6 Exercise to Improve Your Posture

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    Jahkno!
    Keymaster

    AS children we were taught to walk upright, sit up straight and square our shoulders to exude confidence, but over time some of us ignored the advice of our seniors and made a habit of slouching, which causes bad posture.

    But apart from seemingly exhibiting a lack of confidence, your posture says a lot about you, your body joints and body muscles, says Rohan Gordon, personal trainer at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa .

    “It also tells a lot about how your joints and muscles are working,” he says.

    He says correcting your posture isn’t a hopeless cause.

    “We go about our lives with hunched backs and imbalanced hips, and deal with pain because we think it’s normal,” he says. “Living with bad posture can be a dangerous thing. The muscle and ligament imbalances that result from poor alignment can lead to all sorts of problems such as chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain; foot, knee, hip, and back injuries; headaches, stiffness, fatigue, muscle atrophy and weakness, difficulty breathing, digestion issues, as well as impingement and nerve compression.”

    To correct your posture, Gordon recommends the following exercises:

    1. Rear-delt row

    Execution: Gordon says to stand up straight while holding a barbell using a wide — higher than shoulder width — and overhand — palms facing your body — grip. Afterwards, bend the knees slightly and bend over as you keep the natural arch of your back. “Let the arms hang in front of you as they hold the bar. Once your torso is parallel to the floor, flare the elbows out and away from your body,” he says. Your torso and your arms should resemble the letter ‘T’. As soon as your torso and arms assume that shape, Gordon says the actual exercise begins. “While keeping the upper arms perpendicular to the torso, pull the barbell up towards your upper chest as you squeeze the rear delts and breathe out. When performed correctly, this exercise should resemble a bench press in reverse. Also, refrain from using your biceps to do the work. Focus on targeting the rear delts; the arms should only act as hooks. Slowly go back to the initial position as you breathe in. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.” He adds that this exercise can be performed using a Smith machine or a T-bar row. You can also use the low pulley as long as you use a wide grip bar attachment

    2. Deadlift exercise

    Execution: According to Gordon, you must stand in front of a loaded barbell. He says while keeping the back as straight as possible, bend your knees, bend forward and grasp the bar using a medium – shoulder width overhand grip. “This will be the starting position of the exercise. If it is difficult to hold on to the bar with this grip, alternate your grip or use wrist straps,” he says. While holding the bar, you should start the lift by pushing with your legs while simultaneously getting your torso to the upright position as you breathe out. “In the upright position, stick your chest out and contract the back by bringing the shoulder blades back. Think of how the soldiers in the military look when they are in standing at attention,” he says. “Go back to the starting position by bending at the knees while simultaneously leaning the torso forward at the waist while keeping the back straight. When the weights on the bar touch the floor you are back at the starting position and ready to perform another repetition. Perform the number of repetitions prescribed in the programme.”

    Caution: Gordon says this is not an exercise to be taken lightly. “If you have back issues, substitute it for a rowing motion instead. If you have a healthy back, ensure perfect form and never round the back as this can cause back injury.”

    3. Hanging leg raise

    Execution: “Hang from a chin-up bar with both arms extended at arm’s length on top of you using either a wide grip or a medium grip. The legs should be straight down with the pelvis rolled slightly backwards. This will be your starting position.” You should raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. “Exhale as you perform this movement and hold the contraction for a second or so. Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.”

    Caution: You should perform this exercise slowly and deliberately as it takes some getting used to.

    4. Kneeling hip flexor

    Execution: The personal trainer says you should kneel on a mat and bring your right knee up so the bottom of your foot is on the floor, and extend your left leg out behind you so the top of your foot is on the floor. Subsequently, shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in your hip, after which you will hold the position for five seconds, then repeat for your other side.

    5. Pyramid stretch over ball

    Execution: To properly do this exercise, Gordon says you should start off by rolling your torso forward onto the ball so your hips rest on top of the ball and become the highest point of your body. As soon as you’ve done that you should rest your hands and feet on the floor. “Your arms and legs can be slightly bent or straight, depending on the size of the ball, your flexibility, and the length of your limbs. This also helps to develop stabilising strength in your torso and shoulders.”

    6. Quadriceps self-myofascial release

    Execution: “Lie face down on the floor with your weight supported by your hands or forearms. Place a foam roll underneath one leg on the quadriceps, and keep the foot off the ground. Make sure to relax the leg as much as possible. This will be your starting position,” he says. You should shift as much weight onto the leg to be stretched as is tolerable, roll over the foam from above the knee to below the hip, and hold the points of tension for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.

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