7

votes

How can I improve my posture?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Can anyone give me tips on how to improve my posture? I tried on some clothes in the changing rooms earlier and realised how poor it is. Even standing as straight as I can does not help that much, is it weak back muscles? Will pull ups help?

Cheers

71af3866ba45915e06061a627b40f31d

(235)

on July 02, 2012
at 07:36 PM

@Chinaeskimo - Chin Tucks are a great exercise for correcting forward head posture. Get your husband doing these everyday! http://www.perfectlyfitonline.com/2010/09/chin-tucks/

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 02, 2012
at 07:14 AM

Great answer! My husband has the forward head. He looks a little like a turtle sometimes and I have always wondered why.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 02, 2012
at 07:12 AM

What kind of Dr. Do you see for this? Chiropractors?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 01, 2012
at 06:46 PM

^ that's really not great advice, and heavy loading on the spine (barbell squats) could be unhealthy.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 01, 2012
at 04:30 PM

Squats and deadlifts are the two best exercises a human being can do and work your entire posterior chain.

Ff1dbd6cecad1e69a8234fb2c2c5c5ed

(1409)

on July 01, 2012
at 04:17 PM

This is similar to what I found: once I took up strength training, the first thing I noticed was an improved posture - I'm walking tall.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on July 01, 2012
at 11:34 AM

In fact the other people in my yoga class have commented on how much my posture has improved since I started - and I hadn't even noticed! I am a tall female who was always self-conscious of my height - and also I now work over a keyboard a lot. Bad combo for posture.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on July 01, 2012
at 11:32 AM

LOL - this was going to be my answer but you beat me to it. Yoga has helped me immensely too.

71af3866ba45915e06061a627b40f31d

(235)

on July 01, 2012
at 02:24 AM

As a personal trainer who works a LOT with people on posture, I'd second this (and not because I'm trying to promote myself or profession). It's REALLY hard to work on correcting your posture without a fairly in-depth knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics and corrective exercise.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 30, 2012
at 07:19 PM

Don't try this with a Kindle.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

19 Answers

best answer

3
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on July 01, 2012
at 07:07 PM

I would try working on improving your core strength, self esteem, and actually your entire posterior chain- from your splenius cervicis and posterior deltoids, to your serratus posterior and rhomboids, and on down to your erector spinae. You can improve your core by trying to keep them engaged in daily activities (abs awareness) and various plank and stability exercises. You'll also engage them through things like squats and deadlfits, though I am more skeptical of the utility of squats (for anything) than most people here seem to be. For your posterior chain you can be doing hyperextensions, face pulls with a cable, reverse flyes (with dumbbells or cables), and upright rows. I don't know if you're a boy or a girl but I wouldn't be doing shrugs either way. most people carry a lot of stress in their should area anyways, and so doing shrugs will just over stress and possibly injure your trapezius and splenius muscles. (doing shrugs will also diminish the quality of your appearance, as your shoulder girdle will not appear as wide and you'll obfuscate the V-taper silhouette that's so aesthetically pleasing to to the eye).

Also, I have noticed that a lot of people with poor self esteem have trouble looking people in the eye during discourse, and often hunch over to make it easier to compensate. After years of this, and even after their self esteem has improved, they can have some lasting muscular imbalances. Correcting these will further improve self-esteem, and the aforementioned exercises should definitely help.

Also, if you haven't already, learn human anatomy, which is especially helpful while exercising because it helps you understand the mechanics of the muscle being worked, and focusing on the working muscle is far more important than the amount of weight you are lifting.

I hope that gives you a good idea on where to start.

5
8f2d9842fdfec224a425c0f77c4ee34d

(1241)

on June 30, 2012
at 07:07 PM

I recommend listening to Esther Gokhale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yYJ4hEYudE

She has been featured in articles on Marks Daily Apple about proper posture.

5
65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on June 30, 2012
at 06:56 PM

I found that my posture improved drastically when I started doing yoga.

Try this:Stand tall, visualizing your spine aligned to the crown of your head. Your feet should feel firmly planted on the ground, shoulders gently back and relaxed, chest 'open' and up/ out. You know youve got it right when you inhale deeply and feel your lungs have room to expand completely.

Try this in the mirror first until you see proper alignment, then do it regularly. Remind yourself to stand and sit tall whenever you realize you are slouchibg, which is easy to recognize by how deep or shallow you are breathing, and how much room your lungs have to expand.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on July 01, 2012
at 11:32 AM

LOL - this was going to be my answer but you beat me to it. Yoga has helped me immensely too.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on July 01, 2012
at 11:34 AM

In fact the other people in my yoga class have commented on how much my posture has improved since I started - and I hadn't even noticed! I am a tall female who was always self-conscious of my height - and also I now work over a keyboard a lot. Bad combo for posture.

3
71af3866ba45915e06061a627b40f31d

(235)

on July 01, 2012
at 02:43 AM

Bad posture comes in many different forms, and since I don't know what kind of 'bad posture' you have, here is a very basic checklist (not including knee/ankle joints) that I usually go through with my personal training clients:

  • Forward head (when viewed from side) = weak cervical flexors
  • Shoulders hunched up by ears = overactive upper traps/weak lower traps
  • Rounded shoulders/upper back (kyphosis) = weak mid & lower traps/shoulder external rotators/possibly rhomboids
  • Winging scapulae = weak serratus anterior/general core
  • Overly arched lower back (lordosis) = tight hip flexors/weak glutes

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 02, 2012
at 07:14 AM

Great answer! My husband has the forward head. He looks a little like a turtle sometimes and I have always wondered why.

71af3866ba45915e06061a627b40f31d

(235)

on July 02, 2012
at 07:36 PM

@Chinaeskimo - Chin Tucks are a great exercise for correcting forward head posture. Get your husband doing these everyday! http://www.perfectlyfitonline.com/2010/09/chin-tucks/

3
F690de6e86fda05bf1b4c2ed834c477b

(180)

on June 30, 2012
at 07:28 PM

Do exercises that target the muscles deep in your upper back, like the rhomboids. For example, Bat Wings will strengthen the rhomboids, which are the muscles that pull your scapula apart:

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/reawaken_your_rhomboids

"Pull-aparts" with a strength band are also good, as are face pulls.

If you're already doing deadlifts, you can do snatch grip deadlifts: http://www.liftbigeatbig.com/2012/06/mile-high-traps.html

Overall, I'd say focus on your rhomboids when you're exercising. Every time you do a pressing movement from the chest, balance it out with a movement like the bat wings. During the course of your day, pay attention to your rhomboids and their effect on your posture. If you're slouching, bring your scapula together. As you strengthen these muscles the "default" position should be a tighter, improved posture.

3
C46a0fcc080f7a890efee2135c1ff87e

on June 30, 2012
at 06:54 PM

Work on core and Lower back: Deadlifts, Hyper extensions, planks. Keep telling yourself to stand up straight when walking. Sit on a Swiss Ball at a desk to help posture and engage core.

3
8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on June 30, 2012
at 06:52 PM

I would go see a professional for an initial postural assessment. It's almost impossible for us to do anything particularly useful over the internet. Once they tell you what you need to work on, however, we might be able to offer quite a few exercises to correct strength imbalances.

71af3866ba45915e06061a627b40f31d

(235)

on July 01, 2012
at 02:24 AM

As a personal trainer who works a LOT with people on posture, I'd second this (and not because I'm trying to promote myself or profession). It's REALLY hard to work on correcting your posture without a fairly in-depth knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics and corrective exercise.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 02, 2012
at 07:12 AM

What kind of Dr. Do you see for this? Chiropractors?

2
E2db1519690001648433e8109eb2c013

on June 30, 2012
at 09:36 PM

Your 'bad' posture is the only posture you have. It is the best that your habits/perception and structure permit.

Remember the rhyme: "There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile." Your current 'crookedness' will dominate any exercise you do to correct it. General activity like walking and mobility work can help to wake up the hard-wired postural reflexes that make 'good' posture. To make a real difference, you need some re-education to recover the coordination and poise that 5 million years of evolution guarantee we were born with.

The only technique that works directly with these issues is the Alexander Technique. Check out the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Tech. (UK) and AmSat (US) for information and finding a teacher. http://www.stat.org.uk/index.htm http://www.amsatonline.org/

Good Luck.

1
19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on July 01, 2012
at 07:40 AM

1) Alexander technique 2) Rolfing 3.) Pilates 4.) ballet or other barre work

1
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on June 30, 2012
at 08:12 PM

Some people have lower muscle tone (contraction at rest) than others. That is genetic but increasing strength and proprioceptive awareness will help.

Bio-taping can also help you as you learn new patterns.

These types of body-work (you would find a practicioner, and if you can find a PT or OT or doctor who does this, even better (and it may be covered by insurance): Bowen, Aston Patterning, Hellerwork.

Good luck

1
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 30, 2012
at 07:12 PM

I've been taking core fitness classes. They really help a LOT! What is good posture was not what I thought it was and when your core muscles are fit, your posture gets a lot better by default.

Ff1dbd6cecad1e69a8234fb2c2c5c5ed

(1409)

on July 01, 2012
at 04:17 PM

This is similar to what I found: once I took up strength training, the first thing I noticed was an improved posture - I'm walking tall.

1
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 30, 2012
at 07:06 PM

When I was a kid, we practiced walking around with a book balanced on our heads. Off to try that again now. ......

That was a really interesting experiment. Three things I noticed right off in doing this: 1. chin has to be held up, 2. shoulders back 3. my abs automatically tightened up while walking around.

Bonus observations 4 & 5 I can still walk around with a book on my head, and it made my mother, who came out and saw me, laugh hysterically.

.....

Trial 2. Sitting with a book on your head also results in really good posture if you avoid the tendency to bow your back inward.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 30, 2012
at 07:19 PM

Don't try this with a Kindle.

0
3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

In my elementary/training school, they used to tie a stick to our back and fasten it with a light rope so that if you bent forward, the stick would dig into your spine and it would hurt. If you want a really extreme method, there it is.

Staying off the computer/off chairs is a good way to improve posture. If you catch yourself slouching, just readjust and within a few weeks it will become second nature.

0
B1c65edef6f7f9379c7a9272e30586da

(314)

on July 01, 2012
at 05:38 AM

I've started doing the cold shower thing, and something I've noticed is that it's much easier to handle them if you stand up straight with all of your torso muscles engaged isometricly. this seems to lead to good posture. or maybe I'm just weird.

0
Cd717290eb43a6e17061f9920deed977

on July 01, 2012
at 03:24 AM

Yoga, ballet, pilates all help to improve proprioception and strengthen those muscles that keep you in good alignment.

0
747f9c27424619fe3ae717c7455c292e

on June 30, 2012
at 08:29 PM

I second the recommendations of Esther Gochle. Kathleen Porter also has two books out with very similar thesis and recommendations. I read her first, "Ageless Spine, Lasting Health." I found it helpful, if not quite as well laid out as Esther Gochle's book "8 steps to a pain free back".

I've spent years trying to improve my posture, and it's by no means perfect yet, but here are the ideas and exercises that have been most useful to me:

Imagine you have a tail, and don't sit on it (keep an anteverted pelvis when seated)

Sit less overall - I work at a standing/treadmill desk

Realize that your hips, chest, and head can be repositioned independently of each other. If your posture is bad, chances are you are going to have to de-link them in your mind and find them new positions relative to each other. Kathleen Porter recommends thinking of your hips, chest, and head as bells that can swing forwards and backwards. She recommends having each "bell" tilted slightly (but not too much) forwards.

Feel your breath inflate your entire core, and feel your voice vibrate from your diaphragm.

The progression Esther Gochle lays out in her book for "stretchsitting", "stretchlying", "glidewalking" etc... is good (and I need to review it!)

0
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on June 30, 2012
at 08:05 PM

http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Pain-Free-Back-Solutions-Shoulder/dp/0979303605/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341086593&sr=8-1&keywords=8+ways+to+pain+free+back

Elaine Gokhale (Goclay) book is a fantastic resource for posture. The only thing I'm not sure about his how to maintain a posture all day. Also proper squats and deadlifts that were mentioned also forces good posture, to avoid injury. You have to maintain a certain amount of tension in your core to stretch the spine.

0
91882203467f64f68f25f58f1caeee68

(1017)

on June 30, 2012
at 07:03 PM

I have HORRIBLE posture, I'm interested in what people have to say. Let me know if you figure out something that works, my attempts over the years always fail because I find it really tiring to try and fix my posture.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!