Many people at the gym lift weights, but they don’t have great posture. A lot of us have jobs where we have to sit for several hours a day, which creates some postural problems in our bodies.
One common postural problem people have is known as anterior pelvic tilt. This is the type of posture that can make movements very hard to do, due to an imbalance of muscles in the body. This has a cross effect that you can see in the picture above.
Having good posture is a very important part of lifting weights. So if you’re like me, you’ll want to do as much as possible to fix posture.
Why is this important?
If you have bad posture, you are limiting your workout potential.
You won’t be able to make proper contractions with a hunched back and rounded shoulders. Our body makes the best movements when it’s aligned well.
So how do we go about fixing our posture?
Fixing Your Posture
So like I said, there are many things we can do to fix our posture. Looking back to the picture at the beginning of the article, we need to strengthen what is weak, and stretch what is tight.
Here are 5 of the best things you can do to improve your posture…
1. Strengthen Abdominal Muscles
Strengthening your abdominal muscles is one of the most important things you can do to fix your posture. Yet this is not even close to the only thing you should do.
Many people seem to think that they don’t need to train their abs. They are under the belief that compound movements hit them enough. Yet whilst compound movements do hit your abs, sometimes it’s still not enough.
If you want to improve your posture, I recommend doing some direct abdominal work. Some good exercises you can do to strengthen abdominal muscles are: leg lifts, planks, sit-ups, and hanging leg raises.
PH Pro Tip:
You don’t have to do too many different exercises, just keep it simple and do some direct abdominal work.
2. Strengthen Lower Traps
Now many people who already workout and do back exercises are hitting their lower traps. Because we can’t target a specific section of a muscle, we are always hitting every part.
Doing a workout that hits the trapezius will target the lower, mid, and upper section. But just because we are hitting each section, does not mean they are being trained equally.
When we have too much emphasis on our upper traps, this supports the rounding of the shoulders. This can lead to a hunched over posture. The lower traps help us keep our posture more upright and sturdy.
Sometimes when we exercise we lift too heavy. So heavy that on occasion certain muscles take over other muscles that we are trying to target.
One exercise this happens often with is the deadlift. Next time you are deadlifting, adjust the weight you are using. To the point where you feel it in your lower traps, and not only your legs, arms, and other areas of your back.
Remember, if you aren’t feeling the muscle you are trying to target, then you aren’t targeting it enough.
Two exercises that target the lower traps more are deadlifts and good mornings.
A lot of lower trap exercises may also tighten the lower back, so be sure to stretch it after doing the exercise.
3. Strengthen Hamstrings
It’s common to find people who have weaker hamstrings than they do quads. You may be one of them yourself. That’s because when we sit, it’s easy for our quads to tighten up and become overworked. And our hamstrings can become unbalanced and stretched because of this.
Now squats and leg press are a great way to increase hamstring strength. But if you are a weightlifter or bodybuilder you most likely already do these.
So on top of doing squats and leg press, you may want to consider leg curls. Specifically curls that directly target your hamstrings. It’s best to target them until you have the muscle fired up enough. If you’re on a machine, this should be to the point where you can actually feel the muscle.
Like the deadlift example, when we squat, we may be going too heavy. To the point where we only feel it in our quadriceps, and not our hamstrings. Lowering the weight, as well as adding some direct hamstring work, will definitely help that.
4. Stretch Hip Flexors
Hip flexors are very easy to get tight, especially when we are sitting most of the day. When we sit, our legs are closer to our bodies which creates a tightening of the hips. When standing, our hip flexors become more relaxed.
Yet sometimes we have trained our hip flexors to stay in that position by sitting so much. To the point where sitting less isn’t going to cut it for us.
So what do we do?
Some good stretches we can do to loosen up the hips are: kneeling hip flexor stretch, pigeon pose.
Walking and jogging can also be beneficial to open up the hip flexors. But to see faster results, I recommend stretching the hip flexors. Most importantly though, make sure you unlock your hip flexors if you want to fix your posture.
5. Stretch Your Chest
Sitting hunched over most of the day supports the rounding of the shoulders and a tight chest. It especially tightens up the pec minor I’ve noticed.
Doing a lot of pressing movements is also going to tighten up the chest more. Yet this doesn’t mean we should stop training chest…
Keep doing chest exercises. But make sure to equally train the back, especially the lower traps, like I mentioned before. To compliment this, you should also stretch your chest.
Here are some good chest stretches that you can do: wall stretch, back bend stretch, standing chest expansion, and the lying chest stretch.
Other Things To Keep In Mind to Fix Posture
If these 5 tips simply aren’t enough for you, there are some things you can keep in mind that may also help improve your posture.
One of these things is managing our stress. Stress will naturally tense up our muscles. And tense muscles are a disaster for having good posture.
Try and relax a bit. Take part in some soothing activities. Such as meditation, yoga, foam rolling, and epsom salt baths.
Some things you can take to relax are green tea, zinc and magnesium.
Another important thing you can do is to practice good posture. Slouching all day can cause problems. Even when we are strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight ones.
When you slouch all day it may make it hard for you to even target the muscles you need to strengthen. So it may be beneficial to do some light stretches before lifting first.
PH Pro Tip:
Posture correctors can be a life saver throughout the day if you struggle to keep good posture.
My name is Evan from ekshares and I want to thank James and Sam for letting me write this article for their site. Protein Hunter is a great site that reviews amazing products. So be sure to check out some of the products being reviewed too!
I have another article on why posture is important for workouts life in general. If you want to learn about why else you should change your posture and how it can benefit you, give it a read!
Thanks for reading!