The posture of a person is an excellent indication of their fitness level. Good posture is vital for balance and helps you maintain your center of gravity. This aspect becomes even more important when exercise is involved because if you workout in an incorrect posture, it may not produce the desired effect and may even lead to injuries.
You can improve your posture with some simple exercises that involve easy-to-lift weights. Balance-specific exercises focus on posture and balance-related problems through exercises that build strength in areas where it’s needed and also stretches that loosen tight muscles. You can also improve your posture noticeably in just a few weeks by increasing your core strength and flexibility.1
These seven exercises, some of which require kettlebells of different weights, help you achieve just that.
1. Arm Bar
This exercise is extremely effective in improving the mobility and stability of your shoulders and spine. By including some weight to this position, it makes you more stabilized and ensures that the joint is aligned correctly.
This, in turn, allows for movements that are usually compromised during constant sitting or exertion from sports. Many people who sit for long hours often complain of back problems. Research shows that prolonged sitting is an important risk factor for low back pain.2
- Begin by lying face-up on the ground and press the kettlebell straight up with your right hand.
- Bring your left hand above your head vertically.
- Press your right foot into the ground to roll your body over until your right knee lands on the ground.
- Straighten out your bent leg, emphasizing more rotation in the trunk.
- Rotate the kettlebell back and forth in the air 10 times. Repeat the same on the other side.
2. Goblet Squat
Squats are a fantastic form of exercise. Research shows how they can be effective at improving the variation in lower-extremity blood flow velocity.3 Goblet squats enable you to beat the effect of gravity and your tendency to lean forward while doing squats, which occurs because of weakened postural muscles alongside the posterior (back) chain in the body. These are basically squats performed while holding a weight with both hands, just below your chin.
- Hold a kettlebell (12 kg for beginners and 24 kg for advanced) with both hands directly under your chin.
- Squat as low as you can without discomfort.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
3. Prone Breathing
Studies have shown that body mechanics can be affected by the position of the rib cage and that it also has a negative effect on our posture.4 Shallow or improper breathing methods can reduce the space around your shoulder joints, which can further cause impingement and pain. Prone breathing helps you correct these problems.
- Lying face down, place your hands under your forehead and inhale deeply for 4 seconds.
- Focus on pushing your belly button into the ground as you inhale and fill your stomach with air and retain the fullness for 4 seconds. Limit the chest from expanding and focus on the abdominal area.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for 7 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
4. Asymmetrical Loaded Kettlebell Split Squat
A three-dimensional approach is crucial to exercise and maintain the health of your postural muscles and tissue. This way, they can be moved in all directions giving them better stability. This variation of a squat increases the lateral and rotational stability and improves lower body strength, both of which are essential for good posture.
- Hold a kettlebell in your right hand and take your left leg forward to form a split stance.
- Lower the left knee toward the ground slowly while bending the right knee.
- Return to the starting position and switch the sides. Repeat 10 times.
5. Farmer Carries
This exercise is as simple as it sounds. Carrying weights on both sides simultaneously helps distribute the weight evenly on both sides. This exercise is ideal for promoting correct body alignment, proper posture, improved stability, and grip strength.
- Pick up two kettlebells, preferably those you can carry for 30 seconds.
- Keeping your spine straight, walk for 30 seconds or a minute and then keep the weights down.
6. Plank With Row
This exercise is perfect for strengthening the trunk and enhancing its ability to counterbalance the effect of gravity. Additionally, the stability and function of the thoracic region are also improved.
- Hold kettlebells (8 kg for beginners and 16 kg for advanced) in plank position.
- Push one kettlebell into the ground while lifting the other one off the ground, bringing hand toward armpit, but not any higher.
- Try to limit any rotation of the hips. Repeat 5 times each side.
7. Step Back Lunge With Overhead Reach
This exercise is great for stretching and increasing the range of motion through the hip, thoracic spine, and shoulder. Connective tissues run all the way from your feet right up to the back of your neck. This exercise helps relieve the tension in the muscles and relaxes them, which helps you improve your posture.
- Begin by standing with your right foot forward and left leg back.
- Slowly lower your body, getting the left knee close to the ground.
- Simultaneously, reach up toward the ceiling with your left arm going up and across the head. Repeat 10 times.
|↑1||Why good posture matters. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑2||Cho, Il Youp, Si Young Park, Jong Hoon Park, Tae Kwon Kim, Tae Wan Jung, and Hyun Min Lee. “The effect of standing and different sitting positions on lumbar lordosis: radiographic study of 30 healthy volunteers.” Asian spine journal 9, no. 5 (2015): 762-769.|
|↑3||Eom, Jun Ho, Sin Ho Chung, and Jae Hun Shim. “The effects of squat exercises in postures for toilet use on blood flow velocity of the leg vein.” Journal of physical therapy science 26, no. 9 (2014): 1485-1487.|
|↑4||Strohl, Kingman P., Jere Mead, Robert B. Banzett, John Lehr, Stephen H. Loring, and Charles F. O’Cain. “Effect of Posture on Upper and Lower Rib Cage Motion and Tidal Volume during Diaphragm Pacing 1, 2.” American Review of Respiratory Disease 130, no. 2 (1984): 320-321.|