Straightening Up: Progressive Posture Alignment, Part 1

Looking to improve your posture? Week one of this four-part series will help you on your way.

This is week one of a four-week program designed to take you through a progression of corrective exercises to improve your posture. Most of us go through our daily lives battling slouching, uncomfortable work positions, or overall body fatigue. All of this can lead to compensation in posture. Let's work on fixing that.

If you participate, you can expect to experience:

  • Less pain
  • Improved overall posture
  • A much better awareness and understanding of your body and how to achieve and maintain a pain-free existence.

Your program for the next four weeks is: (click on a different week to jump to it)

This process is like peeling back layers of an onion. We are starting at the center of the body and working out to the extremities. But please use your own judgment – this is a generalized program that does not take your individualized needs into account. If an exercise does not seem right for you, just skip it.

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How to Do This Program

Start a weekly log where you write down how you feel on a weekly basis, and rate your pain or tightness on a scale of one to ten, with one being the least pain and ten being the worst.

Do the exercises that I show you on a daily basis in the morning. You want to straighten your body before you go about your day. I will post a new set of exercises for you every week for the next three weeks.

Week One Exercises: Gravity Drop

With your shoes on, stand on the balls of your feet on a stepstool while holding onto a pole or door jam in front of you. Be sure to have your feet straight and hip-width apart. Drop your weight down into your heels and relax your stomach. Your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles need to be in vertical alignment. In other words, they need to stack directly over each other. Stay here for three minutes.

During gravity drop, the muscles that make up the back of your body have to engage to hold you upright. This tug of war between the front of your body and the back of your body will cause your trunk and hips to begin to straighten out.

Week One Exercises: Upper Spinal Floor Twist

Lie on the floor on your side in the fetal position with your knees and hips at ninety degrees. Hold your knees together with your bottom hand, and open up your top arm toward the floor behind you. Be sure to keep your knees stacked and breathe. Hold for one to two minutes on each side.

In this position, we are asking your torso to twist independently of your hips. This will wring out the posture muscles of your spine and torso, leaving you in a more neutral and balanced alignment.

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Week One Exercises: Static Back

Static back, oh, how we love thee! You just feel so good! Simply lie on the floor with your legs on a chair or ottoman and your knees and hips at ninety degrees. Place your arms on the floor at shoulder level with your palms up.

This exercise will allow the muscles of your back and hips to relax. Stay here for five to ten minutes until your body is settled into the floor.

Now, get to work!

Watch weeks 2, 3, and 4 here: