It is very likely that none of the exercises you are currently doing in the gym will help your posture. And here’s why. This includes all the common gym exercises recommended on popular blogs and sites – rows, face pulls, etc. The good news is you can turn these exercises and any other you do into a posture exercise by following these steps:
Step 1: Learn these 2 exercises
- Pelvic tilt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JViY56JPk0
- Chin-to-Throat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHo4acbC30g
Do these exercises on their own to begin. Spend about 15-30 minutes a day one week. Be sure to use the videos for reference. Once you understand the movements completely as presented in the video, use the audio track as a guide to learn the cues yourself. The goal of this first week is to gain proprioceptive awareness. Continuing to work on these motions three days a week will strengthen your range of motion and strength of the Kinetic Chain required to complete the exercises. If you have poor posture then the solution lies in developing proprioceptive awareness of the deep intrinsic muscles that control our posture.
Step 2: Apply Pelvic Tilt & Chin-to-Throat
Once you complete this first week, you should have a basic understanding of Pelvic Tilt and Chin-to-Throat that you can apply in the gym. The trick is to do all of your gym exercises at an intensity that does not break your ability to sustain Pelvic Tilt or Chin-to-Throat. Every time you do a gym exercise, lock in Pelvic Tilt and Chin-to-Throat for the duration of the exercise. This will require one slowing down and applying the Triple-3 Count breathing pattern.
It will also likely require that you temporarily decrease the weight. It may feel like a “loss of strength” but this is only because your body isn’t using its old compensatory strategies to move the weight. The difference between your old weight is a measure of how much you were “cheating”. Just remember, the “loss” is only temporary. Once you have a stronger base, you’ll be back to your old numbers.
You will have to lower the weight on every exercise to the point where you do not break your Pelvic Tilt and Chin-to-Throat control. When you break form, do not push past it. Your reps will also likely reduce because the effort to maintain base is more fatiguing than the work reps. Again, this is only temporary.
That’s it! In just two steps, you can turn any gym exercise into a posture exercise, assuming you are doing them correctly. Although these two exercises may not seem like they are working your rounded shoulders, when your pelvis tilts anteriorly, your shoulders, and your neck follow and that rounding is corrected.
- If you do not see results in a month of consistently doing work, you are doing something wrong. If you don’t see results, stop what you are doing and get help.
- In my experience, clients under 35 see real progress after a month and after 3-6 months “lock it in” their new posture. If you stop doing this before at least 3 months you will eventually lose all your progress.
- These two additional exercises are highly recommended to master in order to really help you solidify awareness and strength in your base/kinetic chain.
i. Plank: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIjVfNJbuxY
ii. Reverse Fly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOMWzGRTbyQ