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13 February, 2019

Bad posture is an all too common issue for many people. We’ve all been caught slouching, hunching over the computer or just not sitting or standing up straight. Postural dysfunction is when our spine is situated in unnatural positions for extended periods of time, occurring as a result of one’s daily activities. With more than 50% of Australian workers having jobs that involve sitting at least some of the time, it can be hard to avoid periods of prolonged sitting. Poor posture can interfere with a number of the body’s postural mechanisms and can lead to back pain, neck pain, headaches and poor sleep.

The good news is, posture can be easily corrected with a few simple exercises that can be done both at home and at the gym. Let’s take a look at some of the best exercises to improve posture:

 

1. Cat Cow

How:

  • Come onto your hands and knees with your weight balanced evenly between all four points
  • Inhale to look up, dropping your abdomen down toward the ground as you extend your spine
  • Exhale and arch your spine toward the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest
  • Continue movement and repeat for approx. 1 minute

Why:

  • Stretches your spine and helps to relieve tension in your torso, shoulders and neck
  • Promotes blood circulation

Cat Cow

2. Child’s Pose

How:

  • Come onto your hands and knees and sink your weight back onto your heels
  • Place your forehead on the floor and keep your arms extended
  • Breathe deeply and relax in this pose for 1-2 minutes

Why:

  • Stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes and hamstrings
  • Relieves tension in lower back and spine

Childs Pose

3. Plank

How:

  • Rest your forearms on the floor, with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and hands facing forward so that your arms are parallel
  • Maintain a neutral spine, and balance your weight on the balls of your feet and elbows
  • Hold for 30 seconds – 1 minute

Why:

  • A strong core is essential for good posture
  • Strengthens several abdominal muscles while also working the shoulders and back

Plank 2

4. Glute Bridge

How:

  • Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and your feet hip-width distance apart
  • Keep your knees in line with your toes and inhale to lift your hips up towards the ceiling
  • Press down through your heels and squeeze your glutes and abs
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds, slowly lower and repeat 10 times

Why:

  • Activates and strengthens the erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings

Glute Bridge

5. Back Extension

How:

  • Lie face down, extending arms straight above your head
  • Keeping your head in line with your spine, gently lift your shoulders as far off the floor as possible
  • Return to starting position and repeat

Why:

  • Strengthens lower and upper back muscles

Back Extension

6. Seated Cable Row

How:

  • Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform provided making sure that your knees are slightly bent
  • Grab the handles and pull the cable towards you, focusing on keeping your elbows close to your sides and shoulders relaxed, as you squeeze the shoulder blades down and back

Why:

  • Strengthens the middle and upper back

Cable Row

7. Shoulder Rolls

How:

  • Inhale and raise your shoulders toward your ears
  • Hold for a few seconds before exhaling and pulling your shoulder blades down and together
  • Repeat 5-10 times

Why:

  • Helps to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders

Shoulder rolls

 

8. Reverse Dumbbell Fly

How:

  • Assume a bent over position with knees and spine in a neutral position and dumbbells hanging straight down, elbows slightly bent
  • Commence movement by bringing dumbbells out to the side of the body
  • Finish with the arm fully horizontally abducted, scapula retracted and elbows still slightly bent
  • Lower under control until dumbbells are straight down

Why:

  • Strengthens the shoulders and upper back
  • Especially helpful for those with rounded shoulders

Reverse Fly

 

 

If you would like to learn more about how different exercises can help improve overall health and wellbeing and expand your knowledge base, check out our Cert III & IV in Fitness and become a qualified Personal Trainer today!

 

 

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