Improve Your Posture – Exercises and Mobility Drills You Should Be Doing
- DAN NORTH
It’s pretty common, too common actually, to have crappy posture.
Why is it so common now in our society?
Well, think about what most of us do for a living.
We sit. A lot.
And on chairs!
Not only that, we’re usually poking our heads through our computer screens while hunched over a desk, or constantly looking down at our phones while walking into people on the sidewalk (especially in Toronto).
A healthy posture isn’t just standing up straight all the time looking like you have a pickle up your ass, either. A healthy posture is one that can move freely and pain-free into various positions throughout the day. Our torso needs to be able to flex, extend, turn, twist, bend, etc…not just be able to stay perfectly straight or hunched over. There are a lot of in between positions we need to be able to perform depending on what we’re doing.
However, most people are so prone to being in a slumped position for an extended period of time that they begin to develop pain in their lower back and other compensations/imbalances.
What happens to your posture if you sit for extended hours every day and do little to no exercise/physical activity to help it?
- Hips become restricted since they’re always flexed
- Lower back pain due to constant pressure on the spine from seated position
- Upper back/shoulder rounding due to hunched position
- Forward head protrusion from computer work and phone
- Glutes and core become weak from sitting on your butt too long and are not able to support the spine as efficiently as they should.
What can you do to improve your posture and relieve the negative effects sitting has on your body?
HIP MOBILITY DRILLS
Our hips are a ball and socket joint so they need the ability to go through a lot of different ranges of motion (flexion, rotation, extension, abduction, adduction). Sitting keeps us in a flexed hip position, so perform mobility drills to regain your hips’ intended ranges of motion again.
See here for more hip mobility drills and warm ups.
SHOULDER MOBILITY DRILLS
Similar to our hips, our shoulders are a ball and socket joint as well. Our constant rounded position at the desk limits the range of motion our shoulders are used to, so give them some loving with mobility drills to help them learn how to move as they are intended to.
Extension exercises like deadlifts and low back extensions will strengthen your lower back muscles and help provide support for your spine.
ROWING AND UPPER BACK EXERCISES
Rowing exercises will strengthen the upper back muscles and help eliminate rounded upper back/shoulders and help keep your natural posture more upright.
PRO TIP: PERFORM MORE HORIZONTAL ROWING EXERCISES (BENT OVER ROW, SEATED ROW VARIATIONS, ETC) THAN VERTICAL PULLING (LAT PULLDOWN, PULL UPS, ETC) TO IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE IF YOU’RE ALREADY INTERNALLY ROTATED (ROUNDED SHOULDERS).
Glute-specific exercises and compound lower body movements will help strengthen the surrounding supportive system of the spine.
This obviously goes without saying. Your core’s main function is to support the spine while your limbs are in motion. Train your core with specific exercises to create a stronger support system for the spine.
JUST MOVE MORE
Stop sitting so much and move. Movement is the best posture.
If you have any comments or questions about this article shoot me a message down below!