17 Apr Home exercises to improve your posture
Posture is so much more than just sitting up straight. Our posture is important because it gives us feedback about where we have been with our bodies. It lets you know if you have any aches or pains and reminds you of injuries you may have sustained years ago. It lets you know if you’ve have been sitting for too long or running too much. Your posture can even let you know if you need more sleep!
Posture can be affected by a lot of things, one of those being the way you sit all day at your workstations. While there are a millions things we can suggest to improve our desk posture, the fact of the matter is ANY posture you stay in for too long is going to have a negative effect. You can have the best ergonomic set-up and accessories, the best chair and the best desk, but if you’re siting all day, you’re not doing your posture or your health any favours.
So, whatever your posture is, it’s important you move in and out of it as often as possible! I’ve designed this circuit to help do exactly that. Try this workout from your home, or your office, to break up long periods of sedentary time.
Body Weight Circuit for Posture
This workout will focus on a full body movements to complement poor posture. By combining common exercise movements with daily tasks, such as a squat with rotation, these exercises are both functional and transferable to the everyday demands on your body. We will open up the chest and shoulders, strengthen the core and posterior chain, and get your blood pumping for a great workout break while we work from home.
Try these five exercises in a circuit, and do 4 rounds of each:
1. Bum Tap Squats x 60 seconds
Targets: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Trunk/Core. It’s also a great exercise for mobility in the hips, knees, and ankles … This is an all-rounder!
Instructions: Standing with your feet hip width, roughly 10cm in front of a chair or bench (knee height). Reach your arms out in front of you. Next, lower down into a squat, barely tapping your bum onto the bench, and come back up. Tapping a bench helps ensure you use your glutes and hips, as well as a consistent depth for your squats throughout the reps.
2. Wall Angels x 10
Targets: Upper back… Pretty much all of the muscles that are usually crouched over a computer screen, or steering wheel, or kitchen counter, or your kids.
Instructions: Stand against the wall (feet 5-10cm away from the wall). Keep your knees soft and your hips, shoulders, and head against the wall (you can take your head off if it’s too uncomfortable). Keep your abs pulled in and don’t let the ribs flare out. Your lower back should be slightly curved off the wall, but the rest of the spine should lie flat on the wall. Reach both arms up into a “Y” position against the wall, then down into a “W” position. Abs pulled in, spine on the wall, and squeeze between the shoulder blades in the “W” position. You should feel a significant amount of work being done by the entire back side of the upper body.
3. Incline Push Up x 10
Targets: Chest, Triceps, Core, as well as mobility through the upper back.
Instructions: Push-ups do not have to be from the floor! Choose a solid, stable surface (staircase, bench, kitchen counter – just make sure it’s not slippery) that is approximately hip height. As you lower into the push-up, squeeze the shoulder blades together into retraction; keep shoulders down away from your ears. As you push up, fully extend through the elbows and hold for 1 second. If that is too difficult, you can modify and do these on the wall at shoulder height until they are easier.
4. Split Squat with Rotation x 10 each side
Targets: Lower body, core, rotational mobility, balance, coordination
Instructions: SPLIT SQUAT: Start with one foot in front of you and one foot behind you, keeping them roughly hip width apart. Put your fingers behind your ears and keep your elbows wide. Maintain an upright posture and slowly lower down into a split squat. Both knees should come into about a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position. Your back knee does not have to touch the floor but try to lower down as far as you can push yourself back up without assistance. ADD ROTATION: Same as a regular split squat, and now you are going to rotate the upper body towards the front leg. Rotate as you go down and turn back to centre as you come up. It should look nice and fluid.
5. Quadruped Opposition x 10 each side
Targets: Core, balance, shoulder strength, posterior chain
Instructions: Starting on all 4’s in a neutral spine, raise opposite arm and leg straight out from the spine. Keep the raised limbs straight, lower to the ground to tap, then raise again. Try to maintain a neutral spine, with no trunk movement as your move the limbs. Repeat x 10, then change sides.
Keeping active at home
Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay active. Exercise Right at Home provides resources and free exercise videos (created by university-qualified exercise professionals) to help you exercise safely at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by Joanna Zervas. Joanna is a Perth-based Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Balanced Posture Online.