Exercises for better posture – Exercise is a great way to keep you feeling and looking good.
If you’re trying to lose a few pounds or pack on some muscle, or just get the sweet endorphin rush of runners high, working out has you covered.
One important and often overlooked benefit of exercise isn’t just in making you look and feel good, it's also in helping you function better.
Your body is a mechanical entity, and unlike built machines that have a fixed structure throughout their lifespan, your body is constantly going through changes and adaptations.
Some of these changes happen at the cost of the integrity of other body systems causing imbalances, other changes are altogether negative, either due to trauma, disease or age-related decline.
Exercise is a great way to correct these deviations, and one of the most crucial deviations to look out for is those of the spine.
Why Train Your Back?
Your back, or rather your spine is the single most important part of your skeleton.
Sure your limbs and joint systems are important, exercises for better posture but your spine keeps it all lined up and together.
Your spine also houses your spinal cord, a long extension of your central nervous system that branches off into all your body’s nerve endings.
How well your spine performs these two jobs is largely dependent on correct spinal alignment.
Correct spinal alignment is dependant on having the right sort of exercise, strength, and conditioning in place, either to maintain good posture or correct bad posture.
Just to fill you in on why this is important, let’s take a look at some common postural deviations and what these deviations could actually cost you.
Postural Deviations 101
Lordosis happens when the spine curves inwards into the back in a concave shape. Exercises for better posture this is characterized by a deep constant arch in the back often accompanied by an anterior pelvic tilt.
Kyphosis is the opposite of lordosis in the sense that it is a very pronounced, outward, convex curving of the back.
This is your typical “hunchback” appearance and is often accompanied by a posterior pelvic tilt.
Scoliosis is typically the most problematic deviation, that’s because of its a lateral curvature of the spine.
While kyphosis and lordosis are no good, they at least maintain the lateral symmetry of your skeleton and can be corrected by rebalancing the muscles in the spine.
Scoliosis completely puts you off-center and is usually the result of serious trauma or other conditions which may be hard to correct.
No matter which deviation you’re dealing with, realigning your posture is pivotal to your health.
Firstly, your entire joint and the musculoskeletal system rely on correct spinal alignment for optimal performance and range of motion.
Next, your nerve and circulatory systems have a sweet spot in terms of alignment which correlates to correct spinal alignment.
Lastly, you have your organs which need to sit in a specific way in their respective body cavities, and arrangement that depends on spinal alignment.
This article is going to take you through a few exercises designed to help you improve your posture, or at the very least, maintain it if it's already in check.
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4 Back Exercises to Keep Your Posture In Check
1. Prone Rows
This is a great upper back activator and can be scaled for endurance, strength or hypertrophy.
For this, you will need a barbell with appropriate weights and a workout bench.
While lying prone on the flat bench (belly down), exercises for better posture have the barbell placed perpendicular under the bench in a position where you can grip it.
Grip the barbell with both hands and pull up towards your chest. Lower the barbell back down to complete the rep.
Aim for 4 sets of 10 reps
What back workout would be complete without the good old deadlift.
Taking it from the upper back to the lower back this one will make use of the barbell again.
With the weighted barbell at your feet and feet shoulder-width apart, bend over, with slight flexion in the knees, and grip the bar.
While maintaining a neutral spine, lift the bar up until you’re in an upright position, slightly thrusting your hips forward and tensing the glutes.
Release and lower down to complete the rep.
Go for 4 sets of 10
3. Strict-form Pull-ups
Doing a pull up is one thing, doing it properly is a whole different ball game.
Strict form pull-ups require that you don’t rely on any compensatory movements or momentum.
You simply grip the bar as you would for a normal pull-up (over bar grip), and pull upwards,exercises for better posture making sure to keep your body from rocking or your legs from swinging or kicking.
Pull until the bar is below your chin, then lower down to a full extension to complete one rep.
Try and aim for 4 sets of 8.
4. Dumbbell Rows
For this one, place one knee and the same-side hand on a flat workout bench and one foot out on the floor, your back should be parallel to the ground in this position.
With the freehand, grip a dumbbell of appropriate weight, and from full extension, pull it up to your chest in a rowing motion.
From here, gradually lower the dumbbell back to a fully extended arm position to complete one rep.
Aim for 4 sets of 10 reps.
And with that, you have 4 awesome back workouts to help keep your posture correctly aligned.
We hope this helps you, but make sure to check with a doctor or physiotherapist if you suspect any serious postural deviations.
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