Linda Cusmano has been Personal Training since 1994 and has a strong knowledge base in areas of human kinetics, physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics. Linda has an extensive media list having written for several popular fitness and health magazines as well as appearing on various talk and news shows.
Nobody wants to have a rounded upper back and we all are told at a young age to 'sit up straight' but the problem is most of us who tend to have a slouching posture are guilty only of having lack of strength. Many of us need conditioning to the muscles that help you 'sit up straight'. This lack ofstrength can be painful and cause all sorts of neck and back pains including headaches!
Regular chest stretching done daily is one simple and cost free way of adjusting your poor posture. The pectoral or chest muscle attachments which go to the shoulder area, have a tendency to get tight, in turn pulling the shoulders forward, weakening and overstretching the mid back and rotator cuff muscles which are your mainstay foundation to better posture. The domino effect here is a sore upper back, alignment issues from hips to neck, tension and migraine headaches. Hold this stretch for up to 60 seconds per side and pull only to comfort, never stretch to pain.
In order to alleviate this issue you need to regularly condition those postural muscles which is quick and simple, no heavy weights or bodybuilding involved.The rotator cuff or 'SITS' muscles are located under your shoulder blade, to put it simple. When weak, you can very often see these blades 'wing out'. By doing 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps of simple rotator cuff exercises such as internal and external rotation done with a band. Keep a towel between your elbow and hip and hold it there throughout the exercise to ensure proper form, also ensure you are sitting or standing aligned with your abs engaged (pull belly button into lower back)
Rhomboid squeezes or reverse flies will help strengthen the rhomboids which sit between the left and right shoulder blade. It's a small and controlled movement but very effective.
Perform a 'plank' on your elbows and toes face down, side to a mirror so you can align your body straight. Watch the hips, belly, chest and neck areas for drooping or being too elevated in compensation for being weak. Increase the time you hold this pose as you get better at it and master the form which alone can take months! Having a person spot you can help with form and they can use a stick placed along the back to help you see the areas you need to adjust in order to become level.
It helps to train yourcore in general since this affects the whole body including and especially posture. When you stand up you use your core to align the body above and below it by pulling the belly button into the lower back. Simple exercises like pelvic tucks and low back extensions will take little effort yet do a world of good.
Start with 10-20 reps and increase into the hundreds if you like since these are done with little or no weight bearing.
A combination of these exercises can take as little as 15 minutes twice per week and help you with your every day life and job so it is worth the effort with a result back tenfold. For more exercise tips and diet plans, visit Linda Cusmano's website and browse her workout plans, some of which can be customized just for your body and your goals.