Do your back muscle need to be stretched and strengthened? If you’re posture is looking like it’s in need of some serious improvement, I’m here to tell you that there isn’t any fancy brace you can buy to fix it. The ONLY way to fix your posture 100% is to stretch and strengthen those weakened back muscles that are causing you to slump forward. So, it’s going to take some work and effort, but you’ll surely see signs of improvement within four weeks.
I’ve listed these exercises in order from easy to difficult/advanced. If your a beginner, then start with exercises 1-5 for week 1, then 1-6 for week 2, 1-7 for week 3 and so on…
I recommended doing EACH of these exercises every other day initially, then after the first month, you can do them daily. Purchase a good yoga mat to make these exercises more comfortable. You get what you pay for when it comes to Yoga mats (the super cheap ones fall apart easily). We purchased this one from Amazon, which is affordable and reliable.
Medical Disclaimer: If any of these exercises cause pain or discomfort, please see a chiropractor or physical therapist, as there may be something else going on. Be smart and listen to your body!
1. Wall Angels (Beginner)
Think of making snow angles when you do these (or if you’ve never seen snow, think sand angles haha). Place your body against a wall, bending your arms at the elbows. Ensure your neck and lower back are as against the wall as possible-you may have to tuck your chin and tilt your pelvis to do so. Slowly raise your arms up overhead, maintaining your arm contact with the wall, then slowly lower them back down. Repeat 10X. Remember to do these slowly… speed does not win here.
2. Scapular Retraction (Beginner)
Stand or sit and retract (squeeze) your shoulder blades together, maintaining a neutral spine with your arms down by your side (or arms can be in a T-shape with bent elbows at 90 degrees so fingertips point toward the ceiling and palms face forward). Hold the retraction for 5-10 seconds and repeat 5-10 times.
3. Cross Crawl Quadruped (Beginner)
Start on the floor (use a mat or a towel) on all 4’s. While inhaling, extend your right arm out in front of you and at the same time, straighten your left leg back behind you. Hold this for 3-5 breaths. Alternatively, with each exhale, draw your right elbow to meet your left knee, then extend back out on the inhale. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
4. Glute Bridges (Beginner)
Lying on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor, hip width distance apart. Ensure that you can touch the back of your heels with your fingertips. Placing your hands flat on the floor beside your body, raise your hips up toward the sky, holding for 3-5 breaths. Lower your hips down. Repeat 5-10 times. You can interlace your hands under your back while your hips are in the air, if that feels comfortable for you. Ensure that your knees don’t splay outward.
5. Cobra Pose (Beginner)
Lying flat on your stomach, place both hands on the floor, just underneath your shoulders. On an inhale squeeze your back muscles together and raise your upper body off the floor, using only 10% of your hands to push. You can even try lifting your hands off the floor to ensure you’re only using your back muscles for this. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat 5-10 times.
6. Swimming Then Supermans (Intermediate)
Lying fat on the floor with your arms and legs extended, set a timer for 15-60 seconds and move your arms and legs as if you were swimming. Rest and repeat 5-10 times.
Once the swimmers have become too easy, you can graduate to supermans (or superwoman as I like to call them). Lying on your stomach with your arms and legs extended, on an inhale, raise your arms and legs upward, toward the ceiling. Hold for 5 breaths. Rest then repeat 3-5 times.
7. Upward Facing Dog (Intermediate)
Lying on your stomach, place your hands underneath your shoulders and, pushing with your hands, straighten your arms while keeping your hips closer to the floor (only raising them above slightly). Hold for 5 breaths then lower back down to lying on your stomach. Repeat 3-5 times.
8. Locust Post (Intermediate)
Lying on your stomach, clasp your hands behind your back. On an inhale, draw your hands upward toward the ceiling while pressing down into the floor with the tops of your feet. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat 3-5 times.
9. Bow Pose (Advanced)
Lying on your stomach, bend your knees and reach back to grab the inside of your feet with your hands. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, lift your legs up behind you as you lift your torso upward as well. Avoid splaying your knees outward. Hold for 5 breaths. Rest and repeat 3-5 times.
10. Wheel And Camel (Super-Advanced-Use Caution)
Only perform this if you are experienced and have done it before in the past. If you have any lower back pain, it is best to avoid doing this altogether and seek professional help. If it’s your first time, be sure to perform under the supervision on a yoga teacher. DO NOT perform this exercise without warming up first, as it’s a deep back bend and can be dangerous with a cold spine.
Wheel: Lying on your back, place both hands beside your head and both feet on the floor, hip width distance apart. Raise your torso into the air and extend your arms, coming into an upside down wheel. Hold for 5 breaths. Lower down slowly and use caution with your neck. Repeat 3 times. Afterward, take a child’s pose to reset.
Camel: Come up onto your knees on your yoga mat. On an inhale, push your pelvis forward as you place your hands on your lower back, fingertips facing downward. If you feel comfortable to go further, place your hands on each ankle while continuing to push your pelvis forward. Hold for 5 breaths. Come out of this slowly, the way that you went in. Rest and repeat 3 times. Afterward, take a child’s pose to reset.
Looking for another way to improve your posture, check out the Posture Protector App!
Looking down at your cell phone or tablet for hours at a time can put a serious strain on your posture as well. This is why we created The Posture Protector App! The App alerts you by dimming your screen, vibrating or beeping when you slouch while using your mobile device, ensuring you maintain proper posture while using them.
Feel free to jot us a note in the comments section, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, or Reddit @postureprotector or Twitter @postureproapp!
Want more information about something else? We’re always open to suggestions!
Thanks so much for reading! Here’s to better posture and better health!
Dr. Nichole 🙂
Co-Creator: Posture Protector App