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The Strength Training Workout for Perfect Posture

Stretch and strengthen certain muscles to function, feel, and look better, stat.

Source: MATT LINCOLN/GETTY IMAGES

Stop right there—without moving, do a posture check. Back rounded? Chin sticking out? Don't worry, strength training can help fix your hard-to-break slouching habits. (These yoga poses will help your tech neck too.)


Slouching doesn’t just look "blah"; it also causes neck and back pain, decreases oxygen flow to your muscles, and reduces flexibility, upping your risk of injury. This workout—designed by Doug Holt, a trainer and owner of Conditioning Specialists in Santa Barbara, CA and Natalie Miller, a doctor of physical therapy at Vaida Wellness Center in Minnesota—combats chest tightness (which exacerbates bad posture) and strengthens the muscles that pull back the shoulder blades to build better posture. (It's one of most people's major muscle imbalances.)


Grab some light (2- to 5-pound) dumbbells, a 6- to 10-pound weighted Body Bar, a few other odds and ends, and tackle this routine to score a sculpted upper body that not only looks tall and strong but also feels and functions better too. (No equipment handy? Try this weight-free posture workout instead.)


9 Posture Exercises Everyone Needs


How it works: Two or three times a week, do 1 set of each of the first seven moves, resting for up to 60 seconds between sets. Repeat twice. Finish with one round of the neck flexion exercise and T stretch.​


Total Time: up to 45 minutes


You will need: Body Bar, Free weights, Foam roller, Resistance band, Swiss ball


1. "Y" Raise


A. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand and lie face-down with belly centered on a stability ball, legs extended behind you, feet wider than shoulders. Extend arms toward the ground to make a “Y,” palms facing each other.

B. Pull shoulders down and back, and then lift the arms up to shoulder height, squeezing shoulder blades together. Return to starting position, and relax the shoulders.


Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.


2. Right-Angle Press


A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a weighted body bar at chest height in front of you, elbows bent 90 degrees and palms facing the ground.

B. Keep upper arms parallel to ground and rotate shoulders back, bringing bar behind your head. Lower bar to starting position and repeat.


Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.


3. High Row


A. Anchor the center of a resistance tube at chest height while either sitting on the floor or a stability ball. Hold both handles shoulder-width apart at chest height in front of you, palms facing the ground (tube should be taut).

B. Bend elbows, drawing hands toward shoulders. Return to starting position and repeat.


Do 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.


4. Reverse Fly


A. Hold a resistance band or tube on either end. Start with arms stretched out in front of you at chest height.

B. Keeping arms straight (but not locked) extend arms out to sides to stretch the band, squeezing shoulder blades together at the end of the movement. Return to start, keeping the movement slow and controlled.


Do 3 sets of 15 reps.


5. Quadrupled Hip Extension


A. Start on hands and knees (shoulders directly over hands, hips over knees) and engage lower abdominals. Lift one leg with knee bent at 90 degrees, bottom of the foot facing up toward the ceiling.

B. Pulse the leg up towards the ceiling while squeezing glutes, being mindful not to arch the lower back.


Do 3 sets of 15 reps.


6. Seated Low Row


A. Anchor the center of a resistance tube or band at chest height while sitting on the floor or on a stability ball. Hold both ends of the band with hands facing inward.

B. Pull the cables towards you, focusing on keeping elbows close to sides and shoulders relaxed, as you squeeze shoulder blades down and back.


Do 3 sets of 15 reps.


7. Side Plank


A. Lie on your side, elbow directly under your shoulder. Engage lower abdominal muscles before lifting hips into the air, as you try to create a straight line from head to toes. If you need to modify, you can start on your knees.


Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Do 3 sets.


8. Neck Flexion


A. Lie face up on a flat surface. Gently tuck chin and lift head 2 inches off the ground. Hold for 5 seconds. Lower head back to the floor, keeping chin tucked.


Do 10 reps.


9. "T" Stretch


A. Sit in front of one end of a foam roller with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lie back so head, shoulders, and upper back are on the roller; then create a “T” by extending arms out to sides, palms facing up.


Hold for 1 minute.

This article by Lauren Mazzo originally appeared here: https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/strength-training-posture-exercises

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