Posture is one of those parameters that often get swept under the rug in the fitness industry, but it is vitally important. People seem to be more concerned about beating their friend’s time in CrossFit or having the biggest guns in town.
That may be a key motivator for you, but on a personal level, I am always in pursuit of better posture.
The importance of posture
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Think about it for a second. If you have a grotesquely rounded upper back and misshapen spine, don’t you think that will have a negative impact on other areas of your life?
Just maybe it will be harder to serve a tennis ball or throw a horseshoe or even have sex with your partner in certain positions. Yeah, that’s right. I probably captured your attention now, didn’t I?
You should take your posture as seriously as you would your weight and appearance. If it’s a little cattywampus, I’m going to give you some ways to straighten yourself out, literally.
Adjust your sitting mechanics
Slouching and slumping while seated is sloppy. As Bob Newhart used to say, stop it! Make a conscious effort to always sit up straight and keep your shoulder blades pressed to the back of the chair.
It’s also a good idea to sit on a wonderful tool called a Disc O Sit balance cushion. When you park your keister on one of these, your hip angle changes, and your back becomes perfectly vertical to the ground. You have a lot less of a chance of falling into poor posture and you also get a decent ab contraction.
Walk like an Egyptian
When I say this, I mean only walk like an Egyptian with your body, not your arms. Well, I guess you can walk like that too, but be prepared to be laughed at.
If you were to examine photos of Egyptians or watch video recreations, you will notice that they walked very upright with a straight posture. One of the main reasons is because they used to carry things on their heads like baskets of clothes and buckets of water. They had no choice or there would be a mess all over the campsite.
You are going to follow their example, minus carrying stuff on your head. Instead, you are going to “pretend” you have something on your head at all times while walking. Keep your chin slightly tucked in, act like you are getting pulled upward through your head by a string and keep your shoulders back.
Change your sleeping habits
First things first, get rid of the big, thick, rigid pillow. Next, instead of lying on your back, opt for a side-lying, or fetal position.
If you are on your back and your pillow is thick, your head is going to be pushed forward into flexion the entire time you are sleeping. That’s a recipe for an upper body postural distortion.
Stick to a low-rise pillow that is made with soft material and opt for sideways. It will take a little getting used to, but stick it out and you will adapt.
Send appropriate text messages
This has nothing to do with the content either. If you’re into sexting, hey go for it—to each his own. I’m more concerned about the position of your body when you send those dirty messages.
The last thing you want to do is spend countless hours with your head tipped downward and chin tucked in toward your chest. This causes the dreaded text neck or “iPosture.” Lift your arms up in front of your body so your eyes are focused straight ahead. This too can take a while to get the hang of, but you’ll catch on.
Perform corrective exercises
Often times, rounded shoulders are caused from weak rhomboids and tight pectorals. The rhomboids are muscles found between the shoulder blades and the pecs are in the chest. Strengthen the rhomboids by doing exercises like seated rows, reverse flys and scapular pullups.
In turn, you can stretch your pecs by clasping your hands behind your back and pulling your shoulder blades as far backward as possible. It would also benefit you to strengthen all areas of your core, which means the front, back and side regions. If you create balanced core strength, your spine will be straighter.
Perform exercises like hanging leg raises, side dip hip abduction, prone contralateral limb raises and plank holds.
OK, I have to hit the trail. Hopefully by the time you finished reading this, you already started putting some of my tips into action. It doesn’t take much to make some small adjustments and get big returns. Practice daily and watch how fast your transform your body.
If you need any more in-depth information, always feel free to contact me.
Read more from Expert Kevin Rail.