A couple of weeks ago I wrote an entry on two easy ways to help fix that nasty computer posture that so many people suffer from. That post discussed some activation and stretching techniques for the hips, chest and upper back. Today, I wanted to dive a little bit further into how I help someone regain proper posture.
While the techniques I mentioned a few weeks age are great, they are by no means the end-all-be-all for fixing crappy posture. Increasing tissue quality, through activation/stretching/mobilization is incredibly important, but to really attack poor posture, the antagonistic (opposing) muscles must be strengthened.
One of the best ways to help strengthen the upper back (which helps pull the chest and shoulders open) is to do various rowing type movements. Rows, when done correctly, strengthen the middle and lower trap and rhomboid muscles as well as encourage the scapulae (shoulder blades) to retract and depress (a very good thing).
Here are a few examples of rowing movements:
The important thing with rows is to make sure you are actually pulling with your back. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people use their biceps more than their backs when rowing. An easy way to make sure you’re using your back is to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the end of each rep. I tell clients to “pinch” their spines with their shoulder blades.
Due to the fact that almost everyone struggles with at least a degree of poor posture and rounded shoulders, I never have anyone push horizontally (push ups, bench press) more often then they pull horizontally (rows). I try to keep the ratio of pulling to pushing at least 2:1 or more if needed.
If you’ve been trying out the techniques I mentioned a few weeks ago (and I know some of you have been), start to incorporate rowing movements after them to really get after your poor posture!