8 Exercises to Improve Your Posture

Bye, bye desk body.

Spending too much time sitting down can play havoc with your posture and poor posture can lead to all sorts of problems that come on slowly, insidiously. Back pain, neck pain, headaches, hip pain, knee pain and even digestive issues can all be linked to habitually poor posture. 

Poor posture is usually caused by the combination of weak and tight muscles, so making an effort to sit with good posture at your desk or stand properly will help prevent bad posture. However, to fix already poor posture such as a slouch, flat back or inward-dropping knees, you’ll need to do some specific exercises. 

Read more: How to adjust your office chair for good posture

Better Posture Workout

This posture workout doesn’t require any equipment other than a resistance band and an exercise mat. You can even do this workout at home.

How to do this workout: Perform this workout three times a week for a month and you should see a marked improvement in your posture.

Follow the exercises in order, as each exercise has been strategically selected to free up tight muscles before strengthening the opposing muscles. 

1 Band Pull Aparts

Target muscles: upper back, middle back, posterior deltoids 

How to perform:

  • Grasp a resistance band and hold it with a hip-width, overhand grip. Raise it to shoulder-height.
  • Keeping your arms slightly bent but rigid, open your arms and stretch the band out across your chest.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

Perform two to four sets of 12 to 20 reps. 

2 Inner Thigh Stretch

Target muscles: adductors (inner thigh muscles)

How to perform:

  • Lie on your back with your butt up next to a wall and your legs straight, feet resting on the wall,
  • Allow gravity to pull your legs apart and down toward the floor. Relax!

Stay in this leg-spread position for 60-seconds. 

3 Band Squats

Target muscles: glutes, quads, hamstrings

How to perform:

  • To perform a band squat tie a resistance band around your knees and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out slightly and clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
  • Keeping your chest up, push your hips back, your knees out against the bend, bend your legs and squat down; do not round your lower back. Try to touch your elbows to the insides of your knees.
  • Stand back up and clench your butt muscles.

Perform two to four sets of 12 to 20 reps. 

4 Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Target muscles: Hip flexors 

How to perform:

  • Take a large step forward, bend your legs and lower your rear knee to the floor. Your front shin should be vertical and your knee over your heel.
  • Move your rear leg back slightly to deepen the stretch. With your hand on your hips and torso upright, let your hips sink down toward the ground.

Hold for 30-60 seconds and then change legs. 

Tip! Do not place your hands on your thighs are this reduces the effectiveness of this exercise.

5 Supine Hip Bridge

Target muscles: Glutes, lower back and hamstrings 

How to perform:

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the floor next to your hips.
  • Push down through your feet and raise your hips up toward the ceiling. Your weight should be supported on your feet and shoulders only; no pushing with your arms.
  • Lower your butt back to the floor and repeat.

Perform two to four sets of 12 to 20 reps.

Variation: Make this exercise more demanding by resting and holding a weight across your hips or using one leg at a time. 

6 Sphinx Stretch

Target muscles: Abdominals

How to perform:

  • Lie on your front with your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders, your forearms flat on the floor and your legs straight.
  • Without moving your arms, imagine pushing your belly into the floor to create an arch in your lower back and stretch your abs. You should look like you are relaxing while reading a book at the beach.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and then relax. 

7 Wall Angels

Target muscles: Upper back, middle back

How to perform:

  • Stand with your back to a smooth wall and your feet around 12-inches away. Lean back so your butt and head are touching the wall. Bend your arms to 90-degrees and push the backs of your hands, forearms, elbows and upper arms firmly against the wall.
  • Maintaining contact, slide your arms up the wall as high as you can and then slide them back down; really push your arms back into the wall to maximally work your mid and upper back muscles.

Perform two to four sets of five to ten repetitions. 

8 Three-Way Planks

Target muscles: Core 

This exercise rotates though a side plank to front plank to side plank.

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder and your legs straight. Lift your hips up and off the ground so your weight is supported on your arm and legs only. Hold this side-on position for 20-40 seconds.
  2. Roll onto your front and support your weight on both elbows and feet. Keeping your body straight and your abs tight, hold this position for 20-40 seconds.
  3. Finally, roll onto your opposite side and hold the first position for a final 20-40 seconds. Relax and repeat two or three more times.

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