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Perfect Your Posture: Essential Home Stretches and Exercises

Updated: Apr 24

“Shoulders down and back!” “Sit up straight!” We’ve heard it all before. But why does good posture feel so hard to achieve? Today, we’re breaking down 4 essential stretches and strength exercises to make moving with good posture a breeze.

Why Strengthening and Stretching Matter for Your Posture

Posture is the position in which you hold your body while standing, sitting, or lying down. Proper posture aligns everything from your head to your toes, creating balance and supporting your body’s natural structure. Poor posture can lead to a variety of ailments, from neck and back pain to compromised breathing. Good posture is not just about standing tall; it's about maintaining the health of your musculoskeletal system, which supports your everyday movements and prevents injury; both of which are vital for health and mobility at every age.

A balanced approach including strengthening and stretching is key for efficent alignment and healthy mobility. For our skeleton to align properly, front-body muscles like our chest, abdominals, and hip flexors must be flexible enough to lengthen, and back-body muscles like the lower traps, spinal extensors, glutes, and hamstrings must be strong enough to hold us upright.

Our 4 essential stretches and exercises help improve posture by:

  • Increasing flexibility and muscular endurance, allowing for the correct alignment of the body.

  • Releasing and lengthening overly short muscles, which can be a significant factor in pulling your body out of alignment.

  • Enhancing range of motion in the joints, aiding in the efficient movement that supports proper posture.

With this foundation, let’s explore two stretches and two strengthening exercises that you can do from the comfort of your home to help improve your posture.

1. Stretches for Better Posture

Cat-Cow Stretch

Benefits: This gentle flow between two poses helps to mobilize the spine, hips, and abdomen, promoting easy mobility and relieving tension in the back and neck.

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your knees directly below your hips and your wrists aligned with your shoulders.

  • As you inhale, arch your spine, tilting your pelvis down, curving your back downward, widening your chest, and looking up. This is the Cow position.

  • As you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling, tucking your tailbone under, and bringing your chin towards your chest. This is the Cat position.

  • Continue to flow smoothly between these positions for 1–2 minutes. 

Thoracic Spine Rotation

Benefits: This stretch promotes movement and flexibility in the upper back, which is crucial for good posture, particularly if you spend long hours sitting.

How to do it:

  • Lay down on your side with the knees bent at 90 degrees and the arms pointing straight out in front of you.

  • Slowly open the top arm up and back, turning your head and chest as the arm opens.

  • Ensure the knees and hips remain stacked, and the rotation happens from the mid and upper back.

  • Be careful not to strain in this position. The arm should not reach the floor.

  • Hold the twist for 5-10 seconds, then slowly return the top arm to the starting position.

  • Perform 2-3 sets of 5 repetitions on each side.

  • (Note: This stretch is not recommended for individuals with osteoporosis.)

2. Strengthening Exercises to Improve Posture

Prone Cobra

Benefits: This exercise strengthens the muscles in your back and shoulders, which are paramount for supporting upright posture.

How to do it:

  • Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms at your sides.

  • Slowly lift your chest and hands off the ground, sliding your shoulder blades together. Imagine the backs of your shoulders upper arms trying to touch one another behind your back.

  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds before slowly lowering back to the starting position. 

  • Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Wall Angels

Benefits: Wall angels are excellent for strengthening the upper back and shoulder muscles, ensuring healthy shoulder mobility and helping to counteract the forward slump.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your back against a flat wall, feet about four inches from the base of the wall. Be sure your ribs, upper back, and back of your head all touch the wall.

  • Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and raise your arms to shoulder height against the wall.

  • Slowly slide your arms upward, maintaining the initial contact with the wall, and then back down.

  • Ensure your mid back and arms remain in contact with the wall throughout the movement.

  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Integrating These Exercises Into Your Routine

For best results, integrate these stretches and exercises into your daily routine. Consistency is key to improving flexibility and strength, thereby enhancing your posture. Start with a few repetitions that feel comfortable and gradually increase the number of repetitions as they begin to feel easier.

Remember, these exercises are not just for those experiencing posture-related problems; they are crucial in preventing posture issues and enhancing overall health and well-being. So take a few minutes each day to stretch and strengthen your body, and you'll see and feel noticeable improvements in your overall health, comfort, and even your productivity.

Want to ensure proper posture for years to come? Keep following our blog for more posture tips, or schedule a complementary Introductory Training Session to work with a professional one-on-one.

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