Take note of how you're sitting or standing right now; are you leaning forward, shoulders hunched? There's a relatively high chance that you are, especially if you happen to be sitting at a computer.
I've been catching myself doing the same thing. I work at a computer for very long hours and I'm so engaged in what I'm doing that I end up hunched up over my keyboard, shoulders rounded, head jutting forward. The thing about good posture is that it doesn't just look better, it's also better for your body if you work to hold your posture in a healthy alignment.
All of these exercises and stretches deal with the muscles that are directly responsible for the problem of shoulders hunching forward. More often than not, poor posture is due to a combination of both weak and tight muscles, so both stretching and strengthening are important for improving posture. This Better Posture Workout has both.
We focus on stretching the muscles in the front of the chest, which is likely at least partially responsible for the pulling forward of the shoulders, and we also focus on the muscles of the upper back, working to increase their strength so that they have a fighting chance against the typically opposing stronger chest muscles.
You can do this whole workout without any equipment at all. If you do use weights, we recommend that you use a light weight, especially the first time through this routine. Because we're going for endurance (required from the muscles when it comes to holding good posture all day long), we do a higher number of reps than if we were doing a more traditional strength routine.
- Dynamic stretching warm up
- Strength and toning exercises for improved posture
- Stretches for better posture
Equipment: Light dumbbells optional
Dynamic Stretching Warm Up - All of the moves in this segment are fluid, and meant to get the areas we're going to work on loosened up a bit. These are great exercises to get up and do in between long hours at the work desk to help prevent posture imbalances from occurring in the first place.
Strength and Toning Workout for Better Posture - The exercises in this portion are predominately focused on strengthening the muscles of the upper back, particularly the rhomboids, trapezius, and rear deltoids. We're going to be doing 45 second active intervals, with 15 seconds rest/transition time in between.
Stretches - Lessening the tightness in the chest will help alleviate the pulling of those shoulders forward.
Warm Up Stretches - 20 Seconds each
Small Arm Circles
Big Arm Circles
Toe Touch Reach
Workout for Posture and Toning - 45 Seconds each
Modified Back Bow
Up and Over Press
Bent Over Ventral Raise
Stretches for Better Posture
Front Arm Swings
Toe Touch Reach
Wall Chest Stretch
Overhead Toe Touch
How often can I do this routine?
Start off doing the routine three times a week - this makes a great addition onto our longer strength, cardio, or HIIT workouts. If you're lifting heavily and feeling very sore the next day, do it 2-3 times a week, max. If you're lifting fairly light (recommended), you can do it up to five times a week - this will be especially beneficial for improving your posture when it comes to all of the stretches.