Every day activities like sitting at a desk, driving and using smartphones often result in bad upper body posture. The muscles in the back that stabilise the shoulder blades get weak and the chest muscles get tight. The result is slouching shoulders, which can lead to neck and shoulder pain over time. These 3 upper body posture exercises help to reverse this.
You’ll need some resistance equipment for these exercises to be effective – see the individual exercise instructions for what to use. For best results, choose a resistance that you can do about 12 -15 repetitions with. Please read these general exercise guidelines before doing the exercises.
You can do these with handweights/dumbells or a barbell. It’s also possible to use a kettlebell, but this isn’t ideal because it means your hands have to be quite close together, which makes the exercise less comfortable and effective.
- Take a hand weight or dumbbell in each hand (or the bar in both hands). Stand with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold the weights so that they are about 6-12 inches apart. If you’re using a bar, place your hands 12 inches apart.
- Bend at your elbows as you bring the weights up, making sure that your shoulders don’t lift up towards your ears.
- When the weights are just below chin height, lower and repeat.
You need to use a weight training bench for this and a handweight/dumbbell or kettlebell.
To work your right side:
- Take the weight in your right hand, then put your left knee on the bench and use your left hand for support.
- Start with your right arm straight, then bend at your elbow as the weight comes up towards your shoulder. Keep the weight close to your body and make sure nothing but your arm is moving.
- Stop when your upper arm is parallel with the floor and lower the weight.
When you have finished on the right, swap your arm and leg positions and repeat on the left.
Seated tube row
You need to have enough hamstring flexibility to sit with your legs and back straight and making a right angle with each other. Skip this exercise if you can’t do so and work on your hamstring flexibility with this challenge. You’ll need an exercise tube or a theraband for this exercise.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended and your back straight.
- Put your tube or band around your feet, then pull the ends of the tube and bend your elbows until your hands are level with your rib cage and your elbows are behind you.
- Reverse the movement and repeat.
Download a posture exercises printable