STRENGTHEN USING POSTURE MEDIC
By not maintaining proper posture, we do not engage the key neck and upper back muscles that are necessary for holding your posture — shoulders back, neck upright, and an S–curve to your spine. These strengthening exercises have been specifically designed to target those key muscles and to engage them. You may find some exercises harder than others. Those are the muscles that are the weakest and will require more training. Do as much as you can and build up towards doing more reps.
We recommend doing each of these exercises for 1 set of 15 reps, once per day for the first week, 2 sets of 15 reps, twice daily for the second week, and building up to 3 sets of 15 reps every other day by week 3 or 4.
Strengthen #1 — Isometric Chin Tuck
- In sitting, hold the Posture Medic out in front of you by the handles – shoulder width apart. Have the legs bent and feet hip distance apart on the ground.
- Raise your arms overhead to rest the stabilizer on the back of your head.
- With your palms facing each other, pull the hands forward with the elbows bent at your side until the Posture Medic is secure and there is resistance on the band and it is trying to pull the head forward. Instead of allowing your head to move, keep your head still in a neutral position for a 5-second isometric contraction. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the deep cervical flexors (front of the neck) and stretch the back of the neck. Having strong neck flexors can prevent a forward head posture which then leads to muscle imbalances, pain, and spine dysfunction.
- After 5-seconds, release your pull on the band to rest.
- Perform 10 repetitions.
- Keep your elbows in front of you near your chest as opposed to outward.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and down away from the ears.
- Keep in mind this exercise may also be performed standing.
Strengthen #2 — 1-arm Scapular Depression
- Stand with one handle of the Posture Medic around your right shoulder like it’s a backpack strap so the stabilizer is under the armpit. Have the feet hip distance apart.
- Hold the other handle in your right hand with your right arm straight at your side.
- Press your right hand toward the ground against the resistance of the Posture Medic band. Your right shoulder should drop down and move away from your ear. This is essentially the opposite of a shrug.
- Then, relax as you allow the right shoulder to raise back up to a natural position.
- Perform 12 repetitions. This exercise primarily strengthens the latissimus dorsi muscles in the back, but it also strengthens the serratus anterior, pecs, and traps.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Pretend as though there is a pencil underneath your armpit that you’re squeezing for better lat engagement.
- Avoid flexing the elbow as this is not a bicep or tricep exercise. Instead, the movement should be initiated from the shoulder blade and back region.
Strengthen #3 — Pull-apart
- Begin with the feet hip distance apart. Hold the Posture Medic handles in each hand.
- Hold the Posture Medic out in front of you at shoulder height with the palms facing in toward each other.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and spread your arms apart and out into a “T” position at shoulder height.
- Hold for a second before slowly returning the arms to the starting position. This exercise strengthens the posterior deltoids (which are also called the rear delts) as well as the rhomboids and traps which stabilize the scapula.
- Perform 15 repetitions.
- Be sure to keep your wrists straight and in a neutral position and keep your elbows straight. The focus of this exercise should be on the shoulder muscles instead of the wrists or elbows.
- If you have any shoulder discomfort, you can alternatively perform this exercise with the palms up in a supinated position.
- This exercise can also be performed sitting in a chair.
Strengthen #4 — Bent Over Row
- Sit in a chair with both legs bent and place the stabilizer of the Posture Medic underneath both feet so the handles are on the outside of each foot.
- Hold a handle in each hand with the palms facing in and stay bent forward at about a 45-degree angle.
- Have both arms straight down, perpendicular to the ground with the elbows straight.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows as you pull the handles up and back for a row motion.
- Hold for one second and then relax as you slowly return to the starting position.
- Perform 20 repetitions. This exercise strengthens the rhomboids, mid and lower traps, latissimus dorsi, and arms.
- Keep your gaze down at your feet so that your cervical spine remains in a neutral position.
- Pretend as though you’re squeezing a penny between your shoulder blades.
- This exercise may alternatively be performed standing in a bent over position.
Strengthen #5 — “W”
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart and both arms up in the air at shoulder height with a 90-degree bend in the elbows.
- Squeeze the shoulder blades down and back as you draw your elbows down toward your rib cage or torso. You’re now making a “W” with your arms.
- Hold for 10 seconds before relaxing and returning the arms to the start position.
- Perform for 10 repetitions. This is another great exercise for scapular stabilization.
- Avoid rounding the shoulders during this exercise. Instead, pull them back and push the chest forward the entire time. A good way to understand this movement is to think about trying to put your shoulder blades in your back pockets.
- As you hold for a 10-second isometric contraction, pretend as though there is a towel between the elbows and your torso that you have to squeeze and not let drop to the ground.
- This exercise may alternatively be performed in sitting.
Strengthen #6 — Shoulder External Rotation
- Stand with the feet hip distance apart while holding the Posture Medic handles in each hand.
- Bend the elbows to 90-degrees at your sides with the palms facing in.
- Keep the elbows tucked at your sides as you slowly squeeze your shoulder blades back together and rotate your hands outward so your palms are now facing forward.
- Go as far as you are able to while keeping the elbows tucked at your side. Hold for one second.
- Slowly return the hands to the starting position.
- Perform 15 repetitions. This exercise strengthens some of the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulders. These muscles are crucial for optimal shoulder mechanics.
- Try not to let the elbows float away from your torso. If needed, you can place a towel under each elbow as a reminder to keep the elbows tucked in.
- The shoulders can move better when posture is upright versus rounded, so remain in a tall, upright posture the entire time.
- You can alternatively do this exercise in sitting.