Bad Posture and how to fix it

Posture is the major element what determines the attitude of surrounded people and even animals :). Seagulls might attack, dogs bite and small children kick your ass, if you would have a bad posture.

Bad posture is a common problem in today’s society. Sitting at desks all day long and looking at your smartphone developed a poor posture for many people.

But also a wrong workout or an unbalanced training can lead to a bad posture with that you will destroy your strength gains and risk to injure your body. If you do a lot of push exercises like bench presses or push ups and too little exercises for your posterior chain, You are tightening your muscles that are already tight and muscles that are already weak have no chance to work against them. (weak Erector spinae)

This results in a forward head position slouching shoulders and around an upper back. (weak Rhomboids & Trapezius transversus, tight Pectoralis & front Delts) |This is not only about the horrible look, it can also lead to neck pain and muscular imbalances. (weak neck Extensors, tight neck Flexors) To avoid or to correct this, we need to activate our muscles in the posterior chain and stretch and relax the tight muscles in the anterior chain.

Minding the natural S curves of the spine is not the goal to achieve a complete straight back. But to activate our weak and stretch to tight muscles. When you activate your weak muscles you should aim for an extended spine and a wide range of motion to work against tight and overused muscles.

Activate weak muscles + stretch tight muscles

Reverse plank bridge – a posture correcting exercise

Reverse plank bridge - posture fix exercise
Reverse plank bridge

One of the best movements you can do for correcting your posture is the reverse plank bridge.  This exercise activates muscles like your Middle Trapezius, your Rhomboids your Erector spinae and your Neck Flexes. While streching your pecs, your long head of the biceps, your front deltoids and your neck extensors.

To do this exercise correctly:

  • You have to keep your arms straight.
  • Pull your shoulders back.
  • Bring your shoulder blades together.
  • And tuck your chin.
  • Push your shest up as much as possible.
  • And extend your spine.

You can do this exercise with different hand placements, fingers pointing forward or backward. If you place your hands with fingers pointing backwards, you will activate your external shoulder rotators. And this will result in a better shoulder stability. You also achieve a higher range of motion, and the bed or stretching in your chest, biceps and front delts.

Exercise: Arch off with the posterior tilted pelvis

Arch off exercise for posture improvement
Picture from:

The next exercise is the arch off with the posterior tilted pelvis. It consists of three different movements.

The first one is the shoulder flexion. This movement is very good to open up your shoulders, for example, to improve your handstand and all over overhead exercises. Push your arms and your shoulder blades upwards, and try to raise your arms as high as possible without bending them or arch your lower back.

The next part is the horizontal abduction. Here you also try to lift your arms as high as possible, but this time, you try to bring your shoulder blades together. This will activate your rhomboids and your middle traps.

The last part is about the shoulder extension. This will work better against the tight front delts than the other two arm positions.

In all three movements you tuck your chin and look to the ground. This will activate your neck flexors and stretch your neck extensors. You should also aim for an external rotation of your arms (thumbs upwards), because this will work against the internal rotation of the tight muscles. The last key point for this exercise is the extension of your thoracic spine. Because this will activate your Erectus bene.

Rowing movements may help to improve posture

Inverted Row exercise for posture improvement
Inverted Row exercise. Picture from:

The third and last exercise for improving your posture is any kind of rowing movements. You can do body rows, rows with the band, seated cable rows, or even dumbbell and barbell rows. No matter, which kind you do, don’t just move your arms,. It’s very important to keep your spine slightly extended, pull your shoulders back, and bring your shoulder blades together.  Avoid a rounded back and the forwarded head position.

The key to improve your posture is to do it on regular basis, and not only for a few weeks. Your daily posture fails will always remain the same or even get worse. So, don’t limit the duration of a training, that improves strength, coordination and mobility. You will also profit from a functional full-body workout instead of an isolated one-sided training program. If you want to know, how such a function of full body workout program feels, just go to the Calisthenic movement website and try our workout programs.


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