Posture Problems

  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Jan 13, 2011 9:09 PM GMT
    When I'm not actively thinking about it, my natural posture is not that great. My head slouches forward, my shoulders round in, and my back curves. It's not extreme, but more than enough that I notice. I have been trying to do more back at the gym to help build the muscles that may be weak, but what else can I do? Google search doesn't seem to find consistent answers, and I was wondering what some of you guys found worked for you.
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    Jan 14, 2011 8:19 AM GMT
    awareness is the most important issue. I canĀ“t be accurate without seeing you, but normally what you describe is due to a tight chest and weak upper and sometimes mid back muscles. The generic solution is to stretch the front and strengthen the back of the upper body.
  • Jessie_Lee

    Posts: 113

    Jan 14, 2011 10:26 AM GMT
    That's a typical posture problem for people who are constantly seated at work, especially when you use computers. Let's break it down:

    Problem: Head slouches forward
    Cause: Head is usually tilted down towards the desk or leaning forward towards a screen.
    Ways to Solve: Unfortunately there aren't too many exercises you can use to correct this. There is, perhaps, the neck extension exercise where you lay on a bench facing down with your head off the end of the bench. Start with your head tilted down, then apply light resistance (probably using a hand) to the back of your head while you lift your head up.

    Problem: Rounded shoulders
    Cause: Arms constantly out in front of you, cause your chest to be tight and upper back to be loose.
    Ways to Solve: Start putting more emphasis on exercising your upper back (rows, deadlifts, etc.) and stretching the chest.

    Problem: Excessive arching of the lower back.
    Cause: Staying in a seated position for long durations. This causes the hip flexors to become tight and the glutes to weaken, therefore the butt will stick out more when in a standing position with the hip tilting forward. In order for the upper body to remain in an upright position, the body is forced to arch the lower back more, eventually causing excessive stress and tightening of the lower back and weakening of the abdominals.
    Ways to Solve: Stretch the hip flexors and exercise the glutes (butt). Make sure to EMPHASIZE the glutes because with tight hip flexors, the body will compensate the limited range of motion by arching the back rather than utilizing the weak glutes. The function of the glutes is to tilt the hip back to either bring your legs or spine back, while the lower back bends the spine back; they usually work in unison but have completely different functions. You also need to work on the abdominals WITHOUT exercising the hip flexors at the same time. The function of the rectus abdominals and obliques is moving the spine (bending forward, sideways, and rotation), while hip flexors bends the body at the hip. This means when you have to refrain from bending your hip when doing abs exercises like crunches (NOTE: also try not to tilt your head towards your chest as well when doing abs exercises, doing so would encourage the head slouching forward problem). You could try keeping the glutes squeezed throughout the movement to help prevent bending at the hip.


    This is just to breakdown the issue at hand down to basics to help you understand the root cause. There are plenty of exercises for the most part that you can use to help, pick which ever ones you're more comfortable with. Awareness is the key, though.
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Jan 14, 2011 7:36 PM GMT
    Jessie_Lee saidThat's a typical posture problem for people who are constantly seated at work, especially when you use computers. Let's break it down:

    Problem: Head slouches forward
    Cause: Head is usually tilted down towards the desk or leaning forward towards a screen.
    Ways to Solve: Unfortunately there aren't too many exercises you can use to correct this. There is, perhaps, the neck extension exercise where you lay on a bench facing down with your head off the end of the bench. Start with your head tilted down, then apply light resistance (probably using a hand) to the back of your head while you lift your head up.

    Problem: Rounded shoulders
    Cause: Arms constantly out in front of you, cause your chest to be tight and upper back to be loose.
    Ways to Solve: Start putting more emphasis on exercising your upper back (rows, deadlifts, etc.) and stretching the chest.

    Problem: Excessive arching of the lower back.
    Cause: Staying in a seated position for long durations. This causes the hip flexors to become tight and the glutes to weaken, therefore the butt will stick out more when in a standing position with the hip tilting forward. In order for the upper body to remain in an upright position, the body is forced to arch the lower back more, eventually causing excessive stress and tightening of the lower back and weakening of the abdominals.
    Ways to Solve: Stretch the hip flexors and exercise the glutes (butt). Make sure to EMPHASIZE the glutes because with tight hip flexors, the body will compensate the limited range of motion by arching the back rather than utilizing the weak glutes. The function of the glutes is to tilt the hip back to either bring your legs or spine back, while the lower back bends the spine back; they usually work in unison but have completely different functions. You also need to work on the abdominals WITHOUT exercising the hip flexors at the same time. The function of the rectus abdominals and obliques is moving the spine (bending forward, sideways, and rotation), while hip flexors bends the body at the hip. This means when you have to refrain from bending your hip when doing abs exercises like crunches (NOTE: also try not to tilt your head towards your chest as well when doing abs exercises, doing so would encourage the head slouching forward problem). You could try keeping the glutes squeezed throughout the movement to help prevent bending at the hip.


    This is just to breakdown the issue at hand down to basics to help you understand the root cause. There are plenty of exercises for the most part that you can use to help, pick which ever ones you're more comfortable with. Awareness is the key, though.


    Thanks for the response. I have already been doing the neck extension exercise you mention, so I guess I will keep going forward with that one. I have also been emphasizing back strength so I will keep going with that. My chest probably still is tight I guess I should be working more on stretching the chest than I am currently. And my hip flexors are indeed very tight so I should work on that too. I find if I sit on the ground with my legs wide apart I can't bend forward at all.
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    Jan 14, 2011 8:04 PM GMT
    A great exercise is to do Face Pulls. These really help work the often neglected rear deltoids. These can really help bring your shoulders back into alignment.

    Also try to do dumbbell fly's with a medium to light weight at the end of a workout. Really emphasize feeling the shoulder blades squeeze, and feel the stretch in your chest. This can help loosen up the chest so it won't pull forward so much.

    Try to balance your workouts by doing a back exercise first, and then a chest, and so on. This way you'll put more energy into the back, while still working the chest and over time should help you find a balance between your front and rear chain.

    I'd suggest avoiding doing body part specific workouts, as that has helped to alleviate many of my postural issues.
  • Jessie_Lee

    Posts: 113

    Jan 14, 2011 8:15 PM GMT
    allatonce saidThanks for the response. I have already been doing the neck extension exercise you mention, so I guess I will keep going forward with that one. I have also been emphasizing back strength so I will keep going with that. My chest probably still is tight I guess I should be working more on stretching the chest than I am currently. And my hip flexors are indeed very tight so I should work on that too. I find if I sit on the ground with my legs wide apart I can't bend forward at all.

    Not being able to bend forward while sitting on the ground with legs out, that's another posture problem from sitting in a chair. Tight hamstrings (muscle located on the back of the thighs) is cause by leaving your legs in a bent position for long durations, usually while sitting in a chair. The hamstrings crosses over both the hip and knee joints, so if they're tight, you'll have difficulty getting the full range of motion at the hip while your knees are straight or straightening your legs while holding your knees to your chest. Gotta stretch your hamstrings.
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    Jan 14, 2011 8:26 PM GMT
    Stand on your head and/or your hands against a wall.. moment you get up, you;ll see your posture is all straightened out
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    Jan 14, 2011 8:37 PM GMT
    Jessie_Lee said
    allatonce saidThanks for the response. I have already been doing the neck extension exercise you mention, so I guess I will keep going forward with that one. I have also been emphasizing back strength so I will keep going with that. My chest probably still is tight I guess I should be working more on stretching the chest than I am currently. And my hip flexors are indeed very tight so I should work on that too. I find if I sit on the ground with my legs wide apart I can't bend forward at all.

    Not being able to bend forward while sitting on the ground with legs out, that's another posture problem from sitting in a chair. Tight hamstrings (muscle located on the back of the thighs) is cause by leaving your legs in a bent position for long durations, usually while sitting in a chair. The hamstrings crosses over both the hip and knee joints, so if they're tight, you'll have difficulty getting the full range of motion at the hip while your knees are straight or straightening your legs while holding your knees to your chest. Gotta stretch your hamstrings.


    So true! I'm usually sitting, reading, studying and after missing a week of gym and not stretching it hurts like hell to stretch my hamstrings while straightening my legs ... hey Jessie, man I admire your knowledge, pretty cool and right on point from an anatomical point of view icon_smile.gif ... you probably don't need me to say that cause you know, but pretty cool
  • Jessie_Lee

    Posts: 113

    Jan 14, 2011 8:42 PM GMT
    davebos saidSo true! I'm usually sitting, reading, studying and after missing a week of gym and not stretching it hurts like hell to stretch my hamstrings while straightening my legs ... hey Jessie, man I admire your knowledge, pretty cool and right on point from an anatomical point of view icon_smile.gif ... you probably don't need me to say that cause you know, but pretty cool

    Thanks.icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 15, 2011 4:19 AM GMT
    i have had bad posture forever. not using a large pillow helps if you sleep on your back (to get your head up straight). mainly if i pull my shoulders back it straightens out over time but sometimes i go back to bad posture accidentally. you just have to keep catching yourself and straightening your shoulders and the muscles will reset to the new position after awhile.
  • DiggityD2713

    Posts: 9

    Feb 15, 2011 7:29 PM GMT
    Yeah kudos to Jessie I have been following your advice for only a week and it has helped my back pain a lot. You are a wise man
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    Feb 16, 2011 9:02 AM GMT
    Matty_WIP said

    I'd suggest avoiding doing body part specific workouts, as that has helped to alleviate many of my postural issues.


    I have similar problems and am interested to know what sort of body part specific workouts you used to do and how have you changed your workouts as you have a great physique Matty? I was always told I needed to do body part specific workouts to try and gain muscle on my small frame?
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    Feb 16, 2011 9:13 PM GMT
    I used to have the same problem, my family, friends or just random people would point out the fact that I had to correct my posture. It really bothered me but I didnt think of it much, I just starting working out and Im guessing it corrected by itself cause nobody's mentioned it again.

    If you workout while keeping a proper form, your overall posture will get better and better. Form over ANYTHING ELSE is what's gonna help you the most. Unfortunately you might not notice that your form isnt right while youre training so try to workout in front of a mirror or with a friend honest enough to tell you to stop and do it right.

    good luck!
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Feb 17, 2011 12:17 AM GMT
    charlitos saidI used to have the same problem, my family, friends or just random people would point out the fact that I had to correct my posture. It really bothered me but I didnt think of it much, I just starting working out and Im guessing it corrected by itself cause nobody's mentioned it again.

    If you workout while keeping a proper form, your overall posture will get better and better. Form over ANYTHING ELSE is what's gonna help you the most. Unfortunately you might not notice that your form isnt right while youre training so try to workout in front of a mirror or with a friend honest enough to tell you to stop and do it right.

    good luck!


    Thanks! Ya I've really been focusing a lot more on form recently. I used to do the stupid mistake of focusing on the weight and number of reps instead of proper form.