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5 Exercises to Improve Posture

Introduction

With many people seated long hours at a desk and driving in the car, it is not uncommon at some stage in your life to experience or develop poor posture. Do you find yourself slouching, walking/standing with rounded shoulders, experiencing back pain or feeling quite tight overall? If so, these indicate that you would likely benefit from some stretching and exercises that specifically help improve overall posture. See below for 5 exercises/stretches that will help you. Easy to perform with little to no kit required:


Cat Cow

  • Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees.

  • Ground down through your palms.

  • As you inhale, tilt your tailbone up, drop your belly, and lift your gaze slightly up without bunching the back of the neck. (This is the "cow" half.)

  • As you exhale, tuck your tailbone, curl and round your spine, and bring your gaze toward your belly button. (This is the "cat" half.)

  • Repeat for at least 10 repetitions.


Quadruped Thoracic Rotation

  • Begin in a quadruped stance (on all fours on the ground).

  • Place one hand to your ear and the other hand on the floor supporting the body.

  • Maintain a neutral spine while lifting your elbow above shoulder height, opening up the chest to the sky. Eyes will follow your elbow at all times.

  • Brace your core and perform the reps slowly and controlled throughout the movement.

  • Repeat on each side for 10 repetitions.


Standing Banded Pull Apart

  • Stand up straight and hold a band out in front of you. Use an overhand or underhand grip.

  • Your arms are straight, and will remain straight the whole time. The band is extended out in front of you.

  • Begin to pull the band apart by squeezing your shoulder blades together.

  • Pull the band at a slightly downward angle so that it ends up drawn across your collarbone with your hands outstretched to either side of your body.

  • While controlling the band, begin to release it in the exact opposite path back to the starting position allowing your shoulder blades to separate and your hands to come forward.


Plank Hold

  • Start on all fours on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders and knees bent and stacked directly under hips.

  • Step one leg back at a time to come into high plank position on palms, actively squeezing heels and glutes together and drawing navel to spine.

  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat for 2 to 4 sets. As you build strength, increase time to 1 minute or more.


Cobra Pose

  • Start on your belly with your feet hip-distance apart and your hands beside your ribs.

  • Extend your big toes straight back and press down with all ten toenails to activate your quadriceps.

  • Rotate your inner thighs toward the ceiling to broaden the lower back.

  • Pressing down lightly with your hands, start to lift your head and chest, rolling your shoulders back and down.

  • Keep the back of your neck long and focus on lifting your sternum instead of lifting your chin.

  • Straighten your arms while keeping your shoulders remaining away from your ears. Keep at least a slight bend in your elbows.

  • To exit the pose, release back to your mat. Include a downward dog pose between cobra pose to stretch back further.




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