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Fix Your Lower Back Pain: From Posture to Strength

Written by orlan52

“Stop slouching.”

“Sit up straight.”

“Your posture is just horrendous.”

 

Posture bullies are the worst, aren’t they?

 

 

Chances are your mom was the biggest posture bully of all. And chances are your reaction was to want to tell her to f-off (even though deep down you knew she was right because bad posture isn’t attractive).

 

Beyond aesthetics, poor posture can also lead to chronic pain, most commonly lower back pain. Thus, improving your posture is a great first step in eliminating that pain.

 

Is it even possible to fix my posture? It has been ingrained into me for decades.

 

Indeed, the thought of fixing your posture can feel daunting—like a lot of mental work to re-program your body and brain. Maybe you have tried it a couple of times. You thought about it for a few days or a week, but then it just seemed easier to return to what was.

 

But what if you added it to your gym routine? Maybe the commitment would seem less daunting if it were built right into your program.

 

Below are some postural exercises you can do at the gym.

 

Improve Your Posture with the Straight Jacket Sit

Sit up straight with your body at a 90-degree angle and legs fully extended, with your feet in dorsiflexion. Get as long as possible in your spine and cross your arms over your chest. Look straight forward with a neutral head and neck (ensure you don’t have a forward head tilt).

 

  • Spend three minutes in warm-up sitting as still and perfectly as possible.

 

You might feel your lower back, your shoulder blades or your neck start to ache. Push through this. The more you practice this position, the more this will start to feel normal and comfortable.

 

 

A demonstration of the straightjacket sit.

 

Improve Your Posture with the Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Sit up straight on a bench or box with your hands on your thighs. Press your shoulders down and keep your head and chin level. Then slowly pull your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for a few seconds.

 

  • Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps as a warm-up or during your cool down.

 

Of course, another cause of lower back pain is simply that it’s weak. So, it goes without saying, another way to improve this is through strengthening your lower back. The following exercises will help you do just that.

 

Improve Your Posture with Supermans and Superman Holds

  • Perform 3-5 sets of 15-20 Supermans plus a 20-second Superman hold.

 

 

Improve Your Posture with Double Kettlebell RDLs

These are great for the lower back because they cause you to be under tension the whole time, as opposed to a barbell deadlift, where your lower back essentially relaxes at the bottom—meaning your lower back has to work extra hard on these.

 

  • Perform 3-5 sets of 8-12 double kettlebell RDLs.

 

 

Improve Your Posture with Plank Variations

If you think regular planks are easy, try these two plank variations.

 

GHD Plank:

 

  • Perform 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off x 5-10 sets.

 

 

Banded Plank:

 

  • Perform 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off x 5-10 sets.

 

 

Corrective Exercises for Chronic Sitters

Check out this Breaking Muscle article that outlines various postural exercises for those of us who spend a ton of time sitting.

 

Two other fun quick tips better posture:

 

  1. Try to stand taller than everyone else when you’re in line at the grocery store.
  2. Move your rearview mirror a little higher than normal so you’re forced to sit tall as you drive.



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orlan52

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