Poor posture and alignment places unnecessary stress on our bodies, and while most people are aware of what "good posture" looks like, it can often be very difficult to overcome our bad habits and adopt a correct position. We've compiled a quick list of our favourite exercises for correcting posture. The best part? They are quick, easy, and can be done anywhere from your home to the workplace. Try incorporating these exercises into your daily routine, and you'll be amazed at the postural improvement you see!
We love it because... It targets extension (bending backwards) in the area of the mid-back that people tend to keep mostly flexed (especially when sitting)!
- Begin on your hands and knees
- Hands (or fists) and knees should be directly under the shoulders and hips, respectively
- Legs should be hip width apart, and the stomach muscles should be engaged to support the spine
- Try to flatten the back, so that you have a straight line from ear to hip
- Cat pose
- Tilt the pelvis so the lower back curves upward and arch your mid back up like a stretching cat
- Try to keep the neck in a neutral position during this phase
- Cow pose
- Try to focus the movement in the middle of the back, keeping it relaxed
Thoracic Spine Foam Roll
We love it because... It relaxes the spine, increasing mobility and strength in the vertebral joints.
- Begin with the foam roller placed in the middle of your back (between the shoulder blades)
- Keep the abs lightly contracted, and try to maintain a neutral spine in the neck and low back
- If you feel any pain beyond a light ache, stop doing the exercise immediately
- Slowly begin to roll up to the top of the shoulder blades, and then back down to the bottom of the rib cage
- Hands should be clasped behind the head, and elbows pulled slightly together
- Do NOT roll to the neck or lower back, always stop the motion before reaching these areas
- Repeat the process, and breathe regularly
We love it because... It lengthens shortened pecs, which can put strain on the back muscles and cause the shoulders to pinch the rotator cuff tendons. Lengthening the pecs makes it easier to hold the shoulders back in a correct posture, and feels great too!
- Stand in a doorway, feet lined up with the opening
- Place one foot in front of the other, for stability
- Place your arms at shoulder height in the doorway, make right angles with the elbows
- Hold for approximately 15 seconds for each side
We love it because... Many people have an anterior pelvic tilt, and this exercise will lengthen the hip flexors and allow for a more extended, upright posture.
- Kneel on one leg, with the heel directly under the knee and the back leg in line with the thigh
- Square the hips
- Imagine having headlights on the front of each hip bone
- Ensure both "headlights" are directed straight forward as you tilt the pelvis backwards (think of rotating the pelvis towards the bellybutton)
- Low back should stay straight or slightly curve forward
- Press forward gently from the tailbone, while holding the lower abdominals and pelvis upright
- Breathe into the stretch, hold for 30 seconds
- Repeat on the other side
We love it because... It opens the front of the chest, encouraging the shoulders to press back into correct postural placement. Granville Physio's Damien Wild recommends saving this exercise for last, as a tool to fine-tune your postural improvement!
- Begin on your stomach, with your legs straight out behind you and hip distance apart
- Position your arms down by your sides, with your palms turned towards the floor
- Lift both arms towards the ceiling
- Think of drawing the shoulder blades down and together
- Arms stay straight, and shoulders are pulled away from ears
- Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, breathing normally
- Release both arms down to the floor
- Repeat to complete a set of 10
If you are struggling to perform any of the above exercises, or would like more exercises/advice for your posture or any pains you've been experiencing, our physiotherapists at Granville Physio are here to help. Click here to book in with James, Damien or Jim today!