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The High Performance Journal

This 5 Minute Posture Routine Will Change Your Life

get lean Oct 03, 2023

The High Performance Journal​ - October 3rd 2023


When I was a kid, my body resembled a croissant.

My shoulders rounded forward, my back was hunched over, and I looked like Uncle Fester from the Adams family.

Little did I know that this would affect my confidence in a large way. Our body language makes an impression on others and, most importantly, yourself.

Yet modern life promotes bad posture. Looking at phones, sitting at desks, and sitting on the couch do a number to our muscles over the course of time.

So, as with all things, I worked to fix this part of my life so I'd never have to deal with bad posture ever again and I did but...

Little did I know fixing your posture is NOT what people think it is.

The Myth of "Good Posture"

When people think of posture they think of someone that stands and sits up straight all of the time. While this is nice it's not realistic nor is it necessary.

You see, even though someone gives you the cue to stand up straight you'll do it for a period of time. But after some time you'll always slouch again.

One thing we must understand is that posture is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Due to conditions in the spine, slumping over might even feel better for some people especially older individuals.

One of the best pieces of advice I got about posture is this:

The best posture is the next one you're in. This means switching positions at your desk or when standing.

It also means instead of sitting for 8 hours, move your body around every 15 minutes or so. Adjust yourself. The body responds better to this than to force it to sit straight for hours on end.

What is Good Posture?

According to Dr. Scott Mallozzi, a spine surgeon at UConn Health, having your head centered above your pelvis and your feet is considered proper posture.

Your neck and head shouldn’t be slouching forward or backward ― instead, you should be up straight with your head, pelvis, and feet in alignment.

But how do we get there?

We need to know that posture is both a process (constant movement) as well as a "look". The good thing is that doing the things that make you look like you have good posture is also beneficial to having good posture.

Instead of reminding yourself to stand up straight you want to focus on strengthening specific muscle groups to create that look automatically.

What are those muscle groups? Here they are...

The 5 Best Exercises to Fix Your Posture

#1 - Bar Hangs

Hanging from a bar is one of the most underrated exercises on the planet.

It helps decompress the spine and replace the space that's been lost between your bones, joints, and discs in your back.

They also stretch and strengthen your lats by stretching the muscles in your shoulders and upper back.


How to do bar hangs:

  1. Find a bar to hang from suitable.
  2. Hold the bar with an overhand, slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.
  3. With your arms straight hang from the bar with your body straight and your feet off the floor.
  4. Remain motionless - no swinging or twisting - for the duration of your set.


If you can't hang from a bar use a support at the bottom to place your feet on.

Beginners should start with 20-30 seconds. If you're advanced aim for 1 minute. If you're elite aim for 2 minutes or more.

#2 - Band Dislocates

This exercise helps open up your tight chest and shoulder muscles by relieving tightness in your rotator cuff muscles. This makes them easier to move.

When you have an increased range of motion in your shoulders you allow yourself to unwind from hunched-over forward shoulder rounding.

How to do band dislocates:

  1. Grab the ends of a resistance band with each hand.
  2. Hold the band in front of your waist with your hands 6-8 inches wider the shoulder width apart and your palms towards the floor.
  3. Rotate your arms up and over your head and down to your lower back.
  4. Bring your arms back up over your head down to the front of your waist. This is one rep.

Aim for one set of 6-12 controlled repetitions.

#3 - Facepulls

Facepulls help fix posture by strengthening your back muscles. They help build the rear delts, rhomboids, & rotator cuff muscles while preventing forward shoulder posture.

How to do Facepulls:

  1. Grasp a cable machine or a resistance band with palms facing in.
  2. Pull the rope towards you and engage your shoulders, rolling them back to create a good posture. This is your starting position.
  3. Pull the handles of the attachment straight toward your forehead while activating the muscles in your upper back and traps.
  4. Reverse the movement and slowly extend your arms without allowing your shoulders or chest to roll forward as you extend.


Aim for one set of 6-12 controlled repetitions.

#4 - The Asian Squat Hold

 

If you can't see the tweet then click here for the LinkedIn post. 

The Asian squat hold does a few things all at one time:

It mobilizes your quadricep, hamstring, calf muscles, and hip flexors. It works your core as it needs to be activated to maintain an upright posture in the squat.


How to do the Asian Squat Hold:

  1. Find a stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Drop down into the deepest squat you can muster while keeping your torso upright and heels on the ground.
  3. Hold this position and try to feel your muscles relax.


If you can't do these then follow the instructions in the tweet or LinkedIn post to get yourself into this position.

Aim to hold this for one minute.

#5 - Glute Bridge Holds

 

Glute bridges strengthen the glutes and erector spinae and this helps you keep your posture upright whether you're standing or sitting throughout your day

How to do glute bridges:

  1. Lie on your back with feet flat on the ground and bent knees shoulder width apart.
  2. Slowly raise your hips and squeeze your glutes as if you were trying to crush a quarter with your butt hole.
  3. Avoid arching your back. Allow yourself to go as far as you engage the glutes.
  4. Once you reach the top squeeze the glutes tightly and hold for 5 seconds.
  5. Lower your hips back down. That's one rep.


Aim for one set of 10-15 controlled reps.


TLDR: The 5 Minute Posture Correcting Routine

  1. Bar Hangs
  2. Band Dislocates
  3. Facepulls
  4. Asian Squat Holds
  5. Glute Bridges

Do these in a circuit consistently every day and watch your posture improve.

Voila! You've just fixed your posture, right?


Wait not yet.

You now have a 5-minute routine that you can use daily to help fix your posture but, admittedly, it won't be enough.

If you do this and then go back to sitting in your chair then it won't work. I'm just being honest with you.

It will help when done consistently but if you really want to fix your posture for good you need to focus on the pillars of moving more throughout the day and lifting weights.

Go for more walks and switch between working while sitting or standing.

The habit of having a solid weight-lifting routine like the one in our Lean Body 90 Program has been shown to improve mobility and flexibility just as much as stretching.

This 5 minute sequence will help by targeting the muscles that contribute to better posture but lifting and moving will always be your best bet to fixing these issues for good.

Now it's time for you. Take action on these exercises. Apply them so you can learn faster.

Onwards and upwards 🚀

- Dan

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