If you struggle with poor posture, this article will show you how to fix bad posture using bodyweight exercises.
So many people have bad posture nowadays. And I can see why – most folks live sedentary lifestyles or spend most of the day seated.
You’ll be surprised to find out that, small habits like leaning forward when using the phone could damage your posture. Muscle imbalances have also been known to cause bad posture.
In this article, I will show you how you can fix bad posture using bodyweight exercises and stretching. But realize that this won’t be a quick fix. These exercises won’t fix your posture in a week. It takes years for posture to be distorted therefore it’ll take time to fix it.
Now, you may say “to hell with good posture….I am okay the way I am”. If you have such a thought, read on to discover the importance of good posture.
Why it’s important to have a good posture
Good posture is incredibly important. Not only does it say much about your character, it improves your physical health and mood.
Here are some benefits of having a good posture
It improves spine health
Reduces risk of shoulder, back and neck pain
Reduces headaches and fatigue
It makes you look taller
It improves your mood and makes you look confident
Frankly, there are more benefits to having a good posture.
I’ll discuss the most common posture problems and the corrective exercises to fix them. Here you go –how to fix bad posture with bodyweight exercises.
Forward head posture
This is common with folks who spend hours leaning toward a computer screen or using a phone.
Regularly leaning forward tightens the muscles in the back of your neck and the upper trapezius. As a result, the head sticks out in front of the body.
Not only does this posture give you the caveman-look, it takes a toll on the spine. In fact, for every inch, your head sticks out forward, 10 pounds of extra weight is added to the neck and upper back muscles. This weakens the spine and the back muscles. And that’s why you’ll see most old folks with curved backs.
Ask a friend to test if you have the forward head posture. From sideways, your earlobe should be directly below the acromioclavicular joint. If your earlobe extends beyond the AC joint, you have forward head posture.
Always make a conscious effort to avoid leaning forward. Lean back whenever you catch yourself sticking your head out.
Do these exercises to fix the forward head posture
The chin tuck
This exercise will lengthen and loosen the muscle at the back of the neck.
To Perform: Pull your shoulders back, align the neck in its neutral position and then use your fingers to tuck your chin in. Hold that position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Isometric front-neck exercise
This exercise will strengthen the neck muscles
To perform: Keep your head in its neutral position and place your hands on your forehead. Try to push the head forward and use the hands to resist the movement. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat.
Alternatively, stand a few inches from a wall. Then lean forward and place your forehead on the wall (only your head should touch the wall). Tighten your neck muscles and hold that position. The further you stand from the wall the more challenging this exercise will be.
The neck bridge
The neck bridges realign the neck and strengthen the neck muscles.
To perform: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Then lift your back off the floor such that only your neck and feet touch the floor. Raise your back as high as you can and hold that position.
Hunched forward shoulders
This is whereby the shoulders lean forward and the upper back is curved. And it happens due to various reasons. One is, regularly sitting in hunched position – this tightens the chest muscles and weakens the opposing back muscles and lower trapezius.
Training the chest muscles while ignoring the back muscles can also cause this posture problem.
To correct this posture problem you have to strengthen the back muscles and loosen the chest and shoulder muscles.
Again, you have to stay aware and correct your posture every time you find yourself hunching.
Do these exercises to fix the hunched forward shoulders
Wide grip pull ups
Pull-ups will strengthen the latissimus dorsi and the traps – this will pull the shoulders back and straighten the upper back.
To perform: Hold a wide(overhand) grip then pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, then slowly lower yourself until the arms are straight and repeat.
This exercise helps stretch the tight chest and shoulder muscles.
To perform: Stand at the doorway the lift one arm until it’s parallel to the floor then place it at the doorjamb. Now, lean your body forward and hold that position for 10 seconds, then repeat.
Bridging is a triple threat – it will stretch the chest, strengthen the back muscles and pull the shoulders back.
To perform: Lie flat on your back with the knees bent, place your hands beside your shoulders (fingers should point your fit). Now, lift your back off the floor as high as you can. Hold that position as long as you can.
I had this posture problem myself and this exercise has helped improve my posture. It strengthens the traps and builds the upper chest.
To perform: Stand a few inches from the wall then place your hands on the floor with a wide grip. Kick your fit on the wall such that your body is parallel to the wall. Now do push-ups in that position.
If handstand push-ups are too challenging for you, do decline push-ups and pike push-ups.
Lower Cross Syndrome
This is when you have an excessive curve on lower back and pelvis is tilted forward.
The lower cross syndrome develops due to several reasons. The one number reason is obvious – sitting down for long. It is also caused by weak abdominal muscles, when the abdominal muscles are weaker than the lower back muscles, the pelvis is forced to tilt forward.
Things like wearing high heel shoes and not stretching regularly also tilt the hips forward.
To fix this bad posture problem you have to strengthen the core and stretch the butt and thigh muscles.
Remember to stand upright all times.
Do these exercises to fix the lower cross syndrome
The plank will strengthen the abdominal muscles.
To perform: Lie flat on the floor, then place your elbows on the floor, directly below your shoulders and then lift the torso and feet off the floor such that only your toes and forearm touch the floor. Keep your body aligned in a straight line and hold that position as long as you can.
These will strengthen the lower back and glute muscles.
To perform: Lie flat on your back with knees bent, place your hands beside your hips and then slowly lift your butt off the floor as high as you can. Hold the top position for 3 seconds then return to starting position and repeat. Do the single leg bridge is you want a more challenging exercise.
Side-lying leg raises
This exercise strengthens the core and thighs.
To perform: Lie on the floor sideways then lift the top foot up and keep it straight. Slowly lower it and repeat. Do the same number of reps for each leg.
Hip flexor stretch
This exercise stretches the hip flexor, hamstring and glute muscles
To perform: Kneel on one foot, and place the other foot in front, keep the knee at a 90-degree angle.
Place your hands on the thigh of the front foot and push it forward. Keep pushing for 10 seconds, and do the same for the other leg.
This is usually caused by poor sitting posture. You’ll notice that some people press their elbows down and push shoulders up when they sit. This habit usually shortens the trapezius which results to shoulders being elevated all the time.
Make sure you maintain postural awareness and practice proper sitting habits.
Do these exercises to fix elevated shoulders posture
Shoulder blade squeezes
This exercise will help strengthen and loosen the shoulder muscles.
To perform: Pull the shoulders back, align the head in its neutral position and then squeeze your shoulder blades together for 10 seconds and then repeat several times.
Stretches will help relax and loosen the shoulders.
How to stretch: Reach your arms above your head and interlock your fingers, the palm should face upward. Then press your shoulders away from your ears and reach your palms up, as though you are trying to touch the ceiling.
As you can see, how you sit affects your posture. So it’s important you keep your back straight when you sit – avoid leaning forward and slouching.
Clearly, strength training will help improve your posture. In fact, you posture will automatically improve when you start building muscles – provided you train all muscle groups.
It’s important you stretch thoroughly not just quick stretches we do after a workout.
Now you know how to fix bad posture. It’s up to you to work on improving it.
Which exercises have helped fix you bad posture?[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]
January 4, 2016 at 6:13 pm
There’s a reason they say that sitting is the new smoking: It is really bad for your health long term!
I’ve had 2 herniated discs and sciatica and gone through several years of recovery. Always managed to get lazy and fall back into problems agains becuase I wasn’t exercising the core muscles enough even though I was going to the gym. About 3 months ago I started doing bodyweight exercises following the routine at http://www.bodyweightstrengthchallenge.com and since then I’ve not had any problems.
It was probably due to all the small balancing core muscles that were not in good shape.
TL;DR; Bodyweight exercises are good for your posture and back beacuse it build well-balanced muscles =)
February 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm
Maybe it would help if you made youtube videos explaining how to perform those exercises and embed them to your articles. I searched for some of them, but I am not quite sure they are the right ones. So if you made your own, there wouldn’t be uncertainty.