Fix Your Bad Posture

Credit: Andrey Popov / Alamy

If years of your mother telling you to sit up straight didn’t get the message through, I’m here to tell you that posture is important. The way your body is aligned can position your bones in an optimal position to enhance muscle recruitment, or worse, inhibit it. Maintaining good posture is especially important while working out. Here are four simple postural adjustments you can make if you want to maximize your workout.

Down, Back, Together

One big cue that I give patients is to focus on keeping their shoulder blades down, back, and together. You should really be trying to do this at all times, but it is especially important when performing an exercise, like a lat pull down or a bench press, to make sure you get your lats and low traps firing. This simple adjustment will manifest itself as better results in the weight room.

Dig Your Heels In

When performing a sit-up, dig your heels into the ground, as if you are pulling them toward your seat, to engage your hamstrings. This small adjustment allows you to engage your abdominals even more. Bonus: You'll definitely feel a stronger burn as you work on your core.

Learn to Bend Your Knees

Try to keep a slight bend in your knees and your bodyweight in your heels when you're doing standing exercises. This will allow you to activate your posterior chain, which in turn activates your abdominals. You’ll also get the added benefit of using your glutes instead of your back, preventing an injury down the road.

Keep Your Head Over Your Spine

Finally, you should ensure that your head is positioned over your spine at all times. Having your head too far forward as little as one inch will increase the strain on your upper neck. The more your upper neck has to work, the less you use your other postural muscles, and the more you put your body at risk of injury.