When it comes to outward appearances, posture plays a huge role. Learning how to align yourself correctly can be a good indicator of your health, self-esteem, and confidence. Our posture thus, says a lot about who we are as a person and is even well-connected to the way we look and feel on a daily basis.
Improving and looking after your posture now is also a good long-term investment when it comes to your future health. Strengthening the correct muscles can keep you from walking with a hunched back or forward hip later on in life.
This post should hopefully give you insight into some great exercises to keep in mind the next time you go to the gym. These are the kind of exercises that can efficiently strengthen the core and make you feel like your standing taller. 🙂
One of my favorite workouts for strengthening the core is by holding a plank.
Here’s how to hold a plank:
To begin a plank hold, start by lying on your stomach with your feet together and your arms beside you. Lift your body up by placing your palms down on the ground and straightening out your arms. Keep the body straight, while making sure your hips are in a neutral position.
Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
#2. Reverse Crunches With a Stability Ball
Stability balls are a very effective tool for working out the core and can be a great way to exercise those small muscles that normally don’t get worked as often. Reverse crunches can be a good way to help our posture and natural alignment by working your hips, obliques, and abdominal muscles. I highly recommend going with the Gaiam stability ball, if you don’t have one lying around.
How to do reverse crunches:
Lie on your back with your stability ball placed between your calves with your legs above the ground. Bring your knees towards your chest, while the stability ball is squeezed between the legs. Make sure your hips remain on the ground as well as your back. Bring the stability ball back into position and repeat by bringing the knees toward the chest.
Click here to see a demonstration. You can try a set with and without a stability ball and see which method you like best!
#3. Side Plank
Now it’s time for the side plank, which will be a great way to strengthen the sides of our core such as our obliques, naturally leading to better posture.
How to perform a side plank:
Lie on one side with your legs on top of each other and your arm below your shoulder. Use that one arm to lift your body off the ground, while using the sides of both feet to balance yourself. Keep the hips lifted, breathe, and hold your position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Here’s a good demonstration of what a side plank looks like!
#4. Dumbbell Side Bends
To finish off working your core, try doing some dumbbell side bends.
How to perform side bends with dumbbells:
Stand up straight with feet, shoulder-width apart. Holding a light dumbbell in each hand, bend to the right, hold for 2 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat on your left side.
Shoulder Blade Workouts:
#5. Dumbbell Reverse Fly’s On Stability Ball
Now that we’ve gotten our core out of the way, lets work on those rounded shoulders and strengthen them properly. Our first workout will start by using a stability ball.
How to perform:
Sit on your stability ball, with your feet out in front of you and on the floor. Take your body and lean directly above your legs. With a dumbbell in each hand, raise each arm to the side, working and strengthening the posterior side of your shoulders. Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions at a weight you feel comfortable using. An alternative method is choosing to lie down flat on your stomach on-top of the ball with both dumbbells at your side and doing your repetitions from there.
#6. Seated Rows With a Resistance Band
Resistance bands serve as a great replacement to our everyday dumbbells, allowing for much greater versatility within our workouts. This seated row exercise is perfect for working out the shoulder blades and upper back muscles.
How to perform:
Sit on a mat or the floor with a slight bend in the knees. Take your resistance band and make one loop with them around the feet. Cross the handles so that you take the left handle with the right hand and the right handle with the left hand. Pull both bands toward the chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you bring them towards you and return to the start position. Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions.
Lower Body Workouts:
Job well done on working out both your core and shoulder blades! Now lets focus our attention on performing some lower body exercises, and yes, those also play a role in posture by neutralizing and strengthening the hips!
#7. Hip Flexor Workout With Resistance Band
How to perform:
Using our resistance band, attach it by making a loop onto something low on the ground. This could be a piece of furniture or your bed stand. Attach the other end, by making a loop around one of your feet. Take your knee and lift it up to a 90 degree angle and slowly lower it to starting position. Try doing 3 reps of 15 for each leg. You are sure to feel the burn in your hip flexors!
Great Stretches for Better Posture:
In addition to working out your core, here are some great stretches to do afterwards!
- Pyramid Stretch Over Stability Ball – See how its done here.
- Chest Stretch On Stability Ball – See how its done here.
- Kneeling Hip Flexors – See how its done here.
- Hugging Knees To Chest – See how its done here.
Bonus Workout – Mountain Climbers
There is no better way to finish off our workout than by performing some mountain climbers. The mountain climber is a duly effective workout, since the plank alone already holds so many benefits when it comes to improving the core. For a highly effective workout using mountain climbers alone, I highly recommend this link on wikihow.com.
The motions involved in this exercise should help keep you more aware of your posture and work on a ton of awesome muscles in your core, while adding some great motion to your hips and lower body.
Anyway, these are my preferable and go to exercises whenever I find myself wanting to work on my posture. Now that we’ve got our core, shoulder, and lower body and hip workouts out the way, what other exercises do you recommend?
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