The Secret to Reversing Bad PostureJul 06, 2022
Are you slouching over your phone or laptop right now?
(or maybe you are one of the few that are not slouching when reading something, for which I congratulate you!)
But if you are, then do you know what actually happens to your body when you slouch?
Why is it that your posture changes and how can you stop and reverse the process?
Here is a simple explanation:
As we talked previously, posture is dynamic (see article Myth busted: What is the "correct" posture?). And because of this - it adjusts to what you do. So, if you mostly slouch when you sit, your posture will stay "slouched" even when you are standing.
Simply put - you get "stuck" in the positions you stay mostly in. You anatomically change to fit the new posture and with this, your muscles and fascia change accordingly.
For example, when you slouch, your shoulders come forward, your chest closes and your upper back opens. Thus, the space between your shoulders in the front decreases and the space between your shoulders in the back increases. If you stay enough in this position, your upper back muscles (more specifically the trapezius) will naturally elongate while the muscles in the front (more specifically the pectoralis minor) will shorten over time.
How can you stop the process?
Since posture is always a result of your habits and movement patterns, in order to stop your posture from changing you simply need to stop doing the habits that cause the changes.
Here are some examples of habits you might be doing:
- Do you usually slouch on your couch? If yes, this may cause your back to open and your shoulders to come forward. If you stop slouching on the couch, you will no longer exacerbate the situation and you just need to work to reverse what has happened.
- Do you carry your bag on one shoulder mostly? If yes, this loads more weight on one side of your body, causing the muscles on that side to train harder and to tensen more. You may end up with one shoulder tighter or even higher than the other one or even get a bigger disbalance in your spine (possibly also scoliosis).
Interesting fact - one time I had a student in my class that had very strong back muscles on one side of his back, but very weak ones on the other one. We worked on balancing them out through exercises, but it is important in such cases to understand why this happened in the first place.
- When sitting, do you always cross your legs on the same side? This brings disbalance in your lower back and pelvis and may cause pain in the sacroiliac joint on one side. Trying to balance out and cross also on the other side equally or not cross at all allows for the force to be distributed more evenly and doesn't overuse the joints in the area.
There are a lot more habits that may cause you discomfort, you just need to pay close attention to what you are doing and see if you can connect things together. Feel free to drop me a message or book a private session if you want us to discuss these and get personal advice. (book here)
Can I reverse it?
YES! Absolutely! You need two things - change your habits and do appropriate exercises (movement).
Example of how changing your habits can help:
Do you hunch over the laptop? If yes, this may cause your upper back muscles to lengthen and your chest muscles to shorten, getting you stuck in this position. If you stop hunching over the laptop, but instead try to feel an elongation in your spine, you will practice a more balanced position and you will slowly change your posture.
How doing exercises help and what you need to keep in mind:
Movement is always great! Generally, the more you move, the less discomfort you will have in your body. If you want to specifically improve your spine health and fix your posture, you can benefit most from specific types of exercises that target the area you are struggling with. Here are a few things you want to be mindful of:
- Always balance out the sides - same amount of repetitions on both sides
- That means also to balance the antagonist muscles (these are the "opposite muscles" so to say). For example, when you strengthen your back you also want to strengthen your abs and pelvic floor, and vice versa.
- Be consistent. If you do 20 minutes of exercises per week and you slouch for the rest of the week, you aren't going to see a change.
- Check with a professional to get advice for exercises that will help your own body most. All of us are different and will benefit from different exercises.
I will leave you with another quote from Eric Franklin:
"You are good at what you practice. If you practice slouching, you will be great at it!"
Let's practice good posture!
Stay connected with news and updates!
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.