May 17, 2024

Strong Shoulders =Better Posture!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Strengthen your Shoulders!

Strong shoulders improves posture. Start with this Kneeling Reverse Fly exercise:

Begin on your hands and knees. Without weight, lift your right arm straight up to the side of your body. Keep your torso stable and don’t rotate your shoulders or hips. Do 10 reps, then release your right hand back to the floor. Next, lift and lower your left arm. Do 10 reps. When you have mastered correct form without weight, try lifting a small weight. This is an exercise where proper technique and form is paramount, not the amount of weight or even reps. Take your time, go slow and learn the proper movement pattern before progressing.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.


All-in-One Shoulder Stretch

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Shoulder Stretch!

Stretch your shoulders to alleviate upper body muscle tension. Extend your right arm straight up overhead, and then bend your elbow and place your hand behind your head. Next, reach your left hand down and around your body to your low back. Walk both hands toward the center of your back. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders down and back. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then release. Repeat the stretch with your left arm overhead, and your right arm by your low back. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then release. Never stretch into pain.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.


Your Posture: Avoid the Hunch!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Suffering from tight and sore muscles at your desk? Your posture may be to blame! Avoid the hunched over slump by doing 3 daily posture-reset exercises. Begin each by sitting up tall with your core engaged and feet flat on the floor.

Do each of the following exercises daily:

1. Pinch your shoulder blades together, then release. 5 reps.

2. Inhale/Pull your shoulders up to your ears. Exhale/Pull your shoulders down and back. 5 reps.

3. Place both hands behind your head. Pull your elbows wide and pull your shoulders down and back. 5 reps.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.

Feel-Good Shoulder Stretch

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Shoulder Stretch

Tight shoulders from sitting at your desk? Do this stretch every few hours. Reach your right arm straight up overhead. Keeping your torso upright, bend your right elbow and reach your right hand toward your upper back. Hold for 10-30 seconds, or 3 deep breaths. Release. Repeat reach your left arm straight up overhead.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.


Bored with your Ab Exercises? Try this!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Flutter Kicks for Abs!

Bored with your Ab Exercise? Try this!

Lie on your back on the floor. Stabilize your midsection by pulling your belly button in toward your spine and maintaining neutral lumbar position. Lift both legs up off the floor, alternating. Match each lift and lower with an inhale or exhale. Start with 10 reps.

To progress: Lift both legs up off the floor and cross your ankles in a scissor kick.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Stand up Straight!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Stand up straight with strong posture muscles!

Add this pulling exercise into your workout to strengthen your upper back and core muscles. This means you’ll be able to stand up straight, for longer!

Hold an exercise band about shoulder-width apart, with your arms parallel to the floor. Pull your shoulders down and back, and pull your belly button in tight. Begin with the band under slight tension. Inhale, then pull your arms straight out to the side of your body. Exhale, and slowly return to your starting position with your arms in front of your body. Perform 10 times to start.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise. This exercise is not for those with injury or illness concerns.


Ease Neck Tension

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Ear to Shoulder Stretch!

Ease neck and shoulder tension with this simple stretch. Begin standing. Lace your fingers behind your body with both arms straight. Inhale and pull both shoulders down and back. Exhale and gently drop your right ear toward your right shoulder. Inhale and return your starting position. Exhale and gently drop your left ear toward your left shoulder. Exhale, and return to your starting position. Hold each position for 10-30 seconds. Never stretch into pain or discomfort.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.

Posture Stretch

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Front Shoulder and Chest Posture Stretch!

Stretch Break: Stand up. Place both hands behind your head. Pull your shoulders down and back. Next, pull your elbows wide. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Now set your phone alarm to signal in 2 hours for your next Stretch Break!


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

At-the-Computer Stretch

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Stretch your Wrist Extensor Muscles!

Working on a computer all day can leave the muscles of your hands and forearms overworked, tight and sore. Add in a hunched-forward shoulder posture and long hours without a break, and the stress on your wrist extensor muscles only increases. Perform this easy at-your-computer stretch during the day to give your hands a mini-break.

Extend your right arm forward so it is parallel to the floor, with your palm facing down. Gentle curl your fingers in and down feeling a subtle stretch in the top of your forearm. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then release. Repeat with your left arm forward.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

5 Best Gym Exercises to Improve Posture by Julie Mulcahy

Maintaining proper posture during daily activities is very important for reducing muscle fatigue, increasing energy and preventing back pain. Having strong postural muscles to support your spine can reduce the strain on your back from long durations of sitting at a desk.

Try the following 5 exercises to strengthen the middle and lower back muscles as well as neck and arms.

T and Y arm raises on Exercise Ball
Lay on your stomach over a large exercise ball. Your head and neck are off the ball in a neutral position. Toes should be touching the floor. For Y position, arms are overhead with thumbs up, like superman. For T position, arms are out to side like wings of an airplane.  Hold a weight in each hand. Raise arms to the horizontal. Keep your spine level. Do 3 sets 10 repetitions of each T and Y position. Use 0-5 pounds in each hand. 
Standing Upright Rows
Stand in squat position facing cable column pulley system. Hold one pulley in each hand with palms facing each other.  Pulleys should be adjusted to chest level. Contract abdominal muscles and squeeze shoulder blades together as you draw the pulleys toward you. Try 3 sets of 10 repetitions. 
Lie on your stomach and turn your toes under. Bend your elbows and support body weight on feet and forearms. Raise the middle section of your body to a level plank position. Your belly should be off the floor and not sagging so your spine stays straight.  Your bottom should not be higher than your head. Hold this position as long as possible while maintaining proper form, up to a minute. Don’t forget to breathe! An alternative position is to extend elbows and weight-bear through your hands. Do 2-3 sets. 
Lat Pull Machine
Adjust bench so that your feet are touching the floor and knees are under the pad and lean back slightly. Draw belly button in towards spine to tighten abdominal muscles. Pull lat bar toward your upper chest. Repeat 3 sets of 10 reps. 
Overhead Medicine Ball Raise
Lay on floor on your back with knees bent. Keep abdominal muscles contracted as your raise an 8-10 pound medicine ball or dumbbell over head with straight elbows.  Keep belly button pulled in tightly so your spine doesn’t lift off floor. Try 3 sets of 10.

Tip: If your muscles fatigue and you can’t maintain proper positioning do not continue that exercise. For postural exercises, quality is always better than quantity.

Julie Mulcahy M.P.T is a licensed Physical Therapist with over 19 years experience in sports medicine and orthopedics. Julie is also busy mom of 4 children and a marathon runner. She may be reached by email or @PTrunningmomof4 on Twitter.