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  1. #1
    Registered User GadyLaLa's Avatar
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    6 ways to improve your posture

    Forward head

    The problem: Stiff muscles in the back of your neck

    The fix: Moving only your head, drop your chin down and in toward your sternum while stretching the back of your neck. Hold for a count of five; do this 10 times a day.



    Rounded shoulders

    The problem: Weakness in the middle and lower parts of your trapezius (the large muscle that spans your shoulders and back)

    The fix: Lie facedown on the floor, with each arm at a 90-degree angle in the high-five position. Without changing your elbow angle, raise both arms by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds. That's one rep; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.





    Anterior pelvic tilt

    The problem: Tight hip flexors

    The fix Kneel on your left knee, with your right foot on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Press forward until you feel the stretch in your left hip. Tighten your butt muscles on your left side until you feel the front of your hip stretching comfortably. Reach upward with your left arm and stretch to the right side. Hold for a count of 30 seconds. That's one repetition; do three on each side.



    Elevated shoulder

    The problem: The muscle under your chest (running from your ribs to your shoulder blades) is weak.

    The fix: Sit upright in a chair with your hands next to your hips, palms down on the seat, arms straight. Without moving your arms, push down on the chair until your hips lift up off the seat and your torso rises. Hold for five seconds. That's one repetition; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.



    Pigeon toes


    The problem: Weak glutes (butt muscles)

    The fix: Lie on one side with your knees bent 90 degrees and your heels together. Keeping your hips still, raise your top knee upward, separating your knees like a clamshell. Pause for five seconds, then lower your knee to the starting position. That's one rep. Perform two or three sets of 12 reps on each side daily.



    Duck feet


    The problem: Your oblique muscles and hip flexors are weak.

    The fix: Get into a pushup position with your feet resting on a stability ball. Without rounding your lower back, tuck your knees under your torso, using your feet to roll the ball toward your body, then back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do two or three sets of six to 12 reps daily.
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    Great thread. Being one who works at a computer all day, posture is always a concern for me. I suffered from poor posture for many years and while lifting helped strengthen the muscles, it won't completely cure poor posture. Doing little exercises and stretches like these periodically are extremely useful in reversing the effects of poor posture.
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    Some good tips here...

    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    while lifting helped strengthen the muscles, it won't completely cure poor posture. Doing little exercises and stretches like these periodically are extremely useful in reversing the effects of poor posture.
    Yeah, I've always wondered what effect these "little" exercises and stretches have on the muscle -- obviously you need to overload muscles to build strength, but when it comes to posture, is endurance more important? Or is it the neural connections that need to be improved? These little exercises seem kind of like the "greasing the groove" concept, but for posture rather than strength...
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    I think it is much more about the neural aspect. You have to pretty much relearn basic movements, and that takes a lot of mental focus and practice.
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    Originally Posted by poloralphloren View Post
    Yeah, I've always wondered what effect these "little" exercises and stretches have on the muscle -- obviously you need to overload muscles to build strength, but when it comes to posture, is endurance more important? Or is it the neural connections that need to be improved? These little exercises seem kind of like the "greasing the groove" concept, but for posture rather than strength...
    Well to remove poor posture you need to fix what causes it, and this is generally from the way a person sits and stands. So if a person has been sitting improperly for years the solution to their problem is to start sitting with proper posture. But that can be very difficult for someone who sits for 6+ hours a day and has to focus on doing their job as well. These types of stretches makes sitting with proper posture feel more comfortable and natural so you aren't as likely to return to using poor posture.

    That's just from my own personal experiences.
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    so glad you made this post. pretty sure i have some anterior pelvic tilt. i have been stretching my hip flexors quite a bit lately though.

    can weak glutes also add to the problem?
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    Deadlifts help your posture more than any bodyweight exercise from the OP.
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    Also if u guys enjoyed, respond so it bumps for others
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    Registered User poloralphloren's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kanis999 View Post
    I think it is much more about the neural aspect. You have to pretty much relearn basic movements, and that takes a lot of mental focus and practice.
    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    Well to remove poor posture you need to fix what causes it, and this is generally from the way a person sits and stands. So if a person has been sitting improperly for years the solution to their problem is to start sitting with proper posture. But that can be very difficult for someone who sits for 6+ hours a day and has to focus on doing their job as well. These types of stretches makes sitting with proper posture feel more comfortable and natural so you aren't as likely to return to using poor posture.

    That's just from my own personal experiences.
    Great points here -- yes, posture does seem to be largely affected by, let us say, "habits" of movement... But strength and endurance do come into play too. For almost any problem with shoulder instability, or kyphosis, for example, PT's will universally advise that clients increase "strength" in certain muscles (e.g. rotator cuff, rhomboids, teres minor, serratus anterior, etc.)... And there is much talk of balancing pushes and pulls, upward vs. downward scapular rotation, etc. However, these recommendations are usually given as described by the OP -- frequent sets of light weight and high reps. So I've come to the conclusion that when they say "strength" they really mean muscular endurance, and it's more than just a mind-muscle thing...

    But on the other hand, there do appear to be plenty of people with very little muscle mass, and yet have perfect posture. So I think it's a combination of factors that affect overall posture...

    Originally Posted by DDT11 View Post
    Deadlifts help your posture more than any bodyweight exercise from the OP.
    Deadlifts are fantastic against kyphosis -- strengthening the spine through thoracic extension, etc... I'm not sure if they are as effective for someone with anterior pelvic tilt, although they could certainly help if the lift is done with very careful attention to form. They really won't do a thing for problems with scapular instability however...

    But it comes back to the strength argument -- here is a lift that clearly works strength, and not muscular endurance (unless you do them with high reps I suppose, but they are not typically done like that). So, muscular strength seems to affect the posture equation as well...
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    LIFT HEAVIER NEXT MONTH kanis999's Avatar
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    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=123812871
    Covers all aspects of the problem.
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    Originally Posted by DDT11 View Post
    Deadlifts help your posture more than any bodyweight exercise from the OP.
    Because we can all crack out a set of heavy dead lifts every hour at the office.
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    Originally Posted by DDT11 View Post
    Deadlifts help your posture more than any bodyweight exercise from the OP.
    Yes, and the squat cures cancer.
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    Originally Posted by kanis999 View Post
    Nice link to put in this thread. I've read most of the articles mentioned there, but most seem to discuss techniques for fixing posture without really going into detail on what exactly is going on in the muscle...

    For example, in this article: http://www.floota.com/desk_jockey.html they advise to balance "resting muscle tone" (ahhh, the dreaded "tone" concept!). That makes some sense, since muscles pulling equally in opposite directions would even out to a balanced position... But looking deeper into the tone idea, it seems that the best way to improve it is through heavy weights/low reps. And some people argue that it can't be changed at all. And yet, what is universally recommended is high rep/low intensity exercises? And throughout the day, every day? Will that really improve the tonus of the muscle?

    But on the other hand, isn't posture more about holding a position for a long period of time, rather than muscling through it with great intensity? So based on that concept, muscular endurance would seem to be more important... But that barely affects resting tone, if at all.

    They also discuss the idea that poor posture is due to muscles getting "short/tight" or "long/loose" -- sounds like a flexibility issue for the "short/tight" situation anyway. I think there is little doubt that improving flexibility of certain muscles is guaranteed to help.

    So I guess I'm just wondering which is more important to fix the "long/loose" part -- strength or muscular endurance? If we're really looking to increase resting muscle tone, wouldn't it be better to do exercises as they are traditionally done for bodybuilding, with high reps, low intensity, and not every day/throughout the day?
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    Excellent use of Tommy Pickles in this thread.

    For the 2nd prone T exercise, you can also do this with light dumbbells once you get stronger. Strengthens traps and rear delts and related upper back muscles.
    Last edited by Tyciol; 10-31-2011 at 10:34 AM.
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    Originally Posted by poloralphloren View Post
    But on the other hand, isn't posture more about holding a position for a long period of time, rather than muscling through it with great intensity? So based on that concept, muscular endurance would seem to be more important... But that barely affects resting tone, if at all.
    There are more factors to your body than just endurance and strength.
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    There are more factors to your body than just endurance and strength.
    What "other factors" contribute to posture? What is going on in the muscle tissue itself, re: fiber types, etc.?
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    I don't think I quite understand the exercise to fix duck feet.. Do you have any videos/pictures that show the movement?
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    The other side of the coin is really to forget about posture.
    WHat's important is not the static position or trying to address static position, but to look at movement and how to address movement.

    For instance saying that one has feet pointing out due to muscle weaknesses is really a partial view: what's causing those weaknesses?

    SO, looking at movement (rather than muscles) helps address this

    then being able to test/reassess immediately whether the strategies are working.

    Heck, with the athletes i coach, there have been head forward posture issues not about weak muscles fundamentally, but due to a vision issue - don't deal with that vision issue - the muscle work isn't going to restore optimal function.

    Usually best fix with folks: not about muscle work but about movement control: how well can folks move each joint in it's range of motion without bringing other motions into play? work on improving that - understand visual and vestibular responses too, and life gets sweet.

    work with most folks - there are issues in our movements. they show up pretty clearly in an assessment.

    why movement?
    we're designed to move, so assess in movement;
    movement is also the result of coordinating hi-level systems.
    the nervous system is the highest order system; muscles work under that, so work with the nervous system:
    vision, proprioception, balance
    the rest resets itself.

    at least this is what my colleagues and i have found working with neural performance training with ahtletes.

    mc
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    nice, thx for sharing
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    Fuark, got everything except pigeon toes and elevated shoulder
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    Originally Posted by mc- View Post
    The other side of the coin is really to forget about posture.
    WHat's important is not the static position or trying to address static position, but to look at movement and how to address movement.

    For instance saying that one has feet pointing out due to muscle weaknesses is really a partial view: what's causing those weaknesses?

    SO, looking at movement (rather than muscles) helps address this

    then being able to test/reassess immediately whether the strategies are working.

    Heck, with the athletes i coach, there have been head forward posture issues not about weak muscles fundamentally, but due to a vision issue - don't deal with that vision issue - the muscle work isn't going to restore optimal function.

    Usually best fix with folks: not about muscle work but about movement control: how well can folks move each joint in it's range of motion without bringing other motions into play? work on improving that - understand visual and vestibular responses too, and life gets sweet.

    work with most folks - there are issues in our movements. they show up pretty clearly in an assessment.

    why movement?
    we're designed to move, so assess in movement;
    movement is also the result of coordinating hi-level systems.
    the nervous system is the highest order system; muscles work under that, so work with the nervous system:
    vision, proprioception, balance
    the rest resets itself.

    at least this is what my colleagues and i have found working with neural performance training with ahtletes.

    mc
    Good stuff here, repped. That's pretty much my conclusion -- movements over muscles, when it comes to posture, technique, etc. I was questioning what's going on in the muscle with these kind of exercises earlier in the thread, but I do think it's mostly about practicing the movements. When PT's talk about improving "strength" to correct postural problems, I think they are mainly referring to learning the motion, re-teaching the body to habitually move in a new (and better) way... Giving those muscles the strength and endurance they need, or flexibility if that's more important, helps -- but it's mostly about how you use your body.

    A chiropractor I went to once spoke of "dynamic stability" -- very much in line with what you're saying about focusing on the movements and not on static positioning.
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    Too muscular still

    Originally Posted by poloralphloren View Post
    ... Giving those muscles the strength and endurance they need, or flexibility if that's more important, helps -- but it's mostly about how you use your body.
    nice post
    What I see most of the time has very little to do with weak muscles. Sometimes there's sensory motor amnesia, but rarely real weakness. So ya how does it move and what focus on what will help us move better -- sometimes its the eyes or balance not just muscle. That's the biggie - thinking about the whole systems rather than just one low down the chain

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    i have heard lifting weights by it self can fix ones posture also doing farmers walk can help
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    I have APT and have been working on it for ages now. The exercise you give works very well and I do it in combination with a few others.
    Go big or go home!
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    Originally Posted by ygbodybuilder10 View Post
    i have heard lifting weights by it self can fix ones posture also doing farmers walk can help
    Farmers walks are awesome.

    A couple of things to note: they aren't about posture; they're about movement. Posture is a dividend after the fact.

    Farmers walks also really challenge the vestibular and proprioceptive system - they are beautifully self-correcting as dan john says - especially if one alternates between a suitcase carry on one side and a waiters carry on the other, or walks doing sea saw presses.

    The person is then using load to draw attention to balance and coordination.

    Load to learn.

    alternately tho, without discipline, if we just love the lifts we do, and say we're totally into bench pressing, we will start to see the rounded shoulders, head forward look. Balance. important.

    This is also why there's a big benefit to doing bodyweight work like hand stands and handstand walking - it focuses balance and strength along other planes - especially if focusing on keeping the back straight rather than curved.



    cool eh?

    mc
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    Quick Movement vs static posture Check.

    Originally Posted by Coke_Zero View Post
    I have APT and have been working on it for ages now. The exercise you give works very well and I do it in combination with a few others.
    Just one more thing about active movement work? it's great if this has been "working" but how do you check in terms of improved movement quality? since we don't just stand around.

    Example


    That said, a little joint by joint dynamic mobility work every day - move it move it - goes a long way to regaining one's body.

    A cue all the athletes i work with use is just to regularly imagine as they move creating space between the vertebrae - the more space, the more freedom of movement. likewise at other joints - occasionally working hip circles or shoulder circles in distraction and checking control of range of motion - potent stuff.

    Here's a quick check:
    first, check your "posture" but also do something like just go for a walk for a few paces and see how that feels.
    then,
    if you try a hip circle with the circling leg going in front of the stance leg can you make a full circle in front of that leg, a few times in each direction, while keeping the pelvis still and facing forward? what happens if the speed changes to slower or faster?

    Now check out if you foot tends to turn more outwards say, do the circle again with the foot pointing inwards this time. Different feel to the circle?

    do the other side too, it may feel really different.

    Now check your posture, but more importantly go for another wee walk and note any differences in feeling how you MOVE.

    These are simple but potent ways to help the body remember it can move the leg without having to move the pelvis too - at all speeds. They're active so the brain is learning. Want more challenge? keep a perfect circle and speed with a band on the ankle.

    best

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    Great thread, but you forgot to mention that one has to actually work on maintaining good posture. Simply doing those exercises isn't enough.
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