That’s the thing about having poor posture, it won’t just fix itself.
To gain better posture your only option is to actively do something about it, such as using exercises for better posture, however, there is no lazing around hoping the problem is just going to go away because it won’t.
There are of course things you can do to help improve your posture that doesn’t involve exercising, these are things that can help you avoid making the problem worse or avoiding instances where bad posture habits creep in.
Here’s a few things that doesn’t require using exercises for better posture:
- Sit back properly on your chair and don’t hunch forwards when at the computer
- Lift your arms up to look at your phone rather than looking down at your phone with your head
- Avoid carrying heavy backpacks for long periods of time
- Stop leaning on one leg, evenly distribute your weight between both legs
I recently wrote “5 Stupidly Easy Posture Hacks“, you’ll find some very simple ways that doesn’t require exercises to gain a better posture in that post.
A lot of the methods that don’t require exercising are very much passive things, you won’t have to thing about them at all once you get used to them.
That’s only part of the story though, as I already mentioned you really need to actively do something about it and that’s where using these exercises for better posture comes in.
How Can These 9 Exercises For Better Posture Help You?
I think it’s important I mention that, as a collection, these exercises are not solely aimed at just one part of your body but rather your whole body.
Performing all of these exercises will help you gain a better overall posture, I believe they are some of the best exercises to gain better posture in each of their own target areas, I’ll explain where each of the exercises targets when we go through the list.
You’re going to find 3 types of exercises in the below list, those are:
- Exercises to stretch tight muscles
- Exercises to strengthen weak lengthened muscles
- Exercises to train your body
That’s what causes some of us to have bad posture problems, tight muscles that pull our bones out of their correct alignment and weak lengthened muscles that don’t pull them back.
That’s why these 9 exercises help you gain a better posture because they target both of these areas and that is the key to improving your posture effectively.
So without further ado, lets dig in!
Exercises For Better Posture
As I lay out each of the exercises I will tell you:
- What the exercise targets
- How to perform the exercise
- How much and how often to perform each exercise
Let’s not waste any more time and get stuck into the exercises so you can gain better posture.
1 – Pectoral Stretch
This exercise targets tight chest muscles. Having tight chest muscles is a contributing factor to bad posture problems like having a forward head and hunch back, this is because the tight muscles pulls on your upper spine, causing Kyphosis and pulling your head out of alignment too.
Here’s how to perform this exercise:
1 – Stand in a doorway and place one arm on the door frame. Your elbow should be bent 90 degrees with your upper arm being parallel to the floor, as the image shows.
2 – If it’s your left arm on the door frame, as mine is, take a step forward around 8 inches with your left foot (right foot if you have right arm on door frame) while keeping the other foot in the doorway.
3 – Making sure to keep your arm on the door frame and your other leg in the doorway, lean into the doorway until you can feel the stretch in your chest, you will feel it close to your armpit.
So when you feel the stretch you’re going to want to hold this position about 30 seconds, then move back into the doorway and relax. Repeat for the opposite side and then again once more for both sides and you’re done. Perform 3-4 times daily if you can.
2 – Chest Expansion
This is another exercise that helps to stretch your tight chest muscles except this exercise also helps to stretch out your shoulders too. This will help you fix problems like having forward or rounded shoulders.
To perform this exercise:
1 – Stand up straight with a correct posture alignment and interlace your fingers behind your back with your knuckles facing toward the floor, as shown below.
2 – Take a deep breath and expand your chest up and out while at the same time lowering your shoulder and pushing your arms away from your body.
When you feel the stretching in your chest and shoulders hold your position for around 20 seconds before relaxing your arms by your side. Repeat for a total of 10 times, 3 or 4 times daily.
3 – Shoulder Blade Pinches
This exercise is a strengthening exercise that targets the muscles in your upper back. It’s weak and elongated upper back muscles that fail to keep your upper spine in its correct alignment. Strengthening these muscles will help your spine return to its correct alignment.
Here it is:
1 – Sit back on a chair maintaining correct sitting posture, you can stand if you would prefer.
2 – Lower your shoulders, not being too forceful, then pull your shoulders back so that your shoulder blades pinch together.
After holding this position for between 20 and 30 seconds, release your shoulders and relax. Do this 10 times every time you perform this simple exercise. Once again, try and use this exercise 4 times daily.
4 – Nose Nods
This exercise will help train your brain into making this range of motion a habit, which helps your neck stay in its correct alignment when doing things like texting on your phone. This is great for preventing a forward head.
This is how:
1 – Lay flat on your back on the floor or mat with your arms beside your body. Bring your knees up until your feet are flat on the floor. Your nose should point straight up to the ceiling.
2 – While keeping your neck as still as possible, very slowly nod your head forwards about 40 degrees, you should notice or feel like you have a double chin at this point.
You only need to hold this position for a second or 2 and then slowly return your head so your nose is again facing straight up to the ceiling. Do 10 of these each set and perform twice a day, after a week increase to 20 nods per set 2 or 3 times a day.
5 – Wall Angels
This exercise will help to strengthen your upper back and shoulder muscles AND stretch tight chest muscles (making it one of my favorite exercises), 3 for the price of 1 makes this exercise great, it helps to stabilize your shoulders to gain or maintain correct shoulder posture.
Here’s how it’s done:
1 – Stand against a wall with your feet around 6 inches away from the wall. Make contact to the wall with your head, shoulders, back and butt.
2 – Lift your arms to the wall so that you have a 90 degree angle at your elbow and your upper arm parallel to the floor, make contact to the wall with your elbows and wrists.
3 – Making sure to maintain contact to the wall with your elbows and wrists, slowly raise your arms above your toward the ceiling. It might be hard but try as best you can to keep contact to the wall with elbows and wrists.
Once you have raised your arms as high as you comfortably can, you can lower your arms back to start position. Repeat this exercise 10 – 15 times in total and you’ll want to use this exercise twice a day.
6 – Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This exercise is great for stretching out tight hips and lower back muscles, these tight muscles contribute to developing posture problems such as hyper-lordosis (sway back) and a tilted pelvis, making this one of the best exercises for better posture.
This one is easy:
1 – Get down on your knees and put your feet together so your big toes are touching each other and then sit on your heels. Your butt will be rested on your heels for the entire duration of this exercise.
2 – At this point you’ll want your knees hip width apart, now reach out along the floor with your arms as far as you comfortably can, remember to maintain contact between butt and heels. Try to keep your back straight and your head looking down at the ground.
Once you have reached as far as you can hold that position for 30 seconds before returning to the starting position, repeat 3 times and again twice daily.
7 – The Forward Lunge
Forward lunges are great for stretching tight hip flexors, when this set of muscles gets tight they pull down on your lower spine, so stretching this difficult to reach set of muscles allows your lower spine and your hips to go back into their correct alignment.
Here’s how you do it:
1 – You’ll want to stand so that your feet are about hip width apart and then take a large step forwards with the leg of choice.
2 – With the leg that you stepped forward with, bend at the knee 90 degrees. While your body lowers down you need to keep your back straight and your head facing in front of you.
3 – Your back leg should be slightly bent at this point, if you find this exercise difficult you can rest your back leg on the ground to make it a bit easier.
Hold the down position for around 30 seconds, you should feel the stretch in your hips, if you don’t then you could try to push your hips forwards slightly to get the desired effect. You’ll want to repeat this exercise 5 times on each leg and 2 or 3 times a day.
8 – Planks
A personal favorite of mine, this exercise is great for strengthening your core muscles. Having a strong core is key to maintaining a good overall posture since a strong core helps to keep your spine in its correct alignment.
Here’s how to strengthen your core:
1 – Go onto your hands and knees, rest your lower arms on the floor so that you have 90 degrees between your upper and lower arm and rest your upper body weight on your lower arms.
2 – Move your feet and knees away from your body, so that your body is stretched out, until your knees are off the ground and you are resting on the tips of your toes.
3 – To get your core working, pull your belly in, at this point you should have a straight line running from your shoulders, through your hips and to your ankles.
Once in the final position, hold for as long as you can, aim for a minimum of 30 seconds, once complete you can relax. Perform this 2 or 3 times a day every single day, always aiming for as long as you can. You’ll know this exercise is working because you’ll be able to perform for longer as you continue to use this exercise.
9 – Bridges
While this exercise is again great for strengthening your core and the muscles surrounding your spine, it’s also great for training your muscles and joints to get used to bending backwards, helping reverse your bodies urge to hunch forwards.
This is how to do it:
1 – Lay down flat on your back with your arms running down beside your body and bring your knees up until your feet are flat on the floor.
2 – Suck your abs inwards and with your glutes (butt) tense, raise your hips off of the ground until you can picture a straight line running from your shoulders, through your hips and to your knees.
Hold this position for 30 seconds before returning back to the starting position. You should do this 4 or 5 times each time and again twice a day. I find morning and then again before bed are good times for this one.
There you have it, those are my top 9 exercises for better posture!
I advise you to perform all of these posture exercise every day to help improve your posture or even just to maintain correct posture.
Don’t just stop after just a few days or a week because you’re not likely to get too far. If you’re pushed for time then why not try out this quick posture workout.
Keep at it and your posture will improve and remember to kick out those bad posture habits, here are some to get you going.
If you want to know more about fixing specific posture problems you can do so on the correct posture 101 page here.
How did you find these exercises? Do you have any that you’d like to suggest? Let me know in the comments below.