Exercises for Posture
If you are looking for exercises to improve your posture then some of
the following exercises for posture may help.
Some patients come in to me specifically asking for exercises for
posture or simply wanting to know how to improve posture. Good posture
makes you look younger, takes years off your appearance, and evokes an
image of confidence and health. By using the exercise ball for
exercises for posture, you strengthen the muscles that support good
posture. As they strengthen, sitting or standing up straight will feel
like less of an effort.
Exercises for posture.
Check your posture
Tips for maintaining good posture
The Role of
Different Muscle Fibre Types
Personal Trainer's Program
and the Athlete
as an Example
Breathing helped with improvements in posture in children
Over time poor posture
- back pain
- spinal dysfunction
- joint and disc
- rounded shoulders and
resulting shoulder pain
- protruding abdomen
- muscular imbalances
- nerve compression
- forward positioning of
I find when I discuss posture with patients that some of them get
defensive. It takes them back to a time when their parents scolded
them: "sit up straight". But, after I explain to them why it is so
important, they quickly understand that it is often simply their
posture that may be the source of their pain. Exercises for posture can
Muscle Fibre Types have Different Roles
The deep postural
muscles contain a large proportion of slow twitch muscle fibres. These
fibres are capable of contracting for long periods without tiring. Poor
posture demands the support of the fast twitch muscle fibres which tire
quickly creating muscle fatigue and pain. Over time, excessive use of
the fast twitch fibres leads to wasting of the slow twitch fibres
causing a reduction in joint stability and poor mechanics.
standing up straight, ligaments are not under tension, fast twitch
muscle fibres do not work excessively to hold you up and joints are in
a relaxed position. On the contrary if your center of gravity is
forward or back of where it should be, muscles need to work excessively
to prevent you from falling over. This leads to muscle fatigue and
pain. If ligaments are kept in a stretched position for prolonged
periods, they will lengthen, causing pain and joint instability over
the long term. The following exercises for posture will strengthen the
muscles that hold your joints in a neutral position thereby relieving
strain on ligaments.
a side view, good posture is seen as the head balanced over the
shoulders as though an imaginary line runs from the ear through the
shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. From the front, shoulders and hips
should be level, head straight, knees face straight ahead and ankles
are straight. The ideal posture is one in which the vertical line of
viewed from the front or the back the vertical line passing through the
body's centre of gravity should theoretically bisect the body into two
halves with body weight equally distributed between the two feet and
knee caps should be facing forward.
5 cm in
front of the ankle joint
in front of the
centre of the knee joint
the hip joint
or just behind it
in front of the
behind the ear
through the mastoid process
The best way to determine if you have good posture is to have a
postural evaluation from a physical therapist. They will identify
muscular imbalances that could lead to poor posture. Physical
therapists have special skills to evaluate and treat postural problems.
Below you will find a good list of exercises for posture. Review the instructions
on how to maintain a neutral position before beginning these stability
exercises to improve posture.
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for maintaining good posture.
Click on each picture for a full description and progression.
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Clothing for Posture
I'll often use tape in the clinic, either stiff leukotape, or an
elastic kinesio tape in assisting people in regaining a correct
posture. The idea is to use the tape to facilitate muscle activity
where it is low and provide proprioceptive feedback so that learning
can take place.
Appropriate clothing and assistive devices can facilitate activity in
the muscles that hold your shoulders back, and keep your chest up.
Braces and the appropriate clothing can also assist you in maintaining
good posture. The idea is to use the clothing to assist you in learning
what correct posture is and reeducating yourself in terms of how your
body should sit in space, rather than relying on the garment to hold
you upright. Relying on a rigid brace to hold you up can only result in
further weaknesses developing, compounding your posture related
So, if choosing a clothing to assist you in your quest for better
posture, be sure to also partake in an appropriate stretching and
strengthening program. If you have serious postural issues or pain,
consult your physical therapist for advice prior to purchasing anything.
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this deformity the hips are forward and to maintain balance the
thoracic spine rounds. The person with this posture may also have tight
hip extensors and rotators and tight hamstrings. This person may have
weak hip flexors, weak
muscles, and weak scapular
stabilizers. Athletes with this posture lack power and the ability to
make explosive movements. Review exercises for posture to help correct
with this posture has excessive stress on their lower back due to
increased curvature in the lower back and anterior tilt to the pelvis.
This can be caused by weak lower abdominal musculature. Shoulders
typically sag forward,, thighs will rotate inward, and the head will
protrude forward to maintain balance. Someone with this type of posture
will typically have weak lower abdominals and tight hip flexors.
Shortened hip flexors will result in shortened stride in a runner and
therefore cause you to run slower. Exercises for posture will help
correct these muscle imbalances.
Flattened Back Posture
posture is characterized by a decrease in the lumbar lordosis. Someone
with this posture usually has tight hip muscles and weak lower back and
hip flexors. These altered postures can result in poor movement
patterns leading to pain and injury. Exercises for posture will help
provide a stable core from which to perform dynamic movement.
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definition is the position of your body assumed for a
specific purpose. If you have bad posture you will not be as effective
as an athlete. You need to get in and out of certain positions in your
sport, and you will need effective posture for jumping, sprinting,
cutting, etc. Without the use of efficient postures you may be
increasing your chances of injury.
The type of posture you have will determine which muscles are
which are tight. Optimal postural alignment helps provide good shock
absorption and assists in energy transfer during movement.
The foundation of any
defensive movement is the
position specific stance. If this stance is poorly constructed any
subsequent movement will be slower. Any
sport that requires a defensive stance must allow for the best possible
movement speed out of the stance in any direction. If this stance is
faulty it will cause you to lose lateral quickness because you cannot
engage your hip muscles effectively. This puts more strain on the knees.
spine should be straight and the hips bent in a "hip-hinged"
position. One method to assess if you have proper defensive position is
to take a stick (hockey stick, golf club, dowel, etc) and place it on
the players back. Position it so that it touches the buttocks and the
back of the head. As the player assumes the defensive position and
hinges at the hips, the stick should stay on the player's back. If the
bends at the waist, the stick will move off of the lower back. This
indicates poor posture when assuming the defensive position.
assess the correct position of the knees you need to observe the
athlete from the front as he squats. The knees should remain centered
over the second toes. If the knees drift inward, the likely cause is
unawareness of correct technique or weakness in the hips. This faulty
movement can cause poor tracking of the knee caps resulting in reduced
jumping power and patellofemoral injuries.
discussed above are important to the athlete because:
As an athlete you must always be aware of your posture. This
combined with knowing how to achieve a good defensive position will
instantaneously make you move better. Review the above exercises for
- These faulty postures
may cause muscular
imbalances in the
athlete affecting athletic performance
postures may make it difficult for the athlete to
assume the defensive position effectively
- If the
hips are not in the ideal position, the muscles are
not at their ideal length to contract and therefore functionally
weaker, putting more stress on the knees.
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stance of an infielder during a pitch must allow for a quick linear,
lateral, and angular movement in any direction. This could be to catch
a grounder, or line drive, or make a quick throw to base. Here are some
key points that must occur during the infielder stance:
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- The feet must be
slightly wider than shoulder width. This is due to the angle of force
application. If the feet are too narrow the infielder will not have as
powerful of a lateral push due to the initiating angle.
- The glove hand will be
down preparing for a grounder. The player can make a good play on a
hard hit ball, but this posture will also preload the hamstrings and
glutes to accelerate forward as quickly as possible. This forward
positioning also keeps the infielders weight on the balls of
the feet and not sitting back on the heels. If the player is sitting
high with the shoulder back the weight gets shifted to the heels and it
is therefore difficult to accelerate quickly.
A study published in The Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
looked at 19 mouth breathing children (mean age of 10.6 years) and
measured the muscle activity in their accessory muscles of respiration.
(1) (Sternocleidomastoid, suboccipitals, and the upper fibres of
After three months in a physical therapy program that included
stretching, strengthening, and exercises for posture on the exercise
ball for posture and respiratory training,
there was found to be a significant reduction in activity of the
accessory muscles of respiration. This indicates less effort in
breathing and better performance of the diaphragm with an improvement
CorrÃªa EC, BÃ©rzin F. Mouth
Breathing Syndrome: cervical muscles recruitment during nasal
inspiration before and after respiratory and postural exercises on
Swiss Ball.Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Sep;72(9):1335-43. Epub
2008 Jul 7.