People rarely train to improve posture. If we did, we'd see a lot more people training their posterior chains than their anterior core. Since everyone wants a flat stomach, everyone then trains their abdominals while forgetting about their postural muscles at the back. As a result, our anterior or front side gets much stronger than our back muscles and muscular imbalances start to occur; that's when our posture may suffer. Add to that how we as a population spend too much time sitting down and we have the recipe for bad backs and tight hips. This explains why doing these 5 exercises are important to maintain that muscular balance and improve our posture.
1. ANKLE MOBILITY EXERCISES
That's right. I'm giving you a foot exercise to solve bad posture. You see, if we lose mobility in our ankles, our knees start to compensate for it, which then become hypermobile. When that happens, our hips will then start to compensate and tighten up, which then strains the back. So, it makes sense to break the chain where it all began and that's with the ankles. Simply place your foot a couple of inches from the floor. While keeping the foot flat, touch your knee to the wall. If you don't feel a stretch, move back until you feel it. Do 30 reps per foot, 10 with your knee going center, 10 with your knee going towards the side of your big toe, and 10 with your knee going towards the side of your little toe.
2. DEEP LUNGE WITH ROTATION
This exercise is good to stretch the hip flexor that tightens up when you sit too long or do a lot of anterior core exercises. Stand with your feet together then lunge back with the right foot, while bringing your right knee towards the floor. Place your right hand on the floor and bring your left elbow on the inside part of your left foot. From here, raise your left hand and point it to the ceiling and feel the stretch.
3. THORACIC BRIDGE
This exercise is effective in increasing shoulder and t-spine mobility, which will remove that hunch in your back if you do have one. Go on your hands and knees then raise your knees one inch from the floor. Swing your right foot under your left leg then plant that foot on the floor so that you are now facing up, push your hips up from this position. Go back to the start position and repeat for 5 reps each side.
4. GLUTE BRIDGE
When we think about posture, we rarely think about glutes. But, in truth, they may be the missing link. You have to remember that the hips are the midpoint of your body, which connects your upper and lower halves. If you have glute amnesia or if your glutes lack strength, this may cause problems with your posture. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift your buttocks up until your hips are fully extended. Contract your glutes and your abdominals then slowly lower back down. Repeat for 10 reps.
The basic plank is actually the start off to more advanced exercises such as different plank variations and the push up variations. It’s a good way to engage the core muscles and include the shoulders in the process. The key with the plank is that you want to look as if you’re standing upright. This means that your spine is neutral and that your hips are in line with your ankles and shoulders. Stay in the plank for 20-30 seconds and for 3 sets.