Written by: Elsie Velazquez, cert. personal trainer at Prescription Fitness (Cleveland, Ohio)
Poor posture, a very common condition, can cause anything from back and shoulder pain to frequent headaches. In order to improve your posture, it is important to be aware the factors that can contribute to poor posture and making a conscious effort to correct those you can. The most common factors that contribute to poor posture are:
- High heel shoes
- Tight/weak muscles – muscle imbalance
- Poor standing and sitting habits
Having good posture, can have the following effects:
- Improve your appearance
- Reduce tension headaches
- Decrease back and shoulder pain
- Reduce risk of spinal injuries
- You appear taller and thinner
- You will look more confident
When it comes to good posture, core strength is a huge factor. It is important to know that “core” muscles include your abs, your internal/external obliques, and the muscles that run along your spine. Strengthening these muscles is crucial to improving your posture.
In addition to strengthening your core muscles, you will also need to strengthen your upper back, lower back, and hip flexors. Swimming and rowing are two great ways to strengthen your back while getting a good cardio workout. When it comes to strength training, some exercises are better than others in improving posture. The following exercises are my suggestions:
- Deadlift – works legs, lower back and core. Please be sure to have good form. Trainers at Prescription Fitness will be more than happy to help!
- Face Pulls – these are good for “hunched back” issues because they are good for weak upper back muscles.
- Plank – very effective core exercise to help improve posture. Again, please be sure to have good form to really benefit from this exercise.
- Goblet Squats – works legs and core as well as provide a stretch for the hip flexors, adductors, and lumbar spine. Bad posture results from tight hip flexors, adductors, and lumbar spine.
- Bridge – strengthens your lower back and hips. These are great if you spend a lot of time sitting!
In addition to the above tips, incorporating stretching is also important when trying to improve posture. Stretching can help increase flexibility, posture and balance.
If you have any questions regarding strength training and posture, contact one of our fitness professionals at firstname.lastname@example.org.