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Improve Your Posture to Increase Performance and Avoid Injury

Posted Dec 01 2012 8:11pm
The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercise basics.

As well as leading to a number of detrimental health issues, like chronic back, shoulder, neck and knee pain, a poor posture can have a big impact on your exercise performance. While we all know that a bad posture can have a negative effect on our health and well-being, not everyone is familiar with what they can do to improve it. Below are some simple exercise tips that can help you gradually improve your posture and reduce the risk of developing a long-lasting injury.

Strengthen Your Core

In order to effectively adapt and improve your posture, it is important to understand what constitutes ‘correct’ posture. In general terms, good posture is when the body’s muscles and joints align properly – which allows for more efficient movement. When you are not well aligned, the muscles and joints (e.g. shoulders, hips, spine, knees etc…) are not working in unison – which results in some muscles having to work harder than others.

The first step to a good posture starts with strengthening the core, which gives you a strong and solid platform to build on. To do this, you need to focus on the abdominal muscles, obliques, lower back and hips. To get you started, here are some basic core strengthening exercise you can work into your normal routine:

Basic crunches (without sitting fully up) – these help to develop the rectus abdominals
Crunches with twist (alternate the crunch left to right) – these help the abs and obliques
Back extensions 
Side plank – works the obliques

Fix The Hunchback

Once you’ve strengthened your core, you can start tackling the rounded shoulders that have developed thanks to all that slouching at your desk, in the car or while watching TV. This can be rectified by strengthening the weak upper back muscles and stretching the tight muscles in your chest, shoulders, lats and hips
Reverse fly exercise – to help the upper back
Resistance band seated row exercise - more upper back strengthening
Chest stretch
Standing quad stretch

Incorporating the above exercises into your normal exercise/stretching routine will see your rounded shoulders improve over time and create a more efficient posture.

Correct Tilting Hips

One of the signs of a poor posture is tilting hips. To check if you have tilting hips, look in the mirror side-on when you are wearing a belt. Is the belt at the same level all the way around your waist, or is it higher in the back? If it’s not level, then you have tilted hips – which are commonly caused by sitting down with bent legs for too long. Here are some exercises that can help strengthen your hamstrings, glutes and abs to correct tilting hips
Bridges – strengthens the hamstrings and glutes
Swiss ball hamstring curls – works the hamstrings and glutes

Just as a poor posture doesn’t happen overnight, a correct and efficient posture takes time to develop. The above exercise guide will help you gradually strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. To speed the process up, you can also change certain aspects within your daily routine e.g. make sure you sit upright and resist the temptation to slouch at your desk or when driving, get a firmer and more supportive mattress and make a concerted effort to stand more upright.

This is a guest post from Luke Glassford of physio supplies seller Physio-Med .


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