Book Now Menu Back to site

Pilates for posture

23rd April, 2017

Best posture image of stretching

There’s no such thing as the ‘perfect posture’ …  no one set way that we as individuals should all be aiming to stand or sit that’s been scientifically proven to prevent pain.

Indeed, we are all different and just like having blue eyes or brown hair, some people are born with tight hamstrings or a larger curve in their lower back.

The internet and social media are full of exercise programmes to ‘fix your bad posture’. Well, if there are some things we can’t fundamentally change about our bodies, then how do they work?

I think their success is down to getting people to move their bodies more often through a range of different movements, rather than trying to force your body into the ‘perfect’ way to stand or sit.

Your body makes adaptive changes to make the positions you spend most time in feel more comfortable. So if you spend a lot of time slouched at a computer then your upper back, neck and shoulders can become so used to this posture that it may feel uncomfortable to move out of it. So exercises aiming to move the bits of your spine that feel stiff and stretch out the muscles that feel tight will be helpful in restoring comfortable movement in all directions again.

However, the effects of any exercise programme will be short lived unless you also address the cause and incorporate ways of changing position more frequently during the day to maintain the benefits.

Essentially the best posture is your next posture and what that means is your body was designed be on the move. Even if it was possible to establish a ‘perfect’ sitting position, you’re not designed to remain still for long periods of time.

Ideal pilates exercises if you work at a desk

Arm openings

Stretch for better posture - neck and upper back

  • Lie on your side with your hips and knees stacked and both arms out stretched in from of you, palm to palm
  • Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and deep abdominals to about 50% and breathe in to prepare
  • Breathe out and turn your breastbone up towards the ceiling, allowing your arm to follow the movement
  • Breathe in at the end of the movement and stretch through your chest.
  • Breathe out to roll your breastbone back to midline, allowing your arm to follow the movement back again.
  • Repeat 15 times on each side

Swan dive

Strengthening for the upper back, neck and shoulders to support better posture

  • Lie on your front with your arms bent to 90 degrees
  • Tighten your pelvic floor and lower abdominals slightly
  • Breathe out and draw your shoulder blades back gently and hover your breastbone up off the floor
  • Breathe in to lower again
  • Repeat 8 -10 times

Dumb waiter

Shoulder exercise for better posture

  • Hold a resistance band between both hands
  • Breathe out and draw your shoulder blades back to open your hands, pulling on the band
  • Breathe in to relax
  • Repeat 8 -10 times

Cat/ camel

Spine stretch for lower back pain

  • Kneel on all fours.
  • Tighten your pelvic floor and lower abdominals
  • Breathe out and curve your spine, looking at your abdomen and tucking your tailbone under. Hold and breathe in
  • Breathe out and lift your tailbone, drawing your shoulders into the back of your bone, without letting go of your abdominal muscles. Breathe in
  • Repeat 10 times

So forget about postural braces and supports that promise you better posture and alignment … you’re better off moving more frequently, changing position as often as possible, stretching out intermittently and improving your general body fitness.

Don’t hesitate you get in touch if you have any questions at all,

The Pilatesfit Team!