A Four-Move Workout for Better Posture
These exercises will help you stand tall—and boost your athleticism
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How’s your posture? Chances are it’s not great. All that slouching isn’t just a bad look; it drags down athletic performance, too. “How we move in daily life directly crosses over to patterns in sports,” says Heidi Greenwood, a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Building strength and mobility in key areas (shoulders, hips, the back) boosts efficiency and can reduce injury risk in many activities. Reap those benefits with this workout, which Greenwood developed for Outside. Perform each move, then rest 30 to 60 seconds before moving on to the next. After you complete all four, rest one to three minutes, then repeat the circuit once or twice. Do this two times a week to see results.
How to do it: Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet planted on the ground. Place a foam roller beneath your shoulder blades, keeping your tailbone on the ground. Clasp your hands behind your head, elbows wide. This is the starting position. Exhale as you push your shoulders toward the ground; try to touch your elbows to the floor. Hold for five seconds, then return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do five.
Why: Boosts upper-back mobility.
Overhead Broomstick Squat
How to do it: Stand tall, your feet in line with your hips. Hold a broomstick overhead so your arms form a wide V shape. Pinch your shoulder blades together, then slowly bend your knees down into a squat. Pause for a second when your thighs are parallel with the floor, then push through your heels and slowly return to the standing position. That’s one rep. Do eight.
Why: Improves both shoulder and hip mobility.
How to do it: Lie on your stomach, with your palms on the ground, arms slightly wider than your shoulders, and your elbows bent and pointing outward. Inhale, then exhale and press through your palms to straighten your arms as much as you can. Relax your glutes as you press up. Hold for five to ten seconds, then release. That’s one rep. Do eight.
Why: Lengthens the spine and hip flexors.
How to do it: There are three parts to this move—do ten reps each, with some rest in between. Start by wrapping a handled resistance band around an anchor point at hip height. Grab the handles and step far enough back that you feel tension in the band. From here, lower into a split-squat position: legs bent to 90 degrees, one foot in front of your body and the other behind. Keep this position for each movement. First, grip the handles with your thumbs pointing up and your knuckles facing out. Extend your arms in front of you, then slowly pull the handles to your hips, elbows close to your torso. Next, form 45-degree angles with your elbows as you pull the handles to chest level. Finally, keep your palms down, forming 90-degree angles with your elbows as you pull the handles to shoulder level.
Why: Strengthens shoulder-blade extensor muscles, the core, and legs.