Working on specific posture exercises not only makes you look and feel better, but also can reduce tension in the neck and shoulders and improve your core strength and balance.
Good posture helps your body function at its best; you breathe better, move more efficiently, have more endurance, and just look taller and leaner.
Being a tall person myself my mother was always telling me to “Stand up straight!” and “Quit slouching!” Finally, after learning about the benefits of Pilates and practicing it myself after just a couple of months my posture did improve.
I will outline some of the best posture exercises I have used to improve posture and that have helped many of my own clients as well.
The most beneficial postural exercises include strengthening the abdominal muscles, as well as the muscles of the upper back and shoulders.
Having strong abdominal muscles supports your spine and allows you to stand up taller and with less pain.
Pilates exercises are well known to realign the spine by correcting the length-tension imbalances in the muscles supporting the spine, pelvis, and shoulders.
Thus, they incorporate the posture exercises, which assists the whole body in working more efficiently with a stable, solid core.
This is one of my favorite postural exercises for core (abdominal strength) and to align the body for better posture. It involves tightening your core muscles as you extend the five points of the body away like a Starr!
with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms out to the sides
about chest high. Lean into a wall, make sure your bottom, ribs, and
shoulder blades are against the wall. Your head may or may not move back without popping the ribs off.
Inhale as you reach out to the right side lengthening your arms and legs out until you are balanced on the right leg making a Starr like shape and leaning into the wall.
Exhale as you return to center and then inhale as you lengthen and extend out to the left side again stretching your body into a 5 pointed Starr.
This is a great exercise to strengthen the upper back while improving your posture and can be done anywhere with no equipment.
Lying on your stomach with your hands clasped high on your back.
Inhale as you lift up through the head and chest reaching your hands up high off your back. Exhale as you stay lifted reaching your fingertips down your back.
Keep your abs pulled up and in and your nose pointed down. Do this for 3-5 repetitions trying to lift your arms higher off your back and really opening your chest.
Rowing exercises are a great way to improve posture.
The pulling action helps to strengthen the upper back and shoulders for better posture and to open and stretch the tight muscles of the chest that round us forward.
The rowing exercise shown here with the resista-band is easy to do anywhere. Just wrap the band around your feet and tension the band as much as you wish and then start pulling.
Move your elbows wide or narrow for different engagement of muscles in the back.