5 Go-to Exercises to Improve Posture
5 Go-to Exercises to Improve Posture
1. Pelvic Tilts This is one of the most important exercises for all function. This helps reach the deep, deep core muscles and correctly position the pelvis, spine, and hips. This allows you to use the core muscles more effectively.
*Remember this exercise for all of the following exercises. You want to be able to do this pelvic tilt to make your other exercises more efficient as well.
1. Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. 2. Use your core muscles to flatten your back all the way to the floor. (Think about driving your belly button in toward your spine.) 3. Hold contraction for 3 seconds, then relax, and repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps.
Important: Try not to let your glutes help with this movement, they have their own job to do.
2. Single-leg Glute Bridges (with your heel on a foam roller) [one of my favorites!] Take the glute bridges to the next, more efficient, level. This exercise allows you to focus on one leg at a time while engaging your core. The reason this is more efficient in terms of glute strengthening is because of the foam roller under your heel. It’s your job to keep that foam roller nice and still as your go through this exercise. This helps shut down your quads and isolate your glutes and hamstrings. Believe it or not, often times when people do regular glute bridges with their feet on the ground, they are very rarely using their glutes; their quads like to jump in and take over.
1. Lay flat on your back. 2. One knee is bent 90 degrees and the heel is on top of the foam roller. 3. The other leg is bent and pulled toward your trunk with your hands. 4. Perform your pelvic tilt. 5. Keeping the foam roller still, pull your heel into the foam roller and feel your hamstrings activate. 6. Keeping your core activated, lift the hips off the ground into your glute bridge without letting the foam roller move. 7. Slowly lower back down to the floor without letting the foam roller move. 8. Repeat for 3 sets of 8 reps for each leg.
3. “Why Me?” (with a mini band) (As if to throw your arms out to the side and ask “why me?”) This exercises is great for reaching the muscles in between your shoulder blades. Though this is a very small movement, this will help reposition your shoulders so you avoid rounding your shoulders through everyday activities. This will also help open up the front of your shoulders as they tend to get tight when in that rounded shoulders position for long periods of time.
1. Kneeling or standing, place a mini band around the wrists or forearms. 2. Activate your core with that pelvic tilt. 3. With your elbows at 90 degrees, squeeze your shoulder blades together. 4. Hold for 3 seconds, then relax, and repeat for 3 sets of 12.
4. Reverse Planks Say goodbye to front planks and say hello to reverse planks! This variation of a plank is a better way to reach your posterior musculature, which are your postural stabilizers. You can access your core, glutes, hamstrings, and periscapular muscles with just this one exercise. As a bonus, you are able to get a little upper body workout from this as well.
1. Sit tall with your legs out straight. 2. Pull heels into the foor. 3. Point toes up to the ceiling. 4. Place your hands on the floor right behind your hips (fingers pointing toward your feet). 5. Get into your pelvic tilt to activate the core. 6. Keep the legs straight as you lift your hips off the floor into your reverse plank. 7. Hold for 20 seconds, then relax, and repeat for 3 sets of 20 seconds.
You should be able to make a straight line from your feet through your knees, hips, shoulders, and head. You should feel your core, glutes, hamstrings, and upper back muscles working.
5. Thoracic Spine (T-Spine) Twists We hear a lot about cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) spine. We tend to forget about the thoracic (t-spine aka, middle back) spine. If this area of your back is limited in motion, it actually effects your cervical and lumbar spine as well. This exercises helps stabilize your lumbar spine and allows you to get your t-spine moving using those muscles between the shoulder blades and your other back muscles that are often forgotten.
1. Start in a heel sit position to “lock” your lumbar spine. 2. One arm is straight out in front of you with the hand on the floor. 3. The other hand is placed at the back of your head and elbow bent. 4. Engage your pelvic tilt. 5. Keeping your hips, legs, and feet still, breath in and slowly twist your bent elbow and shoulder inward and under the straight arm. 6. Slowly start to twist the bent elbow and shoulder back up as your breathe out. 7. Keeping your hips, legs, and feet still, try and twist the bent elbow up toward the ceiling. 8. Repeat for 3 sets of 8 reps on each side.
The whole time we are keeping that core engaged in our pelvic tilt, we don’t want any extension in the back.