Body Expert advice

Top 5 Techniques To Help Improve UR Body Posture

Leandi Van Zyl

Lead - Sport Science / Strength & Conditioning Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital

5 min read

An important aspect of ensuring our long-term health is good posture. Ensuring that you are holding UR body correctly while moving or stationary can help to alleviate pain, injuries and certain health issues as well. During our everyday movement we get used to poor postural positions. These can cause pain or discomfort when not addressed. So if you are struggling with pain due to bad posture these five techniques will help release tight muscles and strengthen UR weak muscles. Here are a few easy stretches and exercises that can help improve overall body posture.

Stretching and releasing of the chest muscle

While moving around and working in your day-to-day life, the tendency is to slouch your upper back. This causes the chest muscles to become overly tight and which translates the shoulders forward. Releasing or stretching the chest muscles is very important and can help relieve tension in the upper back and neck. This is also an important stretch for fitness enthusiasts who tend to prefer push-ups and bench press to pulling exercises. As seen in the picture there are three different positions by which you can stretch your chest. Just raise your hands a bit higher each time. Each stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds and can be repeated 2 to 3 times.

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Scapular strengthening exercise

The forward bending posture of the upper body can also cause dysfunction in the upper back. Because of the tightness in the chest, the upper back muscles can get lengthened and weak. Here is an effective upper back exercise that can help correct this. Lying down on your stomach, make a ‘W’ with your arms. From this position straighten your arms. When returning to the W position, try squeezing both UR shoulder blades together. Do not arch UR lower back. You can do 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets.


Thoracic mobility

Mobility is when joints and muscles can move freely without any restrictions. The movement of the Thoracic Spine (rib and chest area) that gets restricted from bad posture is extension and rotation. Extension is the ability to straighten the upper back and rotation is rotating your upper body without movement from your lumbar spine. The following mobility drill can help make the thoracic spine move better. The important aspect here is to eliminate lumbar spine movement. Keeping the knees together keeps the movement from the thoracic spine. During this mobility drill the goal is to open the chest up as much as you can. This can be done 10-15 times for 2-3 repetitions. To progress, you can add a light weight in the hand that is on top.


Upper back stretch

Poor posture, an injury or muscle overuse can usually be the cause of upper back pain. Though upper back pain is less common than lower back pain or neck pain, there are many causes for it. One of the causes may be deconditioning which means, you may not be using your muscles correctly. This could easily happen while sitting at UR desk for long hours in the wrong posture. Certain exercises can help strengthen your back and also help improve UR posture. Try this upper back stretch to help correct your posture and also ease the pain. Keeping UR elbows bent, try to push down your upper body as far as possible. A stretch should come over UR upper body and triceps muscles. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2 to 3 times.


Pelvic mobility

The ideal position of our pelvic bone should be neutral. If we sit for long periods of time on the wrong chair, we tend to round our lower back or posterior tilt our pelvis which might cause pain in the lower back. The structures around the pelvis can get tight because of poor posture. This is why the first step to better pelvis posture is pelvic tilts. Once you are able to maintain a neutral pelvic you can start strengthening your core to be able to sustain the posture in a different position. A neutral pelvis is when the lumbar spine is slightly arched but not too much and the pelvis pushing forward or back. Our lumbar spine is made to be stable. This means that a structure is able to maintain a specific position despite forces being placed on it. In order to train lumbar stability we need to do a variety of core exercises. Pelvic Tilts : The main idea is to move only your pelvic bone. Try keeping your hands on your hips to help with navigating your pelvis. The first movement would be to arch your lower back (pushing your buttocks out) and the second would be rounding your lower back (bringing your buttocks in). These exercises can be done 10 times for 2 to 3 sets.

Bad posture can become a habit and cause some muscles to tighten up and others to lengthen and weaken. Releasing the chest muscles and upper trapezius muscles, strengthening your shoulder blade muscles, working on your thoracic mobility and neutral pelvis can help improve UR posture and reduce pain.

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