Bad and good posture (part 2)

Bad and good posture (part 2)

Last week I gave you some body awareness cues for posture. Today, a strategic approach to stretching and strengthening for posture. The diagram illustrates well the muscle imbalance typical of bad posture. Rounded shoulders for example are the result of pec’s (chest muscles) being too tight and upper back muscles being too weak. To restore balance we have to stretch the pectoral muscles and strengthen the upper back muscles. Logical. The weakness in the mid section can be improved by strengthening the abdominals and stretching the lower back. Starting to get the picture? Bad upper body posture causes compression in the lower back, pelvic region and hip joints which promotes tight hip flexors and weak gluteal (butt) muscles which in turn causes tight hamstrings (back of thigh)and weak quadriceps (front of thigh). I don’t need to tell you what you have to do. Stretch the hip flexors, tighten the …

Here then is a basic blueprint for posture proactivity; being proactive about achieving good posture. (It’s a new term I made up especially for you.) The strategy is simple. We are going to strengthen the upper back, abdominal, butt and quadriceps muscles, and stretch the pectoral, lower back, hip flexor and hamstring muscles (check diagram) to improve muscle balance and right posture. As your present posture may be the result of 20, 30 or 40 years of unconscious habit, (oh my!), we can’t expect things to change overnight. But, any change is an improvement, and where posture is concerned, even small improvements are very beneficial. So practise, practise, practise and don’t give up. Before you start , don’t forget the body awareness cues: relax your shoulders, pull in your belly button, feel your feet on the ground and gently drop your chin towards your chin. Get to it! For a few exercise ideas go to and click on photos exercises.

In the gym :
  1. seated rows /lat pulldowns and back extensions (lying on floor or other).
  2. ball squats/ regular squats/ leg press
  3. ab’s : ask your gym trainer; work transverse, oblique, upper + lower ab’s,
  4. stretch lower back and hamstrings thoroughly; do hip extensions – don’t skip this part!


At home : (Good technique makes all the difference! Take a class, get a trainer)
  1. rows with elastic or free weights, back extensions
  2. ball squats, chair squats against the wall, free standing squats
  3. ab’s: scoops, crunches, sit-ups, ball curls, leg lifts, side bends, obliques
  4. stretch lower back and hamstrings thoroughly; do hip extensions – don’t skip this part! Buy a book for stretching and training ideas.


At home for older or more fragile, for stiffness, for injury or illness recovery :

Try my DVD’s… with also a 15 minutes DVD exercise program using the chair available for purchase from my website at

Yoga is great for posture. Take a class and develop a home practice … you’ll stay supple and straight forever – if you start and don’t stop. Make sure you choose an experienced teacher and take a class at your level. Yoga is good for guys too.

Don’t let November get you down. Stay active and focus on the good things in life. That in itself is uplifting. Maybe if we all sing “Let the Sun Shine In” we can produce a collective result of sunniness. Toodaloo.

About The Author


Lisa McLellan founded Age Smart Fitness in 2006. Age Smart Fitness is dedicated to the health, fitness and mental well-being of people age 40 and over.


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