“Pull your shoulders back, sit up straight, don’t hunch over.” Does this sound familiar? I know I hear it a lot!! It feels so uncomfortable to do those things. When I think about it I spend so much of my time slumped over on my computer, phone, or sitting down for long periods of time. All of these activities contribute to my rounded shoulders and forward head posture. My back and neck are always sore especially when I wake up in the morning. My muscles think this slumped position as my body’s natural state. This causes increased stress on the shoulders, neck and back and frequent headaches. It also causes your center of gravity to be off which affects other joints in your body.
My massage therapist tells me to do stretches to strengthen my pectorals. Strengthening my pectoral muscles will help keep my shoulders back. After years of having bad posture now is time to work on fixing it! The good news is that bad posture can be fixed! Posture is a habit and now it’s time to break that habit!
I find my exercise resistance bands a great piece of equipment. These bands are portable and I can easily take them with me where ever I go! Choose a resistance that is right for you. Here are a few simple exercises I do a few times a week that have helped improve my posture. Do each exercise 10-15 times a few times a week.
Band Pull Apart
This exercise is one of the most effective exercises for your shoulders. It can be done a couple of ways. Traditionally it is done with palms down. You begin with your arms extended in front of you while holding your band on both sides. Pull your band horizontal until your arms are out to your sides. Keep your shoulders down and back as pull the band apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
The second way you can do this exercise is with your palms up. Doing the pull apart this way you are working your rotator cuff more. Everything else is the exact same.
Band External Rotation
This exercise helps you strengthen the rotator cuff area. Having strength and stability in these muscles is important for keeping your shoulders in place and working properly. When doing this exercise hold the band in both of your hands with your elbows close to your ribs. Your palms should be facing up, Next, open up your arms so you are pulling both hands away from your body, remembering to keep your elbows tucked into your ribs. Squeeze your shoulder blades back. Keep resistance in your band the whole time.
This exercise helps strengthen your biceps, pecs, and abs which helps strengthen your core. For this exercise you sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you with your back straight. Wrap the resistance bands around your feet and hold the hands of the bands. Your palms should be facing each other while you extend your arms straight. Pull your bands back while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your arms should be close to your body. Hold this position for a few seconds before slowly releasing back to starting position.