Guest post by Dan. Dan is a competitive powerlifter and long-time fitness enthusiast. Over the course of a lifting career of being coached by world champion powerlifters and nationally recognized strength and conditioning coaches, he has developed a philosophy on health and fitness that focuses on practicality, functionality, and enjoyment. He most enjoys advising regular guys who simply want to look, feel, and perform better. Learn more from Dan at his website.

In the health and fitness world, muscle gain and fat loss get the spotlight. We often overlook the role of our body’s natural posture and alignment in our exercise endeavors. This is a huge mistake. First and foremost, postural flaws are rarely simply aesthetic in nature and are often indicative of functional problems that could lead to injury and keep us from our physical pursuits. Additionally, and I’m willing to bet this is of more concern to the readers here at PostMasculine, a jacked up posture can ruin your body language and overshadow the efforts you are putting into your diet and fitness in order to become more attractive to the opposite sex. In this post, I’d like to cover the most common postural flaws that I see in the average guy who spends too much time sitting in front of a screen of some sort and has not been structuring his workouts to counter all that time on his computer or in front of the TV. I’ll also give you some simple movements you can do in between the sets of your workout to help fix these issues.

Issue #1: The Crane Neck

Fix Your PostureThe Problem: If you walk through a doorway and your chin enters long before the rest of you does, you’ve got a Crane Neck. Guys with Crane Neck always look confused and lost. Crane neck often occurs in guys who spend an inordinate amount of time staring at a computer or television screen. Your head should be in alignment with the rest of your body, meaning that the base of your skull should be in a straight line with your upper spine, not sticking forwards.

The Fix: You can do a movement known as Quadruped Chin Tucks to help strengthen the muscles in the rear of your neck to pull your skull back into it’s proper position. In between sets of a lower-body weight lifting exercise, get on all fours and look straight down at the ground. Let gravity pull your head downwards and then use the muscles in the rear of your neck to retract your head back. Hold that position for a count of 5, slowly let your head return to the down position and then repeat, doing 5-6 reps.

 


Issue #2: The Rounded Shoulders

The Problem: This is the typical meat-head posture. Too much benching and anterior shoulder work has left countless gym rats with shoulders that round forward and throw their arms out in front of the body. Functionally, this closes the space in the AC joint of the shoulder and leads to impingement and shoulder pain. Physically, it just makes you look like a douche.

The Fix: The first movement we can do to help with Rounded Shoulders is called the Scapular Pushup. This move can be done in between sets of any exercise. To do it, assume the starting position of a regular pushup. Keeping your elbows locked, push through the ground and move your shoulders forward so that the movement of your shoulder blades (the scapula) causes your body to rise. Return slowly to the starting position, letting your shoulder blades return to their natural position and then repeat, doing 8-10 reps.

The next movement we want to do is Band Pullaparts. I like to pair these in between my pushing exercises, like bench presses or pushups, but they can be done in between lower-body lifts as well. This will require the elastic resistance bands that are found in most gyms, but if you do not have access to those, you can do this movement using a cable machine instead. Using an elastic band, take a grip approximately shoulder width apart and hold the band straight in front of you, elbows straight, palms facing down, and arms perpendicular to the floor. Now simply pull the band apart by moving your arms back into the T-position. Your elbows should stay straight and your hands should move in a semi-circular pattern. Use only your rear deltoids to pull the band apart. Return to the starting position and repeat, doing 10-12 reps.

 


Issue #3: The Sway Back

The Problem: The Sway Back occurs from an issue known as Anterior Pelvic Tilt. Essentially this means that the top of the pelvis is tilted forwards, which leads to an ass-out, chest first posture which makes you look very stiff and unrelaxed. This also gives the impression of a beer belly, even in people who are quite lean.

The Fix: The primary culprit in creating the Sway Back is glute muscles that are not functioning properly. Sitting on our glutes places them in a stretched position for long periods of time, can cause us to not use them efficiently. To fix this problem, a simple movement called the Supine Bridge can help us more consciously activate our glute muscles and bring them back to life. The Supine Bridge can be done in between sets of almost any exercise but I personally like to do them in between sets of squats or deadlifts as it helps me bring my glutes into play more effectively while doing those exercises. To do a Supine Bridge, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet pulled in, as you would while doing a traditional sit-up. Your hands and arms will go flat at your sides. Now, using your glutes, raise your hips until your upper legs are in a straight line with your torso. It is important that you do not let your hamstrings extend the hip and that knee movement is minimized. This will keep the focus on your glutes. At the top, it should feel like you are squeezing your butt cheeks together. Return to the starting position and then repeat, doing 8-10 reps.

 


Putting it All Together

If you can do three sets of each of these exercises two or three times each week, you should be well on your way to clearing up any of the glaring posture problems that have women mistaking you for Quasi Modo. The effort required to do these in between sets when you would normally just be sitting around is very minimal and the payoff is huge.

However, being conscious of these things in your day-to-day life will pay equal, if not higher, dividends. So consciously keep your head back, don’t let your shoulders fall forward, and walk using your glutes. Position yourself at your desk or TV so that you can keep your back straight and your head back. Stand up and take frequent breaks if you work long durations at a desk. Keep your TV or monitor at eye level if at all possible. Make sure that the workout programs you are on are well-designed and evenly balanced or have someone design a quality program for you. The more you can pin point the areas of your day-to-day life that are contributing to any problems you have, the faster and more effective the fixes above will become.

Print Friendly
Tagged with →  

25 Responses to Fix Your Posture

  1. gabe says:

    Would doing stiff leg deadlifts that target the hamstrings/glutes have a similar affect on the
    sway back as the supine bridge?

    • Dan says:

      It would have the same effect in that if you are finishing off strong with your glutes, you are activating them and I highly recommend that but doing the supine bridges is a much more targeted approach since you can isolate the glutes much more effectively. Keep the SLDLs but add these bridges in somewhere in your workout and you have all bases covered.

  2. Jack says:

    Great article, Posture isn’t “sexy” so doesn’t get talked about a lot but it should.

    Personally I’m working on my anterior pelvic tilt and hunched shoulders, thanks Dan!

    If 90% of communication is nonverbal………

    • Ivan says:

      Actually, posture IS sexy – if you have it right.

      But fixing it can prove to be difficult. The problem is, conventional wisdom looks at things in a mechanical way and tries to fix them by adding extra strain. Whereas fixing posture is very often about removing extraneous strain.

      Here’s something I came across recently. A guy asked:
      Why is ‘good posture’ uncomfortable?
      I slouch a lot, although I know I shouldn’t, and the result is frequent lower back pain. So I pose the question, why isn’t good posture more comfortable? I would always sit properly if it were, but slouching on a sofa is just really relaxing. Is there a comfortable way to sit properly? Or a better way to slouch?

      He is having exactly the problem that conventional wisdom creates.

      The truth is, good posture is very comfortable. But you’ll have to think about it in a new way.

    • Ivan says:

      My bad. The link was broken. Click on the Fixed Link.

  3. Shit this article is great! Thanks so much!!!

  4. Pellaeon says:

    That was really helpful.Thanks.

  5. saintvicious says:

    Posture can increase your height or at least make you appear taller, as well as have more confident body language, which should give no reason for anybody to ignore it.

    • Mark says:

      I used to have the crane neck and still have a bit of a sway back, but my posture has improved a LOT in the last five years, and I’m pretty sure I added 1/2 an inch or so to my height.

      • ecko says:

        How exactly does it add height?

        • Mark says:

          Straightens out the spine.

        • Mike says:

          Its like taking a bow and measuring it with the string attached. But when you take the “pressure” or string off the bow releases and is now longer. The same thing with your back. Your pectorals are tight and pulling your shoulders forward causing your back to curve, but remove this problem and straighten out your back while standing and see how much higher your head goes.

          Just like in Hollywood movies when those kids are all trying to see who’s taller they all stand up straight and stiff, same concept.

  6. Arnold says:

    This stuff is so important! I can’t believe I don’t see it everywhere around the net. Thank you so much for writing this!

  7. European lad says:

    I just have one question:

    I am a quiet slim guy and I may even have some posture problems, although I am not sure of it. I feel confortable on the most strange positions.

    But my problem is that I am so thin that my bones are right beneth the skin and as such I can not do abs on the floor as it pains me in the spine, specially right above my asshole.

    Is this normal? I do some 50 abs a days (or did before going insane) on top of my bed. Is this hazzardous?

    Still, why can’t I do abs on the floor due to “spine aches”? What’s up with me?

    Thanks.

  8. Dan says:

    Hey guys thanks for all the positive feedback. I thought this article would resonate with the guys here so I’m glad people are finding it useful.

  9. Guy says:

    so which guy within the issue # 2 the rounded shoulders picture has rounded shoulders they guy in the left, right or both

    • Mark says:

      Left is rounded, right is normal.

      • Guy says:

        The reason I ask is because I want to know if I have a posture problem. The left side of my shoulder looks normal (not rounded), but the right side of shoulder looks rounded.I have shoulder pain on this right side shoulder as well, right side back, and right neck pain. My right side scapula also feels stiff and painful. Is it possible to have bad posture on one side of your body,or is it just something else.

  10. Guy says:

    Anybody have any insights on my prior reply

    • Dan says:

      You can absolutely have issues on just one side of your body. Are you right handed? Do you, or have you, done any activity (sports, manual labor, etc…) that have required you to use your right arm more than your left? I’d wager all these issues you mention are related. I wouldn’t let these problems persist too long.

  11. Michael says:

    Hey, I agree with most other posts. THank you very much for this helpful guide. I will incorporate many of these since they are excellent. Thank you for sharing this invaluable information.

  12. European lad says:

    Hey!? http://postmasculine.com/posture#comment-6423

    Won’t you guys answer me? It’s not as if I’m French or something…

    F’*ing rednecks…

  13. NotRevealingName says:

    One thing to take into consideration for posture is going to a chiropractor. I say this because I’ve been lucky enough to have great posture for nearly all of my life, but experienced some back pain a few months ago after going for a run. As a part of their initial diagnosis, they take x-rays. To my utter surprise, they revealed a mild lumbar scoliosis! This is an unnatural curvature of the spine to the left or right in the lumbar region (google it).

    It was being caused by a misaligned axis bone – a small bone that exists at the base of your skull in the back. If this is not aligned correctly, a myriad of health issues can ensue, like back stiffness did for me.

    Furthermore, without scoliosis, I’m supposed to be half an inch (give or take) taller than I really am!

    I always thought my posture was excellent, and therefore no problem existed. I was wrong. My posture was/is good, but my spine/axis bone was out of alignment, and I had no idea. This was causing my lower back stiffness and pain. After his adjustments, the stiffness went away.

    If you do go to a chiro, keep in mind that it is a long-term healing process, not a quick fix. But I’m sure it can be revealing to you.

    I recommend anyone with posture issues (and especially WITHOUT posture issues) go see a chiropractor immediately. It is maintenance for one of the most important structures in your body – the spine.

    You will be thankful when you turn 80 years of age.

  14. DJ says:

    Thanks for this great article! I agree w/what someone said above: How is this not all over the web? Just had a quick question: I’ve started doing Scapula and Supine pushups/thrusts and I’m just wondering if I’m doing them correctly; for the Scapula, I feel the burning sensation around where my arm meets my shoulder, and then for the Supine, I feel it in my glutes. Are these the right places to be feeling the burn? Thanks a million!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>