Two Excellent Postural Exercises You May Already be Doing - FITNESS PAIN FREE

Two Excellent Postural Exercises You May Already be Doing

When I think of a rehabilitation exercise I usually think of light dumbbells, thera-bands and stability balls.  Don’t get me wrong, I love rehab and it plays an incredibly important role when people get injured.  Rehab exercises should have a place in your routine.  Since you aren’t injured in the first place we’ll call these preventive exercises.

These exercises don’t have to be boring.  In reality, most exercises are actually very much so preventive in nature when they’re done properly.  What am I talking about? 

Take these two exercises for example:

  • The Ring Row
  • The Pushup

When done properly these two exercises can work wonders for your posture and greatly reduce your risk of injury.  Let’s break it down.

The Pushup

1. When you’re in a pushup position, you’re also pretty much in a plank position.  This means that the pushup is an excellent exercise for strengthening the core.  Having adequate core strength is a foundation toward a healthy lower back.

2.When done properly, pushups are an excellent exercise for your serratus anterior.  This muscle plays a large role in the position of your shoulder blade.  If it’s weak or dysfunctional it could lead you to shoulder pain.

3. Lastly, if you keep your chin tucked you’re also strengthening some of the deep cervical musculature important for posture.  Great posture = Less shoulder and neck pain.

The Ring Row

1. When done properly the ring row is a great exercise to strengthen the glute muscles in your hips.  Strong glutes play a large role in keeping the knees pain free as well as keeping the lower back safe.

2. The ring row helps strengthen the shoulder retractors, muscles that are usually weak in patients with poor posture.  Ring rows can help correct a rounded upper back posture, also known as a thoracic kyphosis.

3. Ring rows help to strengthen the deep cervical flexor muscles.  Research shows that these muscles are weak or dysfunctional in those with neck pain.

Now, there only one caveat to these exercises being beneficial for posture and prevention.  They must be done correctly.  Here’s how they’re done.

The Pushup

  1. Assume a Pushup position
  2. Make your body long and flat.  Imagine assuming perfect standing posture and then transferring that posture to the pushup position.
  3. Tuck your chin in, don’t look up.
  4. Press as far away from the ground as you can at the end of every repetition.

The Ring Row

  • Position yourself so that your shoulders are directly underneath of the rings.
  • Plant your feet firmly into the floor and raise your hips up, squeezing your glute muscles firmly.

  • Your body should be flat from your knees to the top of your head.  Again, imagine applying a perfect standing posture to the ring position.  This position should be kept rigid throughout the movement.

  • Tuck your chin in.  Pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth helps recruit some of the deep cervical flexor muscle’s we’re trying to target.  If you’re giving yourself a double chin, you’re doing it right.

  • Pull your shoulders down and back.
  • Row so that the rings touch somewhere between your navel and bottom of your chest.
  • Externally rotate your shoulder so that at the top of the motion your palms are facing up toward your face.

I promise I didn’t fall asleep here

This exercise can also be done in a squat rack without rings

I put pushup variations and ring rows into almost all of my warm-ups for their preventative benefits.

To recap:

  • All exercises are not damaging to the body, regular exercises can actually become preventative in nature.
  • Pushups improve posture and prevent injury by strengthening the core, neck and serratus anterior.
  • Ring rows improve posture and prevent injury by strengthening the glutes, deep cervical flexors and shoulder retractors.
  • You only reap the benefits of these exercises if they’re done correctly.

Remember to keep perfect technique on all other exercises as well.  Even an exercise like a dead lift can be great for improving your posture if done properly.

Try adding pushups and ring rows into your warmup or routine and see if your body thanks you.  That’s it!

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