Posture = health. Seriously. Want to crush a new running PR? Improve your posture. Sick of lower back pain when executing a tough WOD? Improve your posture. Want to reduce stress and anxiety for overall wellbeing? You know what's coming... improve your posture.
Fitness Performance and Posture: What You Need to Know
Correct posture is beneficial for everyone but it's even more critical for regular gym-goers and runners. Why? Here are three good reasons:
- Better posture allows you to breathe better, increasing endurance. If you're failing to open the lungs to max capacity through proper posture while running you're deriving yourself of the air you need to operate at optimal rates. By paying attention to posture you'll breathe more efficiently and that my friends, is what PRs are made of.
- Improved posture is vital when executing compound movements. When knocking out compound exercises, like deadlifts, good posture helps you isolate key muscle groups. What's so great about isolating key muscle groups? You can lift heavier without the risk on injury. #FTW.
- Proper posture gets your head in the game. In addition to the obvious physical gains, shifting posture impacts you mentally. Standing tall sets the tone for success. Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy discovered that spending two minutes in a “power pose” (like “Wonder Woman”: hands on hips, elbows cocked wide, legs firmly planted) – changed both psychology and physiology. Pain thresholds increased while stress the hormone cortisol decreased. I don't know about you, but it feels like a worthwhile use of my time.
3 Exercises to Improve Your Posture
Ready to improve your posture? Of course you are! Here are three exercises to do just that. The best part is we've even included a desk option so you can perfect posture on the job!
- Plank. A simple but effective bodyweight exercise, planking strengthens the core (hello, six-pack!) shoulders, arms, and glutes all in one exercise. Here's how to do it right: Rest your weight on your forearms with elbows directly below your shoulders. Engage your core and keep your body as straight as possible (like a plank). Performing the move in front of a mirror will help you perfect your form by spotting any dips or arches in your lower back.
- Supermans. Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Exhale and simultaneously, raise your legs, arms, and chest off the mat, creating an elongated “u” shape with your body. Squeeze your lower back and hold for three seconds breaths and lower back down to complete.
- Mountain pose. The best part about this exercise is that you can do it at your desk. Take a deep breath and roll your shoulders up towards the ceiling. Exhale and roll back to a neutral position. Try to engage your core with each breathing cycle. Imagine someone pouring cold water down your spine to further engage the stretch. This movement may feel a little uncomfortable at first and that’s OK, you’re increasing flexibility and lung capacity.
Did we get you hooked on planking? Try this two week plank challenge!
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