Avoid Posture Problems with These Back Strengthening Exercises
Nobody wants to have a rounded upper back and we all are told at
a young age to 'sit up straight' but the problem is most of us who
tend to have a slouching posture are guilty only of having lack
of strength. Many of us need conditioning to the muscles that help
you 'sit up straight'. This lack of strength can be painful and
cause all sorts of neck and back pains including headaches!
Regular chest stretching done daily is one simple and cost free
way of adjusting your poor posture. The pectoral or chest muscle
attachments which go to the shoulder area, have a tendency to get
tight, in turn pulling the shoulders forward, weakening and overstretching
the mid back and rotator cuff muscles which are your mainstay foundation
to better posture. The domino affect here is sore upper back, alignment
issues from hips to neck, tension and migraine headaches. Hold this
stretch for up to 60 seconds per side and pull only to comfort,
never stretch to pain.
In order to alleviate this issue you need to regularly condition
those postural muscles which is quick and simple, no heavy weights
or bodybuilding involved.
The rotator cuff or 'SITS' muscles are located under your shoulder
blade, to put it simple. When weak, you can very often see these
blades 'wing out'. By doing 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps of simple rotator
cuff exercises such as internal and external rotation done with
a band. Keep a towel between your elbow and hip and hold it there
throughout the exercise to ensure proper form, also ensure you are
sitting or standing aligned with your abs engaged (pull belly button
into lower back).
Rhomboid squeezes or reverse flies will help strengthen the rhomboids
which sit between the left and right shoulder blade. It's a small
and controlled movement but very effective.
Perform a 'plank' on your elbows and toes face down, side to a mirror
so you can align your body straight. Watch the hips, belly, chest
and neck areas for drooping or being too elevated in compensation
for being weak. Increase the time you hold this pose as you get
better at it and master the form which alone can take months! Having
a person spot you can help with form and they can use a stick placed
along the back to help you see the areas you need to adjust in order
to become level.
It helps to train your core in general since this affects the whole
body including and especially posture. When you stand up you use
your core to align the body above and below it by pulling the belly
button into the lower back. Simple exercises like pelvic tucks and
low back extensions will take little effort yet do a world of good.
Start with 10-20 reps and increase into the hundreds if you like
since these are done with little or no weight bearing.
A combination of these exercises can take as little as 15 mins
twice per week and help you with your every day life and job so
it is worth the effort with a result back tenfold.