominal pelvic muscles so that the middle part of your body does not sag. At this point, your spine, shoulders, neck, and legs need to be held straight, with your head facing the floor.
Hold this position for a while, making sure that you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Hold for 30 seconds and gradually increase the duration as your core becomes stronger.
The New Crunch
This exercise is also known as the curl up and works the rectus abdominus, which is the muscles that are responsible for the six-pack as well as the obliques that normally run diagonally around your waist and rotate your torso.
To perform this workout, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Now press your lower back into the floor. Put your hands behind your head, or you could also reach your arms towards your knees (in case it doesn’t create too much tension).
Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up towards your spine. Now curl your head and shoulders slowly off the floor. Hold and then calmly begin to lower back down. Repeat this about three times. For maximum intensity, extend forward one leg making a 45-degree angle to your ceiling. Or you could hold both your right and left legs away from the ground; making sure your knees are bent, and your shins parallel to the floor.
Back extension exercises
This exercise is designed to help you develop a strong back; which is also a very important element when looking to maintain a proper body posture. This exercise helps to work the erector spinae muscles of the lower back as well as the glutes. Performing this exercise will also help in improving the mobility and flexibility of the spinae.
For this exercise, start by lying face down on the floor, ensuring that your legs and feet are together and your hands stretched outwards. It’s important that your hands are stretched outwards. You also need to make sure that your feet are outstretched in such a way that the top of your feet is pressed against the floor.
Now, with your back muscles, slowly lift your head and chest off the floor as you simultaneously lift your feet off the floor. It’s important that you do not push down into your arms to lift. At this point, only your midsection needs to be in contact with the floor. This is the stomach and hip bones. Hold this position for a few seconds and then get back to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, making sure you increase the number of reps as your back begins to get stronger. When you first start this exercise, begin with the easy version of the workout where you lift your head, chest, and arms off the floor while your feet remain in contact with the floor. As you progress, you can move on to the advanced variation as your back gets stronger.
This exercise is ideal for your posture and works on strengthening all the core muscles while focusing on the obliques.
To begin this exercise, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your chest lifted off the floor, and knees pulled into your chest. Ensure that your low back is pressed into the floor. Ensure you breathe out strongly and pulling your belly button in and up to your spine.
Pull in one of your knees towards your chest as you extend the other leg straight and rotate your torso towards the bent knee. Now slowly switch legs, pulling the other knee into your chest, rotating your torso towards it while extending the opposite leg off the floor.
Repeat this about five to ten times, gradually increasing as your core gets stronger. It’s important to note that the closer your straight leg is to the floor the harder it will be for your core. Try extending your legs just a few inches off the floor, ensuring that your lower back stays on the floor.
Cobra Pose Back extension
This move is especially important as it helps strengthen the erector spinae as well as other back muscles. The spinae erector is the back muscle that normally extends your spine and prevents slouching.
To begin this workout, lie down on your belly, ensuring your palms are level on the ground close to your ribs. Extend both your legs straight to you back, pressing the top of your feet into the floor.
Next, exhale strongly as your pull in your abdominal muscles near your rib inwards and outwards. Lengthen out through your spine and slowly raise your head and chest off the floor, using your back muscles. Make sure you do not push down into your arms to press up. Keep your hip bones on the floor and gaze down at the floor or mat to give your neck an opportunity to relax. Now, slowly lower your back down. Repeat this motion three to five times, increase as your lower back gets stronger.
This is yet another advanced exercise that you can perform anywhere, even inside the comfort of your office. The Wall Angel is a great way to test your posture as well as help prevent and reverse round shoulders. This exercise works to stretch out your shoulders and chest while also strengthening several back muscles including the trapezius, the lats and rotator cuffs. You only need roomy wall space to perform this exercise.
To perform this exercise, start by standing with your back against the wall and your heels a few inches from the base of the wall and your knees slightly bent. Ensure that your entire upper body, shoulders, head, and back are touching the wall.
Now, raise your arms ensuring your elbows remain bent in such a way that the lower part of your arms is facing up while the upper side of your arms remains parallel to the ground. It’s important that the whole of your arm is leaning against the wall, with your palms facing outwards. Next, you need to straighten your elbows to raise your arms above your head, such that they form a letter Y, with your head protruding from the center of the letter Y. As you raise your arms, ensure that they are in contact with the wall.
Now, hold this position for a few more seconds and bring your arms back to the starting position. Ensure that your contact with the wall is not lost. Repeat the arm movement ten to fifteen times.
According to a study conducted in 2013, performing this advanced posture exercise two minutes and day, five times a week, will significantly decrease your shoulder and neck pain by improving your posture.
To perform this exercise, you need to be in a standing position. Stagger your feet so that one is slightly behind the other. Grasp the handles, or the end of the resistance bands and lift your arms upwards and slightly outwards away from your body about 30 degrees.
Keep your elbows slightly bent. Stop when you get to your shoulder level and then hold this position and return. Make sure that your shoulder blades remain down and your back is straight.
Make sure you repeat the exercise two minutes each day, five days a week.
Single-Leg Extension (Core Stabilizer)
This exercise works to train your midsection muscles to work hand in hand to stabilize your pelvis. To effectively perform this routine, lie down on your back making sure your knees remain bent; and your feet are flat on the floor with your hands behind your head. Now, press your low back into the floor and curl your head up off the floor.
Breathe out and pull back your navel towards your spine. Now, slowly pull in one knee to your chest, ensuring your lower back remains pressed to the ground; while extending the other leg straight for about 45 degrees off the floor. It’s important to keep your abdominals pulled in and your low back on the floor. In case your lower back arches off the ground, you’ll need to raise your leg higher towards the ceiling. Switch your legs. Begin with about five to ten extensions for each side.
To increase the intensity level in this workout, pull in both of your knees towards your chest. Now, extend both your legs straight at about 45 degrees using your midsection to keep your low back on the floor. Alternatively, as you extend both arms overhead, reaching in the opposite direction from the legs.