Back posture is important for your overall body alignment, balance, and strength. Standing and sitting with proper posture increases blood flow to your spinal muscles. Proper alignment means healthy blood vessels and nerves in your upper, mid, and lower spine.
Proper back posture also supports your spinal muscles, tissues, tendons, and ligaments. Research shows that over 80% of the American population have lower or upper back pain at some point in their lives. Posture exercises for your upper and lower back can strengthen muscles in your spine, abdomen, shoulder, neck, and legs. Read on!
Half Cobra Pose
It is an excellent exercise that strengthens your lower spine and restores proper alignment. Half cobra pose is also useful for people who spend more time at the office desk or in front of a computer screen.
- Start the stretch by lying on your abdomen
- Prop yourself up on elbows and keep your buttocks on the floor
- Hold the position for 15 seconds before you return to the previous position
- Increase the holding for 30 seconds as you improve your posture
- Do at least ten repetitions every 1-2 days
Plank is one of my favorite exercises to improve spinal strength, abdominal muscles, hips, shoulders, neck, and arms. It is a cardio workout that strengthens your core muscles, reduces discomfort in the upper back, and alleviates pain in the lumbar spine.
- Lie down on your stomach with your arms against the ground or floor
- Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your body
- Rest your body on your toes and forearms
- Hold the position for 30 seconds or more, depending on your strength
- Repeat the exercise 1-2 times or more depending on your stamina
- Keep your spine straight throughout the exercise
Bird dog is a useful exercise that improves your core muscles and lumbar spine. It increases blood flow to your spinal muscles, reduces discomfort, numbness, and pain. Bird dog is useful for people with lower back pain and sciatica.
- Start the exercise on your hand and knees
- Position your hands under your shoulders
- Position your knees under your buttocks
- Raise your right arm and move it forward to align it with your chest
- Kick your left leg back to align it with your chest
- Hold the position for 10 seconds and return to the normal position
- Repeat the exercise with your left arm and right leg
- Perform at least ten repetitions for each side
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
The flexor stretch can lengthen your tightened hip flexors and reduce sciatica symptoms. Sciatica is caused by pain radiating from your lower spine through your hips into the legs. The numbness and pain in your hips and legs can be alleviated with this exercise.
- Start the exercise by kneeling on the floor
- Move your left leg in front and place your foot flat on the mat
- Make sure your knee is over your ankle
- Keep your right knee on the ground and bend it at 90 degrees
- Slide your left foot forward and brace your core
- Squeeze your left gluteal muscles and move your buttocks forward
- Bend your right knee slightly at 90 degrees
- Stay in this position for 10-15 seconds
- Repeat the exercise at least 10-15 times for each side
Standing Pull Apart
Standing pull apart is an excellent posture exercise for your upper back and shoulders. It strengthens your shoulder blades and muscles. Likewise, it maintains a good posture, reduces discomfort, and alleviate pain in the cervical spine.
- Start the exercise in a standing position with good posture
- Hold a resistance band with your hands
- Now, straighten your elbows and move your arms in front
- Lock your elbows and move your arms out slowly behind your body
- Feel contraction between your shoulder blades and muscles
- If you feel pain in your arms or neck, stop the exercise
- Repeat the exercise at least 10-15 times in two sets or more
Neck retraction is beneficial for your neck muscles and upper cervical spine. The exercises focus on your upper cervical extensors, cervical flexors, and suboccipital muscles. If you want to strengthen your neck and upper back, make sure you do this exercise daily.
- Start the exercise in a sitting or standing position
- Keep your chin aligned and paralleled to the floor
- Pull your head backward and stay in this position for 20 seconds
- Repeat the exercise three times to feel a good stretch.
Upper Trapezius Stretch
The exercise keeps your trapezius muscles from tightening and stiffness. It reduces discomfort in your upper back and decreases pain. When doing this exercise, make sure you move in and out of the stretch slowly. Avoid jerky movements or bouncing to improve the results.
- Start the exercise in a standing or sitting position by tilting your head to the right
- Grasp over your head’s top with your right hand to apply force towards the right
- Stay in this position for at least 15-20 second and repeat on the alternate side
- Make sure you do at least 3-5 repetitions on each side
Prolonged sitting can affect your abdominal muscles, spinal tissues, and chest. The doorway exercise is an excellent way to loosen your tight and stiff muscles in these areas. Here is how you can do this exercise. Continue reading!
- Align your hands and elbows with the doorframe
- Move through the door gently to feel a good stretch
- Stay in this position for 20 seconds and return to the normal position
- Repeat this exercise at least 3-5 times
Cat and Cow Stretch
It is one of the famous yoga poses that provide spinal stability, mobility, flexibility, and strength. Not only does this exercise energize your lumbar spine muscles, but it also maintains its right posture.
- Kneel on your feet and hands
- Position your hands under your shoulders
- Keep your knees below your buttocks
- Take a deep breath in and out
- Stay in the position for 3-5 seconds
- Arch your spine slowly while exhaling
- Inhale again and tighten your core muscles while rounding your spine
- Stay in this position for 3-5 seconds and repeat the exercise 10 times
Standing Kitchen Sink
Last but not least, the standing kitchen sink exercise improves your balance, increases your strength, flexibility, endurance, and maintain good back posture. It also helps you sleep adequately at night by increasing blood flow to your brain, releasing melatonin.
- Find a firm surface and hold onto it – for example, a kitchen sink
- Slowly lean back while straightening your elbows
- Learn all your weight behind you and stay in this position for 30 seconds
- Inhale and exhale deeply and relax your muscles
- Repeat the exercise 2-3 times a day
Correct back posture is useful for your overall spine health. It maintains your muscle strength and avoids the risk of complications, such as upper and lower back pain. With these exercises, you can maintain your back posture.