Work it: Exercises to improve Posture
This article was first published here.
Do you know what good posture is, but forget to improve it?
Then you’re not alone. This is a very common problem among people who want to get a healthier posture. While busy with other things, we tend to forget watching our posture. Below are some exercises that will help you with consciously improve your posture.
A non-workout related exercise you can do is behind your laptop. We made a free and easy-to-use Good Posture App that will help you become more aware of your posture while sitting behind your laptop. The app sends you reminders that help you watch your posture during the day.
However, if you have some time to spare during your break or when you get off work, you can try some exercises to strengthen your postural muscles. These exercises do not require sportswear or weights; just a floor and your bodyweight. Strengthening the muscles that are important for your posture can help you with postural problems.
For all of the exercises described below, it is important to bear in mind that technique is more important than the amount of repeats or the intensity.
Exercise 1: The Single Leg Extension
Trains your core muscles to improve stability of the pelvis.
Start off by lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat and hands behind your back with your head curled up from the ground. Slowly move one knee to your chest and extend the other leg straight at about 45-degree off the floor. Start with eight to twelve repeats of each leg. If you feel you can handle a little more intensity; pull both knees towards your chest at the same time and also extend them simultaneously. But remember: proper technique is more important than more repeats or higher intensity.
Strengthening the muscles that are important for your posture can help you with postural problems.
Exercise 2: The Sit-Up
Strengthens your abdominal muscles.
You are probably already familiar with the sit-up, and if you aren’t, read on! The starting position is on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands behind your head. Now you are going to bring your chest towards your knees and then slowly bring your upper body back to the floor. Be careful to not put too much pressure on your neck muscles. It can help to pick an imaginable spot on the ceiling and stare at it during the movement; that way you will prevent putting too much pressure on your neck. Start with just a few repeats and work your way toward stronger abdominal muscles. To increase intensity, lift your feet into the air so that your shins are parallel to the floor and your knees are in a 90-degree angle.
Exercise 3: The crossover
Trains your abdominal muscles with an emphasis on the obliques.
You want to start off by lying on your back with your chest lifted off the floor, hands behind your head and knees pulled toward the chest. This starting position on itself is challenging but is helps strengthening many muscles that are important for your posture. The exercise requires you to pull one knee towards the chest while extending the other leg. During these movements, your torso will be turning towards the knee that is pulled towards the chest. Slowly switch legs and think as if your elbow has to make contact with the knee of the opposite leg. Since you are starting to work on the strength of your postural muscles, try not to overdo it and start with just a few repeats, building to more as your core strengthens.
Exercise 4: Back Extension
Focusses on your lower back muscles and the muscles that extend your spine to prevent slouching.
Until now you’ve started each exercise on you back, but now you are going to start off by lying on your stomach, placing your palms flat on the floor, next to your ribs. Legs are extended and your toes are touching the floor with your heels pointing straight into the air. Now slowly raise your head and chest off the ground without pushing into your arms and pushing yourself. Stare down to relax the muscles in your neck and keep your hip bones to the ground. To increase intensity, try making the same movement with your arms reached long beside your head, keeping the elbows straight.
We would love to hear how the exercises help you or if you use other exercises to improve your posture. You can leave a comment below or get in touch on twitter.
If you’re really serious about improving you posture: These articles are first published here.