Monday, April 19, 2010

HomeFitnessStrength Training6 Strength Exercises to Improve Posture

If you suffer from back pain, it may be due to poor posture. Proper posture will allow you to move with more freedom and make you feel more confident. You will also appear slimmer. To improve your stance, you will need to strengthen your core muscles, which include your abs and back. Use these strengthening exercises to help you stand and sit with correct spinal alignment.

1. Plank
The plank will help strengthen your back, abs and neck. Lie face-down on the floor on your forearms. Raise yourself on your toes (in a push-up position) and balance. Keep your abs pulled in and your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax. Do 5 to 10 repetitions.

2. Superman
This exercise will strengthen your back and enhance your flexibility. Lie face down on the floor and extend your arms past your head. Your body should be in a straight line from the tips of your fingers to your toes. Raise your torso, arms and legs at the same time, as though you were trying to fly like Superman. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and then relax. Do 5 to 10 reps.

3. Wall Squats
This is a great exercise to build the muscles in your buttocks, which help to distribute the weight on your spine. Stand with your back against a wall, leaving your heels about 12-18 inches away from the wall. Slowly lower yourself as though you were going to sit in a chair. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle. Be careful to keep your back on the wall as you slide down. Squat for 10 seconds and then slide back up to a standing position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

4. Hip Bridge
The hip bridge will work your abs, butt and back. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Bend your knees at a 90 degree angle. As you keep your feet flat on the floor, contract your butt and abs so that your pelvis lifts up off the floor. Keep your abs tight and relax your neck. Your legs should be doing most of the work. Your body should make a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Hold the pose for 10 seconds. Lower your pelvis back to the floor. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

5. Crunches
Crunches are essential to a strong core and proper posture. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. You can leave your arms straight down at your sides, cross them over your chest, or place your hands behind your head. Contract your abs to pull your shoulders and chest off the floor, and then lower. Do 20 crunches.

6. Reverse Crunches
While regular crunches work the upper ab muscles, reverse crunches will strengthen your lower abs. Lie as you would for crunches. Instead of lifting the top of your body, keep your shoulders on the floor. Contract your abs to pull your knees in towards your chest. Keep your knees at a 90 degree angle, and do not use your leg muscles for momentum. Keep all movement centered in your abs. Lower and repeat 10 times.(

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