3 Gym Exercises to Improve Posture
by Steven Auger
You may have heard it all the time growing up: "Stop slouching, sit up straight!" While it might have been slightly annoying, it was actually for a good reason. There are plenty of signs that indicate your body is healthy — one of which is good posture!
According to U.S. News and World Report, good posture has been proven to boost confidence, mood, energy, and focus. Building a strong body through a dedicated workout regimen is a way to maintain your body's alignment. If you're looking to benefit both physically and emotionally, there are a number of exercises to improve posture that you can try.
Proper Posture Is Essential
So, what does good posture look like? Basically, when you're sitting, your ears, shoulders, and hips should align in one straight line. When you're standing, your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all be aligned. In either position, it's important to keep your chest lifted, shoulders back, and your weight distributed evenly.
If you suspect your posture is out of alignment, you need to locate the source of the problem. Issues typically occur when one muscle group is too tight and the opposing muscle group is too weak. Some of the more common misalignments include the following:
- Sway Back: The hips press forward
- Rounded Shoulders: The shoulders are in front of the ears
- Forward Head: The ears are in front of the shoulders
- Uneven Shoulders: One shoulder is higher than the other
- Uneven Hips: One hip sits higher than the other
Just because you might have developed one of these misalignments doesn't mean you have to settle for it! Try any of these three exercises to improve posture.
1. Lat Hang
Sit at a desk all day or text a lot? The lat hang can alleviate tight muscles in your chest and upper back, according to Men's Health. To perform this exercise, look for the assisted pull-up bar in your gym. Place your knees on the platform and grip the bar above, mimicking a pull-up starting position.
Let your torso hang while keeping your knees on the bench. You should feel a stretch across your chest and in your armpits. Roll your pelvis forward to enhance the stretch; inhale through the nose and exhale out pursed lips.
This exercise can help those over-worked upper traps (the muscles in your neck) and your under-worked lower traps (the muscles in the middle of your back), Fitness Magazine notes. Grip the handles (with your palms facing inward) on the seated rowing machine, keep your elbows tucked in, and pull the cable toward you. Try to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the cable.
3. Side Planks
Side planks target muscles in your core and hips — key areas for maintaining good posture. Keep your elbow aligned with your shoulder as you position yourself on one side. Tighten your core to keep your body straight from head to toe. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds, with the goal of spending two minutes on each side.
Don't let poor posture keep you down. Since you're already in the gym working out, why not perform some exercises to improve posture? You could feel the benefits almost immediately!
As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.