Poor posture is plaguing this country as sedentary jobs become more commonplace. I see it everywhere I go. Spotting someone with great posture is pretty rare these days. It's not only aesthetically displeasing and makes you look heavier, but more importantly it can lead to structural dysfunctions, joint pain, weak muscles, and reduced flexibility. So what's a desk jockey to do?
Do a quick scan of your body right now. Are your head and neck jutting forward? Are you shoulders slumped and rounded? Is the top of your back rounded? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might benefit from the following five moves that can help improve your posture. Many of these are great to add to a warm-up, or to add as filler exercises between sets of heavier exercises like squats, chin-ups, bench press, etc when you would otherwise be resting. It's also worth mentioning that these exercises won't make much of a difference if you return to the couch, computer, desk, or bed the other 23 hours of the day and your posture goes right back to rounded shoulders and a sliding foreword head position. If you work on proper desk biomechanics. and give these moves a try you might just start to sit up straight and carry yourself proudly.
Side Lying Windmill
Thoracic Extensions on the Foam Roller
Scapular Wall Slides
If you can't keep your head, upper back, and bottom against the wall with elbows and wrists in contact throughout the movement, try this alternative version.
Initiate the movement by pulling the shoulders back and down. Keep a nice proud chest, and pull the elbows back while squeezing the shoulder blades.
Perpendicular Landmine Row
Keep a neutral spine, send your hips back behind you, and trying not to look at your knees. Pretend like you're taking a punch to your stomach to brace the abs as you pull the elbow up. Using smaller weights on this exercise helps because the larger sized weights tend to limit the range of motion of the exercise. For variety there's also this one here you can try as well.
Thanks to Ben Bruno, Rick Kaselj, and my friends at Cressey Performance for these great videos.