Are you someone who sits for the majority of the day? Then this article showing the perfect posture workout routine is for you. Whether it is sitting at home, at the office, driving, or just general inactivity, odds are that your body has, over time, adapted to become a very efficient “sitter”. Yes, your body actually gets really good at sitting. How? Well, it turns off certain muscles and over-activates other muscles. And when you then combine this with the fact that most people don’t just sit and instead:
...It leads to a host of problems and imbalances that arise when you’re not sitting.
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And typically, sitting too much is bad for you as it will lead to is more or less the development of the following posture. Where the:
To make matters worse, this posture is often accompanied by a host of asymmetries created by various sitting habits. Which can lead to one side of the body being tighter than the other. And, as a result, create a slight drooping on that one side for example.
Which all in all can lead to tightness and aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, lower back, and other areas. It also makes it difficult to properly execute various exercises in the gym. Let alone comfortably stand and move throughout the day.
But, luckily, there are easy ways to reverse this and prevent it from worsening if you spend the majority of the day sitting.
Because based on the analysis of multiple papers, we know that these various postural patterns created by sitting are simply a result of:
Which, in effect, pull your body into this new posture.
Therefore, to reverse this, I’ll be showing you two quick and easy 5-minute posture workout routines you can do virtually anywhere. These are designed to mobilize these tightened areas, strengthen the weakened muscles, and work on correcting any asymmetries you may have as well.
The first routine will focus primarily on the upper body. While the second routine will focus primarily on the lower body. Both these posture workout routines each consist of 4 exercises. I'll also show you how you can implement them into your day towards the end of the article. But for now, let's jump into the first routine.
As mentioned earlier, this routine will be used to focus on mobilizing and strengthening various parts of the upper body. It will help to correct the imbalances commonly created from excessive sitting.
The first exercise in the posture workout routine we’ll use is over and backs. These can be done with either a band or a towel. This exercise is used to open up and stretch the shortened chest and shoulder muscles that are pulling you forward into this hunched posture. Here's how to perform the exercise:
Start with a wider grip. And over time narrow your grip as your mobility improves.
Need an easier alternative to this? No worries. You can also do the standing chest opener stretch. This is where you simply:
Next, we’re going to move onto the cobra pose in our posture workout routine. This will help stretch out pretty much all the tightened muscles from sitting. This is arguably one of the single best stretches for sitting. Because if you go joint by joint, the entire body is almost completely reversed in this stretch position when compared to a typical sitting posture.
To do it properly and without aggravating your back however, you’ll want to execute the following:
Note that you should not be muscling your way up by pushing your arms into the ground. Instead, your arms should simply be there for guidance and stability as you lengthen.
The next exercise we’ll use here will be used to help correct some of the asymmetries developed from slouching one way when sitting. Sitting this way has caused the muscles in your sides, such as your QL, to tighten up. And commonly droop your body one way as a result. For these, we’ll perform a simple stand and reach:
You’ll probably notice however that one side is tighter than the other. This is a result of your slouching. In which case, you’d want to spend a little more time. And do more reps on that tighter side.
Next, we’re going to move onto strengthening some of the weakened upper body muscles in the posture workout routine. More specifically, the:
To do so, we’ll use wall slides with chin nods:
Note that you should feel a strong contraction in your mid-back as you raise your arms. And as you perform the chin nods, you should feel the muscles in the front of your neck working. This combination of wall slides and chin nods is an effective way to correct both that hunched posture and forward head posture simultaneously. Find the wall slides too difficult to start with? You can perform shoulder W’s like so with the chin nods as an alternative.
Next, it’s time to move onto focusing a little more on the mid and lower body muscles with the second posture workout routine.
To start off though, we’ll work on thoracic or “mid-back” mobility. This gets stiffened from sitting. And this stiffness not only promotes that hunched over posture, but can also cause problems and compensations in the lower back and lower body. To correct this, we’ll use quadruped thoracic rotations:
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Next, we’re going to move onto stretching out the hip flexors. These have become tightened over time and are pulling the pelvis into that anterior pelvic tilt. To do so, we’ll use a simple kneeling hip flexor stretch:
Next, we’re going to move onto a stretch that not only further lengthens the tightened hip flexors, but also helps open up the hips with external rotation. It thus helps address any asymmetries present there to best set us up for success in the strengthening exercise we’ll do next. For these:
You’ll likely notice one side is significantly tighter than the other. This is especially so if you tend to cross your legs quite a bit while sitting. If so, spend a little more time on the tighter side. And if needed, an alternative is to perform this similar stretch but seated with your foot resting on your opposite knee. And again leaning forward by dropping your chest until you feel a stretch.
Lastly, we’ll move onto glute bridges to help awaken and strengthen the glutes. That's because the glutes tend to become inactive and weakened as a result of prolonged sitting. And are now pulling the pelvis into that anterior pelvic tilt. It’s vital that you perform the prior stretches, first, however. That's because research has shown that those tightened muscles we stretched will actually inhibit your glute activation. And make it hard for you to effectively use this exercise.
Now, to perform your glute bridges:
Over time you can then progress to single-leg glute bridges as you get stronger. Doing so can help correct any strength asymmetries you may have in your glutes.
So, here are the two posture correction routines all summarized with rep range and timing guidance for each of the exercises.
Exercise 1: Over-And-Backs (~10-15 slow reps)
Exercise 2: Cobra Pose (~5-10 slow reps with pause at top)
Exercise 3: Stand And Reach (~5-10 reaches each side, pause at end position)
Exercise 4: Wall Slides With Chin Nod (2 sets of 10-15 reps)
Exercise 1: Quadruped Thoracic Rotations (~10 reps each side with pause at top)
Exercise 2: Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (~30-45 second holds each side)
Exercise 3: Pigeon Stretch (~30-45 second holds each side)
Exercise 4: Glute Bridges (2 sets of 10-15 reps with pause at top position)
What about the best way to implement this? Well, there is some research in office workers indicating that for the highest levels of productivity throughout the day, you should take a short break after every 52 minutes of work.
Therefore, a good way to easily incorporate these posture exercise routines is to alternate between each of them after every hour or so of seated work during the day. Regardless though, I’d suggest aiming to perform both of these routines at the very least once a day. And ideally each twice a day if you do sit quite a bit. As it’s the consistency and frequency with these routines that’s key.
But, keep in mind as well though guys, that sitting is just part of the problem. I mean we see similar postural imbalances in those who stand all day as well. The real problem is not taking regular breaks, not being aware of your posture throughout the day, and just not moving enough in general. So focus on improving those aspects, while incorporating the routines mentioned in this video, and you’ll be able to create positive long-lasting changes. And, as a result, look, feel, and perform that much better.
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Hopefully, this daily corrective routine helps you fix that forward head posture! Don’t forget to give me a follow and connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube as well, in order to stay up to date with my content.