Mindfullness of your stance is an important part of any pilates routine with posture exercises. It's difficult to say here, just which muscles you need to strengthen to improve your posture, but if you do the Check-Up below, you will have a clearer idea yourself, and can then follow links to those posture exercises or stretches you need.
Some of us seem to have been born with a perfect posture, and the rest of us have to work at it. If you have good spinal alignment and healthy muscles, there’s a good chance you also have a good posture. However, that’s not always the case unfortunately. A healthy spine consists of 4 natural curves – cervical (neck)is curved in, thoracic (upper back)curved out, lumbar (mid back)curved in again and the sacral (lower back)out again - all in good alignment. Unfortunately bad posture = unhealthy spine.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH MUSCLES TO STRETCH? Below, you will find an analysis to help you determine just which muscles are causing your posture difficulty. You'll also keep up to date by receiving our monthly magazine which features useful information on exercises and stretches.
Concerned about your posture? - Test It! - See instructions here in the right hand column
WHAT IS THE CORRECT STANCE? Bend knees slightly; contract tummy muscles & point tailbone down to floor; draw shoulder blades gently down back; head up & back sitting on top of spine. PERFECT!
If however any muscles attached to the spine are tight, your alignment and posture will be affected. Here are 3 examples:
1. Upper Body: We do so much activity requiring arms forward of the body (computer, driving, gardening etc). These activities shorten pectoral (chest) muscles and lengthen back muscles causing problems in the thoracic spine and wreck upper body posture and good alignment.
2. Upper Back & Neck Pain: This then causes a lot of upper back and neck pain. In the worst case scenario, the shoulder blades may drift up your back and a "hump" may form. Another result of this front-of-body activity is tight chest muscles, and as long as they are tight, it is difficult to strengthen the back. So, you need to know about posture exercises which will improve the situation.
3. Inflexibility: If we spend a lot of time sitting, not only do we end up looking as unhappy as this chap does, but hamstring muscles at the back of your legs, shorten and quads (at the front of legs) lengthen which may cause misalignment of the pelvis and back pain. So you need to check out our
pages, for excellent stretching exercises, advice and examples.
Additionally, another posture problem involves the head. It weighs around 5 kilograms (that’s heavy!) If there is weakness in the upper back, the trapezius muscle will be compromised, the head will drift forward out of alignment, and headaches and tension will develop.
Strong muscles hold your skeleton in place giving you good alignment and hence posture, but if there is a weakness in those muscles, your posture will suffer. It's worthwhile doing our FREE Posture Corrector Test to determine just which muscles you need to work on. This will be made available to you when you register for our monthly NEWSLETTER. Pilates exercises and exercise stretches are the best way to achieve a good posture giving you the WOW factor,confidence and comfort.
I'ts an excellent idea to improve core strength, so check the link below to find our best abdominal exercises.