Exercises to Improve Posture
Below are five key exercises help to improve your posture by strengthening core supportive muscles and structures, allowing you to ‘hold’ yourself in an optimal position – which minimises the stress on your body.
- Elastic Pull-down – this a good strengthening exercise for around the shoulder blades that will help to remind you to counteract the rounded posture we often adopt with sitting.
Stand in a good upright posture, knees slightly bent, lower core engaged, breastbone lifted, chin tucked to neutral, and hold this posture throughout the exercise. Do not let the chin poke out.
Hold the ends of the elastic, with the elbows straight and palms facing down.
Initiate the motion with the shoulder blades, opening up through the front of the shoulders, drawing the blades backward. Do not shrug or raise your shoulders. Then slowly pull the arms down to your sides, not behind. Pause at the end of the movement, then slowly return to the starting position.
Concentrate on the pattern of the movement controlling your head and neck posture before increasing the resistance.
- Sit to stand – it is important to keep using our big thigh muscles to help us move and stand. This is a good exercise to keep them strong and place less stress on other areas of our body. Repeat the movement and it starts to strengthen the muscles
Sit on a chair that have been placed against a wall to prevent slipping.
Interlace your fingers and reach forward with your arms. With your feet slightly apart and your hips at the edge of the seat, lift your hips up from the seat to stand. Slowly return to sitting. Repeat.
- Back muscle strengthening – this exercises engages our central support cylinder and reminds us to use those muscles for when we are moving.
Get on your hands and knees (four point position) with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders.
Your back is in neutral position (slightly arched) and your chin must be tucked in.
Activate your lower abdominals (transversus abdomini) by bringing your belly button inward and by activating your pelvic floor muscles 20 to 30% of maximal contraction.
Maintain a steady abdominal breathing while you lift one arm overhead, keeping your back in neutral position and your chin tucked in.
Return to the initial position and repeat with the other arm.
Return to the initial position and then sliding one leg out behind you while maintaining a neutral position.
- Thread the needle – Our middle backs often get stiff with sitting posture and this exercise encourages some rotation and movement in our mid back region.
Start in a four point position with your hands directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.
Keep your chin in, back straight and shoulders back.
With one arm reach under the other as far as possible rotating and rounding your upper back.
Bring your arm back and reach back in the opposite direction as far as possible.
Keep your elbow bent to 90 degrees and look at your moving hand at all times.
Repeat with the other arm.
- Retraction/elongation – With all the time we spend at computers we can often find our chin poking out and this is a simple exercise to remind us to bring our head back to mindline position and think about being tall.
Stand or sit tall. Focus on an object at eye level while you slowly tuck your chin inward and pull yourself up as if there is a rope pulling the back of your head upward. Maintain the position and relax.