4 Strength Exercises For Posture

In this day and age…

Most of us are bent over at an office desk for work or staring down at our phones all day - myself included. This causes our shoulders to slump forward and leads to an unhealthy posture.

It's an unfortunate reality.

Plenty of offices are making strides by lowering desks to make their employees sit up in a more upright position, introducing standing desks, or replacing chairs completely with stability balls. While all these steps will help improve bad posture, we all will eventually start to lean forward over a desk or stair down at our phones, causing our shoulders to slump forward all over again. This may sound like I’m being very pessimistic, but I’m here to tell you that there’s a simple solution!

Strength Training already has many documented benefits, such as weight loss, improved strength in muscles and joints and improved energy levels.

While these are also obviously fantastic benefits, I think that improved posture doesn’t get mentioned enough among the benefits of strength training.

Some symptoms of bad posture include; headache, back/neck pain, rounded shoulders, and even muscle fatigue. These are all unpleasant and we want to avoid it as much as possible.

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Other than the causes I mentioned above, poor posture is often a result of a structural imbalance in your body. In this case it's likely a muscle imbalance.

In the case of poor posture, the muscle imbalance is likely caused by weak muscles in the posterior chain.

Some muscles in the posterior chain that could be weak include; glutes, hamstrings, trapezius, erector spinae, and rear deltoids.

Anything in common that you notice with these muscle groups?

That’s right, they all run up and down the backside of your body!

By strengthening these weak muscles, it forces us to correct the structural imbalances our body may have. Strength training demands muscles to work, so by slowly adding resistance to muscles in our posterior chain over time, we will slowly begin to correct our imbalances which will correct our posture.

It is also important to exercise with correct technique.

If done incorrectly, strength training exercises can lead to more pain, which is exactly what we are trying to prevent. Another thing to consider is to not only complete exercises for our posterior chain, we need to have a balanced exercise program that also includes exercises for our core and anterior chain (front of body muscles).

Remember, we want to fix imbalances, not create new ones. If all of this feels somewhat overwhelming, you should consider exercising with someone more experienced or consider consulting with an exercise professional.

In the video at the top of this page, I outline 4 exercises to do for better posture. They are:

1.) Romanian Deadlift

2.) Seated Row

3.) Facepulls

4.) Scapular Retraction Drill

Some other exercises that strengthen your posterior chain and improve your posture include:

  • Squat

  • Glute Bridge

  • Pull Up/Lat Pulldown

  • Barbell/Dumbbell/Cable/TRX Row

  • Band Pull Apart

Some stretches that you can do that as well will help improve your posture include:

  • Standing/Seated Toe Touch

  • Standing Forward Bend

  • Shoulder Rolls

  • Door Frame Chest Stretch

  • Standing/Seated Side Bend

Now that you have the tools you need to improve your posture, good luck and hopefully you’ll be walking tall and pain free, hopefully saving you a few trips to your chiropractor or massage therapist!


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Written by Murray Roberts. Murray is a strength coach at Vagus Fitness. He graduated from Mount Royal University's Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma Program. He has a strong interest in helping those who are 50+ learn the fundamentals of strength training in a safe, progressive and effective manner. You can contact Murray at murray@vagusfitness.com

Kyle Mahadeo