All in the Posture
01 October 2013
A great article that featured in October's edition of Wolverhampton West magazine, by Dave Corfield one of our Personal Trainers.
One of the most overlooked and important factors in looking and feeling fit and healthy is posture. Good posture will make you appear taller, slimmer and more confident.
Modern living has a massive effect on our posture, from slumping over a keyboard all day, to long commutes to work. All these things have a negative effect on the muscles, significantly increasing our chances of injury. Added to this is the fact that most people will work in a ‘front heavy’ way, working the muscles we see in the mirror while neglecting the muscles we can’t (I’m looking at you 18 to 30 year old guys! And I speak from experience). All making matters worse when it comes to standing straight.
Luckily there are two simple steps you can take to guard against poor posture, improve muscle balance and guard against injury.
Step 1: The Strengthener!
Lie face down on a bench that allows you to hold two light dumbbells at arms length beneath you, directly in line with your shoulders. Keeping your dumbbells in line with your shoulders, raise them up to shoulder height into a ‘T’ shape, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. Hold this point for 5 seconds then return, under control to the start point. Keep your gluteal muscles (your bottom) squeezed firm throughout to prevent your lower back from over-working.
The weight you use should allow you to complete 10 to 15 repetitions, stopping when you feel the muscle’s near exhaustion. Do 3 or 4 sets with approximately 60 seconds rest between sets.
It is vital to keep the dumbbells in line with your shoulders for it to be effective and for this reason is is advisable to use a light weight and keep strict form.
The effect of this exercise is to pull the shoulders back, improving scapular stabilisation and act on a ‘balancing; exercise to the popular chest exercises such as bench press and flys.
Step 2: The Stretch!
A fantastic full body stretch; a great way to finish a workout as it relaxes the muscles, improves circulation and encourages oxygen uptake.
Lie on the floor (use a mat if necessary) close to a wall. Swing your legs up the wall and get your hips as close to the wall as possible, ideally getting into a 90 degree position. Straighten your legs as much as possible (stretching the hamstrings) and point your toes towards you (stretching your calves). How, slowly reach backwards with your arms, keeping them as straight as possible, aiming to get your elbows and back of the wrist to the floor (this part of the movement stretches the chest, lats, anterior deltoids and intercostals muscles, opening up the lungs and chest cavity). Hold this position for 60 seconds, taking big deep breaths.
You may find parts of this stretch difficult at first but stay with it, the improvements in posture and shoulder mobility will come with consistency.
Incorporate these two exercises into your routine and before you know it, you’ll have injury proof shoulders and the posture and bearing of a royal guardsman!