Did you know that for every inch the head moves forward in posture, its weight on your neck and upper back muscles increases by 10 pounds?
The best way to improve your posture is to focus on exercises that strengthen your core — the abdominal and low back muscles that connect to your spine and pelvis.
Make these posture-boosting exercises a regular part of your routine.
1. Cobra Pose: Back Extension
- this pose is fantastic for your spinal health – but make sure you perform it correctly!
- Starting Position: Lie on your stomach with palms flat on the floor near your ribs. Extend your legs straight behind you, and press the tops of your feet into the floor.
- The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your abdominal muscles in and up toward your spine. Lengthen out through your spine and slowly raise your head and chest off the floor, using only your back muscles. Avoid using all (100%) of your hand/arm strength; most of the strength comes from lower back muscles (remember it’s not a Push Up). Keep your hip bones on the floor, and gaze down at the floor to relax your neck muscles. Slowly lower back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as your lower back gets stronger
- Increase the Intensity: Reach your arms long beside your head. Keep your elbows straight.
- Starting Position: Begin lying on your stomach, with arms and legs extended. Keep your head in a neutral position by looking down to the floor in front of you.
- The Move: In a swimming motion, swing your arms down by your sides. Then bring them back up and overhead by your ears. Focus on keeping shoulders relaxed and moving from the lats and mid back. That is one rep. Perform 3 sets of 8 reps.
3. The X-Move
- This exercise helps strengthen your upper back muscles, especially the ones between your shoulder blades (the rhomboids).
Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward. Place the middle of the resistance band around the bottom of your feet and cross one side over the other to form an “X”.
Grasp the ends of the band with your arms extended in front of you.
Pull the ends of the band toward your hips, bending your elbows so they point backward (image at left). Hold and slowly return. Do 8-12 repetitions for three sets.
4. The V-Move
- This exercise will decrease your neck and shoulder pain and improve your posture.
While standing, stagger your feet so one is slightly behind the other. Grasp the handles, or the ends, of the
resistance band and lift your arms upward and slightly outward away from your body about 30 degrees.
Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Stop at shoulder level; hold and return.
Make sure to keep your shoulder blades down and back straight. Repeat this exercise for 2 minutes each day, five days a week.