Posture – How To Improve Yours At The Gym Pt. 1
Posture , and how to correct it, is a hot topic. This is because so many of us are walking around with poor posture, and we want to know how to fix it. But, in order to fix your poor posture, you need to understand why you have it in the first place.
Our modern society is sitting far too often. We sit at work, sit in the car, sit on public transit, sit at home watching tv, and more. But, it’s not that sitting is bad, it’s that being stuck in any one shape or position for too long, too often, is bad for the body.
Whatever you impose on your body often enough it will adapt to, and get good at doing. If you’re sitting for long hours, often, your body is going to get really good at making that shape. The posture of sitting is usually a hunched upper back, a head that pitches forward, and the hips/pelvis tuck under. Essentially, the posture of sitting turns you into a hunched over, sort of “turtle person”. I know that’s not the scientific term – but you catch my drift.
And it’s not just sitting that gets you there! Another huge culprit is our addiction to our phones. We’re always hunched over, looking down, and staring at our phones … often while we’re sitting. You can see how these two activities contribute to the poor posture that many of us have, and battle against.
So what can we do to work against this poor posture? What can we do to battle agains the hunch back and turtle neck? We’ll be diving into this in our 2 part series on improving your posture in the gym.
Let’s start with 3 things you can do …
1.) Train Your Core
The core muscles are postural in nature, meaning they help support your spine and keep you upright. Training good breathing patterns, deep internal core muscle connection, engagement, and core endurance is the foundation for improving posture. A well tuned core also helps decompress the spine, open the ribs, support the spine during movement, and allows for a solid foundation during any and all athletics and daily movements.
If you’re unsure of what the core is, how it works, or how to engage it – why don’t you take a look at our previous blog posts on the topic, such as …
And once you’re comfortable with that, try training it effectively with the following …
2.) Develop Mobility In The Thoracic Spine
Often times, due to inactivity or being seated all the time, we lose mobility in the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is the mid back, from the base of the neck to the beginning of the lumbar spine (lower back). This is the area that often becomes stiff and hunched over, producing those rounded shoulders and upper back. We need to restore movement to the area, in extension and rotation, if we want to improve your posture, as well as your breathing and movement.
If you don’t know where to start and want to learn more about the thoracic spine, check out our previous blog posts on the topic …
3.) Train Your Posterior Chain
The posterior chain are the muscles that run up the entire back side of your body, from the heels to the back/top of the head. They play a huge roll in “opening up” the body and keeping you upright while standing, walking, and running. These muscles must be trained if you not only want to improve your posture, but also improve your over all strength, stability, and wellness. Importantly, the larger the movement and the more muscles in your posterior chain we have working together at once, the better effect it will have on your posture.
Just what exercises should you be training in order to target the posterior chain?
- Deadlifts (and their variations/substitutions)
- Pull Ups / Chin Ups (and their variations/substitutions)
- Kettlebell Swings
- Back Extensions
- Hip Thrusters
- Glute Bridges
- Bird Dogs
Are just a few of the exercises that will help train your posterior chain, and help keep your strong and tall. As always, it’s important to understand perfect form and how to train each movement/exercise for your specific needs and unique body. If you don’t know where to start, be sure to check with one of our great Wynn Fitness Trainers and they’ll help guide you.
Start implementing those 3 approaches and you’ll begin to see a dramatic change in your posture, effortlessly. In our next blog we’ll look at 3 more things you can do to help change how you stand, without forcing yourself to stand tall.