Upper Body Exercises to Help Posture
Let’s face it. Our lives breed bad posture. Whether it is sitting at a desk all day, driving, or text messaging. Shoulders round forward, heads fall and backs ache. Triathletes have the added challenge of rounding over their bike handlebars for hours a week. All of these lead to poor posture and imbalances that take its toll on the body. You may already experience neck or shoulder pain and stress due to these habits. Add these following posture exercises into your daily routine for a future of good posture and less neck and shoulder pain. You will need a long foam roller for these exercises.
Upper Back Release
Lie on your back with the foam roller across the spine. Place hands behind your head for neck support, and bend knees, so feet are flat on the floor. Engage your abdominals and lift your hips off of the floor. Keeping elbows as wide as you can, roll your thoracic spine up and down the foam roller. Keep your shoulder blades attached into your ribcage as you roll. You should feel a release in your upper spine, and your chest should start to open up. Do this for 1-2 minutes.
Lie with your spine aligned with the foam roller. Make sure your head and pelvis rest completely on the foam roller. Knees are bent, feet are flat. Keep your rib cage attached to the foam roller. “T” your arms out to the sides, palms face the sky. Hold this stretch as you breathe. This stretch opens up the chest to release those tight muscles. Hold this stretch for up to 20 breaths.
From the “T” stretch, bend your elbows to form a “W”. Palms stay facing the sky. Keep your ribcage into the foam roller at all times. On your inhale, extend your arms until elbows are straight, arms parallel to the floor. Exhale, bring your elbows back into your sides into the “W”. This stretch continues to release the chest, but it also is strengthening the muscles in between your shoulder blades and ribcage to help keep shoulder blades back and down. Do 10-12 reps.
Keeping the same spine alignment as the previous exercises, reach your arms straight to the sky with palms facing each other. Inhale and reach your fingers as high to the sky as possible, allowing shoulder blades to round forward. Exhale, bring shoulder blades back and down, pressing into your ribcage first and then around the foam roller. Keep rib cage grounded to the foam roller throughout. Do 10-12 reps.
Hopefully by the end of these exercises you feel taller, and notice a better posture. Do these regularly to make the good posture stick. Don’t forget to add in core work as well to help with the stability of your torso, which will support your posture as well.