When it comes to bad posture, we’re all guilty as charged. We slump and slouch our way through the day like an army of Quasimodos – setting ourselves up for a world of unhealthy hurtin’ with unattractive results if not taken care of.
Bad posture is proven to decrease your range of motion and it opens you up for injury.
So listen up folks: no more folding in half at your desks!
No more “text neck!”
We want to make your posture fix quick and easy for you. No complicated stretches or esoteric gym equipment.
While the dead hang looks like another low-effort, waste of time, it’s one of the most vital moves for good posture.
Hanging decompresses your spine which decreases your risk of a back injury. The second you hang out for the first time you’ll likely feel that decompressing feeling in your back. It’s like a healthy back crack, and who doesn’t like back cracks?
Furthermore, they strengthen your core, which makes it easier for you to stabilize your body. They also increase grip strength. Some studies show weak grip strength may be a risk factor for decreased mobility later in life.
We said “no esoteric gym equipment,” but a pull-up bar is a staple for good posture.
2. Face Pulls
Face pulls are a fantastic exercise for externally rotating our slumped shoulders. It pulls those shoulders back and offers instant catharsis! The next time you head to the gym grab the tricep rope pulldown and anchor it high to a machine.
Then pull the rope back while pointing your thumbs out and contracting your back.
The rear deltoids are the primary muscles targeted here and tend to be the most underdeveloped head of the delt (between the middle and front). This is because we do more push moves in our day-to-day than pull.
Incorporate the face pull and your shoulders will get healthier in less than a week.
No gym membership?
Those without gym memberships can still perform the face pull. Simply grab a pair of five-pound (or less) dumbbells and lay down in a superman position.
Extend the dumbbells out and pull them in while contracting your back.
Now you’re superman.
3. Every 30 Minutes — Get up and walk
Speaking as a full-time journalist this is very, very hard to do. Especially when I’m in a flow state — like right now — I don’t ever want to get up. I’d rather keep mashing away at these keys.
Stop it. It’s not worth your bad posture.
In an interview with Men’s Health, physical therapist and strength coach Eric Oetter explains the immediate benefits:
“Your tissue is like a rubber band. Sitting applies constant tension, and the rubber band stretches out some,” he says. “Standing up hits reset to help counteract some of the negative effects of sitting.”
Set a timer on your phone if you REALLY want to hold yourself accountable.
Like hanging on the pull-up bar, once you use bands you will never go back.
You can find elastic fitness bands at Five-Bellow — if they have one near you — or at a Walmart/Target. Or Amazon.
Once you buy one you’re going to raise the band above your head with your hands somewhere near the ends. Then you want to pull it down and back with your thumbs out (they should be going behind you).
It’s like you’re doing a face pull but with nothing attached.
You can also loosen your shoulders with bands by holding them overhand and bringing them up over your head and down to your back. Imagine starting your hands at your sides and doing a giant circle backward.
This really feels like it scraps the rust off of my shoulders.
Furthermore, you can pretty much work every muscle group with bands. I use mine to stretch my IT band for example.
Fixing your posture is as easy as 1,2,3…4. This equipment is reusable for years — maybe even a lifetime if you take good care of it.
I still have the original resistance band I purchased three years ago and use it to warm up my shoulders on an upper-body day. Additionally, my five-year-old pull-up bar is falling apart but it’s still good for hanging or banging out a quick one or two chin-ups.
If you implement these four postural strategies you’ll stop feeling slouched over and start to feel like you can pull back your body and stand tall among the best.