There is a defined good posture. It is defined by the idea of dropping a plumb line down the side of someone’s body. If this plumb line falls through a number of points, then the posture is defined as being good.
We’re all different though, and our postures vary widely. Many of us may have been born with one longer limb, or a slight curve in our spine. Our occupation, chosen sports and hobbies, some illnesses, and daily posture will combine to form our body’s position.
When I think of good posture, I think of balance. So trying to achieve balance between the front and back, and between left and right.
So we can only work, and do the best with what we have naturally. We only have one body, so we might as well do the best we can with it! The following is a number of exercises that address some common postural issues.
1.The first exercise is just to think about your shoulder position, by fixing your shoulder blades.
The muscles called latissimus dorsi (“the lats”) help fix our shoulder blades in a downward position, so its a good idea to find them (as in, be aware of their activation), and then strengthen them for good shoulder position.
To begin with raise your shoulders upwards towards your ears.
Then think about engaging these muscles below your shoulder blades, to control the glide of the shoulder blades down your back. Repeat 10 times.
2.If you want to advance on the above, then a length of elastic exercise band is needed for this exercise. As in the picture, raise your arms above your head, grasping the band at a shoulder’s width apart. Think about engaging those muscles underneath the shoulder blades again. Keeping the band ahead of you, pull the band down towards shoulder height, whilst widening the hands apart.
Return to the start position, repeat 5 to 10 times in each set if you’re a beginner. Possibly trying 12 to 15 if you’re feeling stronger. Try 3 sets.
3.This exercise works to stretch the pectoral muscles, and so open the chest area. Stand side-on to a doorframe (or any protruding wall/edge of building/goalpost….) Bring your palm and forearm up against the surface, elbow at about shoulder height. Step forward with the foot of the side you’re stretching (the side with the arm on the surface.) You should feel a stretch across the front of the arm and shoulder. Try and keep both shoulders facing forwards. Hold for a slow count of 20 to 30, and then turn around to repeat on the other side.
4.The next exercise is a seated row. This works to strengthen the back of your shoulders. An elastic exercise band is needed for this. Sit up straight on the floor, with your legs out ahead of you. Hook the mid-section of the band around the bottom of both feet holding on to the two ends near your body. Keep your elbows into your side, and think about activating the shoulder blade area as you bring your elbows backwards in a rowing motion. Repeat 5 to 15 times in each set, try and build up the repetitions to 15 as you get stronger. Try 3 sets.
5.The final exercise stretches out the front of the hips. Slumped positions can shorten this muscle. From a kneeling position bring one foot ahead. Lunge forward onto the front foot (make sure the front knee doesn’t travel ahead of the toes, if this happens, step forward further.) You should feel a stretch on the front of the back hip. Hold for a slow count of 20 to 30, and repeat on the other side.