Pos­ture Per­fect

Side­line that slouch with these five moves that tar­get your up­per pos­te­rior chain to help you stand taller and lift heav­ier.

Muscle & Performance - - Contents - By Je­nessa Con­nor, CPT

Since the av­er­age Amer­i­can spends around 13 hours a day sit­ting, hav­ing a spine like a ques­tion mark punc­tu­ated by a con­cave chest and rounded shoul­ders is typ­i­cal for the 9-to-5 desk jockey. Such ha­bit­u­ally poor pos­ture can ac­tu­ally al­ter the length of your mus­cles.

“The mus­cles in the front side of your body tend to get short­ened and the mus­cles and tis­sues in the back side tend to get length­ened,” says

Ǥ ϐ ǡ ǡ of The­move­ment­mae­stro.com. This is es­pe­cially true of the up­per body, which is the pri­mary cul­prit in the daily slouch-a-thon. Strength­en­ing the up­per part of your pos­te­rior chain — the erec­tor spinae, latis­simus dorsi, del­toids, trapez­ius, rhom­boids and le­v­a­tor scapu­lae — can help straighten you out, cor­rect­ing im­bal­ances and im­prov­ing per­for­mance.

“Bet­ter align­ment means a bet­ter length/ten­sion re­la­tion­ship of the mus­cles on ei­ther side of the joint, which means you can pro­duce more force,” ϐ ǥ weights lifted, faster devel­op­ment and in­creased over­all calo­rie burn.

It also does won­ders for your pos­ture, mak­ing it eas­ier to hold what

ϐ Dz ϐ dzǣ shoul­ders back, chest up and ears in line with the shoul­ders. Adopt­ing proper pos­ture elon­gates you, mak­ing ϐ - line ap­pear trim­mer.

Ready to stand tall? Use these moves for per­fect pos­ture in the gym and out of it.

Pull-up

Why: Strength­ens all the back mus­cles and rear delts, help­ing straighten you up from head to hips.

Per­for­mance Ben­e­fit: Helps train you to get the bar off the ground faster and ϐ snatches and cleans.

How: Take an over­hand grip on the pull-up bar with your hands a lit­tle Ǧ Ǥ your shoul­der blades to­gether, then drive your el­bows down and back to pull your chin up to­ward the bar. Pause ϐ Ǥ

Seated Ca­ble Row

Why: Iso­lates the up­per back and coun­ter­acts a rounded tho­racic spine.

Per­for­mance Ben­e­fit: Strength­ens the mus­cles that power a bar­bell ϐ ǡ which means you’ll be able to get un­der the bar that much faster.

How: Sit in the ma­chine with your knees slightly bent and hold a V-han­dle with your arms ex­tended. Keep­ing your torso up­right (don’t lean back), drive your el­bows back and squeeze your shoul­der blades to­gether to bring the han­dle in to­ward your ab­domen. Slowly re­turn to the start.

Banded Pull-apart

Why: Trains scapu­lar re­trac­tion, open­ing and lift­ing the chest.

Per­for­mance Ben­e­fit: Pro­motes a straight-back pos­ture, which is es­sen­tial for proper dead­lift form.

How: With palms fac­ing down, grip a light­weight re­sis­tance band and hold it at chest height with your hands shoul­der-width apart. Keep­ing your arms straight, re­tract your shoul­der blades and open your arms to the sides, pulling the band apart as far Ǥ ϐ slowly to the start.

Dy­namic Black­burn

Why: Strength­ens the erec­tor spinae, putting a jut­ting chin (caused by over­stretched mus­cles in the back of the neck) back in place.

Per­for­mance Ben­e­fits: Strength­ens the mus­cles that help you hold and sta­bi­lize a front rack po­si­tion for squats and thrusters.

How: Lie face­down with your arms be­hind your back, rest­ing the backs of your hands on your glutes. Lift your head and shoul­ders off the ground and keep them raised as you bring your arms for­ward, par­al­lel with the ground. As they come over­head, turn your palms to face down­ward and touch your thumbs to­gether. Re­turn to the start to com­plete one rep.

Foam Roller An­gel

Why: Stretches tight pec­torals and en­cour­ages a neu­tral spine, coun­ter­act­ing ques­tion-mark pos­ture.

Per­for­mance Ben­e­fits: Po­si­tions shoul­ders prop­erly for cor­rect setup po­si­tion of big bar­bell lifts and presses.

How: Lie faceup with a foam roller po­si­tioned length­wise un­der your spine, neck and head. Ex­tend your arms to the sides, palms fac­ing up­ward, and al­low your shoul­ders and chest to open. Slowly move your arms in a “snow an­gel” move­ment from your hips to over­head, then back to the start­ing po­si­tion.

Pull-up

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