Let’s face it, the amount of hours we spend sitting down every day is not good for us.
One problem it causes is poor posture.
Having a poor posture is actually bad for several reasons.
It not only looks bad, but research also shows that it affects your mental health negatively and it is bad for your body as it creates excessive stress on bones and joints.
If your posture gets really bad you can experience pain. Sometimes in not so obviously related places.
One cool way to look at your current posture is simply that it is a reflection of how you have spend most of your time.
So if you spend most of the time slouching and in a forward leaned position, then that is the posture you will end up with.
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The thing is that most people usually spend most of their time in a forward leaned position because we so often focus on something in front of us while sitting down, e.g. smartphone, book or computer.
Unless you do something about this it will lead to a hunched posture or a hunchback posture which is really not that aesthetically pleasing.
What happens is that the shoulders rotate forwards and inwards because muscles in your chest tighten from spending so much time in that position. On the other side, the muscles in your upper back lengthen and become weak creating an imbalance.
This also pulls your spine forward, especially if your head is also tilting forward.
Whether you have a hunched posture is easy to identify, just look at yourself in the mirror from the side.
But also if you can answer positively to any of these questions you probably have it to at least to some degree:
Are you often slouching when you are sitting down?
Is your neck starting to protrude forward, while your shoulders are becoming more rounded?
Does your neck often feel sore after a long day of working in front of the computer?
The truth is that most of us can probably answer yes to these questions.
How To Fix Your Hunched Posture
I have been reading a lot of blogs written by physiotherapists lately, and from what I can understand there comes a point where a bad posture is no longer fully reversible.
The terrifying thing is that not an insignificant amount of people have reached this point.
However, by doing some simple exercises it can always become better. Much better.
The way you fix your hunched posture is by strengthening the muscles in your upper back and lengthening the tight muscles in your chest.
Below you will find 5 simple exercises that I believe can benefit you a lot. But if you are willing to spend some money there are also some interesting products that can help you.
Close Grip Row
For this exercise, you will either need to sit at a cable machine or stand while using a resistance band.
If you use a resistance band make sure that you wrap it around a solid, stable item. This item needs to be at chest level. Once you do that, walk back until you feel a good amount of tension in the band. This should be about 3 – 5 feet (1-1.5 m), typically.
To do the exercise, keep your abs tight, back straight, chest out, shoulders back, and head up. Slowly pull your resistance band toward one side of your torso, then the other. Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades as you do. Resist your band slowly until your arms are completely extended. Each set has 15 repetitions, and you should do 3 sets.
While this may fix the problem, the problem will keep coming back unless you continue to have a balanced exercise routine, practice proper ergonomics at work, and become and stay aware of using proper posture throughout your day. When you do this, you can recapture and keep good posture!
Here is a cool video that shows how to use the cable machine.
By the way, I am a big fan of Scott Hermans videos demonstrating exercises. I watched so many of them when I started out lifting weights.
Prone Y Extensions
The Prone Y extension is a great exercise for fixing hunched posture as it helps to strengthen both upper back muscles associated with good posture and lower back extensor muscles, it will stretch out your chest, stretch out your abdomen (which is almost always flexed), and rotate your shoulders to their normal outward position.
To do this exercise, you’ll need to lie flat on the floor. Keep your legs exactly shoulder width apart. Over your head, extend your arms in a “Y”. While lifting your torso off the ground, rotate your shoulders externally.
You’ll know you did this right because your palms will be facing upwards. Maintain this position for anywhere between 5 and 10 seconds. Then slowly lower yourself to the floor again. Do 8 repetitions each set and complete 3 sets.
Here is a cool video showing how to do it.
Foam Rolling Your Upper Back
This is a massage technique that will help you improve your spine’s mobility, as well as help to fix rounded shoulders.
With the foam roller laying across your spine beginning right under your shoulder blades, lay on the floor like you’re about to do crunches. (Knees bent, feet flat on the ground, hands behind your head).
Lift your hips so that they aren’t on the ground, then roll forward.
This should allow the foam roller to travel about an inch down your back. Lower your hips back to the ground.
Repeat this process until the foam roller is almost to your neck, then repeat the process rolling it back down to your shoulders. If you encounter any stiff areas, spend an extra 10 – 15 seconds rolling the foam on that area.
Massage Ball-Assisted Chest Compression
Deep tissue massages using either a massage ball, lacrosse ball, or tennis ball can be a huge help in restoring flexibility to your chest muscles.
Use both hands to press the ball firmly against your chest. Roll it around slowly on one side of your chest first, then the other. You can also put the ball on the floor and roll your chest into it. Massage each side for 30 seconds. Do 3 sets for each side.
Using any wall corner, extend your right arm. Put your right hand against one side of the corner at a 90 degrees angle with the elbow. Then turn your body to the left and lean until you can feel your chest and shoulder stretching.
Ensure that your arm is kept in line with your shoulder while you do the stretch. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds, then repeat with your left side. Do 3 sets for each side.