Want to look taller and slimmer, and tone your upper body at the same time? Then you need a list of the best exercises for better posture, and my dear, I can help! I’ve stalked my trainer at the gym, read countless fitness magazines, and put together a workout for better posture that works beautifully. Here are the 7 best exercises for better posture… combine them 4 times a week for the best stand-up-straight results!
1. The X Raise
For this exercise for better posture, you’ll need two small hand weights, and an exercise ball. Lie face-down on the ball (with a small weight in each hand) with your belly in the middle of the ball, and your toes on the ground, and your legs a little more than shoulder-width apart. Let your hands rest, hanging down, then slowly raise them so your body makes an “X.” Slowly lower them, then repeat. Try for three sets of 12.
Whether you use a rowing machine at the gym or a row-bar at home, the key to this exercise for better posture is to keep your back straight, and not to lean back while completing the rowing motion. This works best as a posture exercise if you keep your hands shoulder-width apart. Do 2 sets of 15 to 20 “strokes.”
3. Balance Passé
You’ll need a yoga block and a lot of balance to complete this exercise! Stand on the yoga block with your feet together. Slowly bend your left knee (while raising your arms above your head) until your left toe is touching your right ankle; it’s not a deep bend. Hold for fifteen seconds, then slowly lower your arms, and straighten your leg. Repeat so you’ve bent each leg five times. It’s hard not to tip over!
4. Right-Angle Press
For this exercise for better posture, you’ll need a body bar. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the body bar in your hands in front of you. Bend your arms so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, at your sides, with your hands in front of you at about chest-height. Now slowly bring the bar behind your head, keeping your elbows bent at that 90 degrees. This is a lot harder than it sounds, since most of us don’t use these muscles very often! Repeat for 2 sets of 12.
5. The Bridge
This is an exercise I learned in gymnastics as a child, and it still works as an exercise for better posture. Lie flat on your back, with your arms at your sides with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise your hips, letting your legs do the work. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly lower yourself down again. Repeat for 2 sets of 12.
6. Cobra Pose
This traditional yoga pose is another excellent exercise for better posture. The key is to use your back muscles, not your arms, to complete the motion. Lit flat on the floor, face-down, with your toes pointed and your legs together. Keep your elbows bent, palms flat on the floor just below your chest. Exhale and slowly raise your head and chest off the floor, using only your back muscles Keep your hip bones on the floor, and look down to relax your neck muscles. Slowly lower back down. Do 2 sets of 3. That’s right, only 3… this pose isn’t easy! Gradually increase as your lower back gets stronger, and your natural posture improves.
You won’t need any gear to complete this exercise, but wow, is it hard at first! Lie flat on your back with your calves flexed and toes pointed and your arms crossed over your chest. Using your core muscles (not your neck!), slowly “roll” into a sitting position. Imagine you’re lifting one vertebra off the ground at a time, until you’re in a sitting position. Slowly roll back down. Do 2 sets of 12. Wow!
Hey, no more slouching! Now that you can add these moves to your routine a few times a week, you’ll stand straighter and taller, and look slimmer, too! Which of these moves do you like best? Or do you have another exercise for better posture you’d like to share?