Optimal posture is crucial for proper body alignment. Otherwise, your muscles and ligaments are unable to function correctly, which could lead to muscular compensations and possible injuries.
The strength training exercises below are considered posture exercises because they engage the core muscles, shoulder blades and rhomboids to build strength. More strength in these areas yields postural improvements while building a more stable core and creating shoulder blade retraction. Check out the video player above for a demonstration of each exercise.
Benefits: Push-Ups are primarily chest exercises, but they also train the core muscles and improve the function of the shoulder blades. The ability to perform a Push-Up with perfect technique is an indication that you have good posture.
How to: Position your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart with your chest facing the floor. Your knees, legs and feet should be together, with your ankle complex positioned slightly forward. Lower yourself to the floor while keeping a neutral spine throughout to create the perfect posture exercise. Drive your body up to complete the Push-Up.
Sets/Reps: beginners, 3x10, with two minutes rest between sets; more advanced individuals, 3x30, one minute rest.
- For added strength, "draw" your abdominals toward your spine and keep your gluteus maximus muscles engaged throughout.
- Be mindful that your upper trapezius/neck muscles are downward and relaxed, so they do not assist with the movement.
Benefits: Scaption improves strength in the muscles that move the shoulder blades and improves mobility in the shoulders. It also opens up the chest, which is commonly tight from sitting with the shoulders hunched forward.
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with optimal posture. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, palms facing you. Bring both dumbbells up to shoulder level in a "Y" formation, or a 45-degree angle. Lower slowly to the starting position.
Sets/Reps: beginners, 3x10 using your 10-rep-max weight, with two minutes rest between sets; more advanced individuals, 3x8-12 using 75 percent of your one rep max, with 90 seconds rest between sets.
- Stand with your best posture before performing this exercise. You may roll your shoulders back to help find this position.
- Do not raise the dumbbells higher than shoulder level, since this will engage your upper trapezius.
- Keep both elbows slightly bent throughout.
- "Draw" your abdominals in toward your spine and keep your gluteus maximus muscles engaged throughout.
Pronated Dumbbell Row
Benefits: Many athletes are chest-dominant, either from sitting too much or from doing too many chest exercises. This exercise strengthens the back, creating balanced strength on the front and back of the body.
How to: Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and torso nearly parallel to the floor. Hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms downward. Row the dumbbells up underneath your chest to the top of your ribcage. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lower slowly to the starting position.
Sets/Reps: beginners, 3x10 using your 10-rep max, with two minutes rest between sets; more advanced individuals, 3x8-12 using 75 percent of your one rep max, with 90 seconds rest between sets.
- Your upper back should be relaxed and not rounded.
- Your lower back maintains a slight arch to your spine.
- You may look forward; however, be mindful of your upper trapezius elevating for added strength.
- Continue to "draw" your abdominals toward your spine for added stability.
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