“Unless some misfortune has made it impossible, everyone can have good posture.”
- Loretta Young
That is right, Loretta. Everybody can have good posture, but many do not know where to start. Everybody wants good posture. After all, it has many benefits for the body but also the soul and mindset of an individual with good posture, a fact that we were all reminded of when we were kids. Let’s do a couple of posture checks, for the office and the gym, before we dive into some simple stretches that will significantly improve your posture.
Posture Check I
Shrug your shoulders to your ears. Now, pull them back and pull them down. Check yourself out!
This is the ideal place for your shoulder blades to be for most gym movements and everyday posture. You may notice that your head is a bit forward, as your chin sticks out a bit. While it may feel uncomfortable, this is an ideal posture check that will elongate your spine and make you feel in a position of power. You are probably thinking to yourself, “why am I in such a position?” but I bet you are sitting nice and tall right now completely aware of your posture!
Posture Check II
In order to combat the poor posture plague, start with some stretches that may loosen up tight muscles in your upper shoulder area. The key here is to strengthen in the opposite position of your current posture with pulling movements. You need not ban the bench press from your workouts, but the pull to push exercises should be higher to train good posture. Some good postural pulling exercises are seated row, bent over row, face pulls. Remember to posture check!
Levator scapula stretch
What in the dumbbell is that? This is a simple upper neck stretch that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Drop your left arm loose. Place your right hand on the left side of the back of your head. Feel for a bit of a ridge or a notch. Pull your head down so that your gaze is toward the floor. Breathe and turn your head to the right as if you were to “smell your shoulder”.
Repeat on the other side, and you will be golden! I bet you feel great right now, a good stretch is always a mood booster, and your posture is improving. Keep it up!
Now this one is a bit more complicated, but let’s get to it. After all, we all want better posture. Stand in a door way and place your left hand with your elbow and wrist touching the doorframe. The first stretch is with your elbow at 90 degrees. With your arm positioned, move into the doorframe so you may feel a slight pull at the front of your chest by your shoulder. Breathe. Relax and re-position your arm so that your forearm is higher up on the doorframe. The angle at your elbow here is about 140 degrees. Step into the doorframe again and breathe through the tension.
It may feel awkward at first, but if you keep up with it, your posture is going to be moving on up.