One Easy Concept to Fix Poor Posture in 5 Minutes a Day

Unique Technique to Make Good Posture Stick

By Coach E

One Easy Concept to Fix Poor Posture in 5 Minutes a Day

If you’ve been trying to fix poor posture and just regress to slouching, then start with these concepts and exercises to help make good posture stick.

Coach E here from Precision Movement. Today, I’m going to help you make all that work to get great posture stick. All of those exercises you do to extend your thoracic spine, to bring your shoulders back into position, to get rid of that forward head position, that’s going to all be put together in the concepts that I’m going to teach you here today.

For this article, you need a little bit of equipment. You need a stick long enough to span from your tailbone to your head. It’s got to be straight. It’s got to be solid. I have an old curtain rod that broke, so I keep it around for this purpose. It could be a hockey stick.

You also need something to tie it to your body. I’ve got this rubber resistance band because I’m in the studio, and this is what I have. But you could use a belt, a piece of rope, or dental floss. Whatever you’ve got, use it.

It’s not important what equipment you have or even having the perfect equipment. This is something that we often get stuck on, especially with all these new-fangled devices that get invested and marketed to us. We get stuck on having the perfect equipment. It’s more important to have the key concepts and the fundamentals down.

That’s what I’m going to get across to you today.

One of those key concepts is the concept of kinesthetic awareness. When we do a lot of exercises, we’re focused on fixing or restoring what we lack, which is, when it comes to posture, thoracic extension, and strength through the retractors, as two little examples. But we don’t often train the kinesthetic awareness. The feeling or awareness of maintaining this good position or posture throughout all of the different movements.

That’s what we’re going to go through today.

Getting Set Up – Exercises to Fix Poor Posture

First off, We need to get set up. You want to tie yourself to the stick. I do a loop around the stick and then around my waist.

The rubber band is good because it’s kind of sticky, so it can help this stick not slide around too much. Whereas, if you have satin dental floss, it’s not going to do that as well.

I’m going to tie it around my waist pretty tight because I don’t want it to move.  This is nothing fancy. I’m not trying to be the prettiest model on Instagram. I’m just trying to get the work done.

First up, I’ve got my stick on me. Next, you want to have three points of contact.

  • Tailbone
  • Between the shoulder blades
  • Head

You maintain those three points of contact throughout everything we’re going to do here.

The other key point is that you want a little space between your hand and your low back. If you can just fit your hand in there, that’s a nice neutral lumbar curve. You don’t want a lot of space here like you’re sticking your butt out. You see, I still have three points of contact, but there’s too much of a gap.

You want just enough space to fit your hand in there nicely.

So now we have the setup, the three points of contact, and what you want to do to start off is just take some relaxed diaphragmatic breaths. Just feel what it’s like to maintain these three points of contact.

Take relaxed, diaphragmatic breaths means you’re not shrugging your shoulders to inhale. Your belly is expanding. Your rib cage is expanding. You’re not forcing it either way. Let the air come out. So just get that awareness.

Okay, this is what it feels like to maintain those three points of contact, which is good spinal posture. Now, walk around a little bit.

You’ll feel like a robot. You’ll feel that this is foreign. But this is what you need to get used to as your new normal. If this feels foreign, it means it’s not your habitual normal posture.

So, if it feels foreign right now, that’s good because you’ve just brought awareness to the position that you need to maintain to make all your posture exercises stick.

This is the start. Just walk around a little bit and get used to it – breathing and relaxed. Then, what I want you to do is set a timer. The reps or sets are not important here. We’re not training the muscles or doing any strength training. We’re training good posture.

Set a timer for 5 – 10 minutes. Then you can try some of the different things that I’m going to show you here.

You could stick with one or a couple of them or even do them all. It’s up to you.

The important thing is kinesthetic awareness and maintaining that relaxed breathing as you’re doing the exercises.

Fundamental Movement Patterns to Build Effortless Posture

The first group of exercises we’ll do are standing. We’ll just go through some of the fundamental movement patterns.

The fundamental movement patterns are:

    • Squat
    • Lunge
    • Hinge

If you want a video to follow along with, watch How To Make Good Posture STICK on YouTube.

Exercise 1: Squat

So you can start off squatting. It’s your normal squat, and you maintain the three points of contact. I like to stick my hand in my low back here, just to make sure I’m not overextending my lumbar spine.

You’re squatting. Go nice and slow so you can really feel it. You’ll notice as you squat down, your head has to tilt down because your body angle changes. That’s how you maintain that good posture.

  1. Stand with the stick touching the three points of contact
  2. Slowly lower your hips, bending at the knees, maintaining balance – only squat as far as you have good control
  3. Slowly straighten up

You do a few reps. Don’t just do one rep and then move on. Do a few, at least five, to give yourself some guidance, maybe up to 10 or 12.

Exercise 2: Reverse Lunge

Next, try the reverse lunge. You’re stepping back, maintaining the three points of contact again.

  1. Start in the standing position, with the three points of contact
  2. Step back and lower your knee as far as you’re able
  3. Rise back up

Do a few reps here, too – more than one, fewer than 12.

You can keep your hand in the low back to make sure you’re not hyperextending your lumbar spine. Hold good form.

Exercise 3: Hinge

The third lower body movement pattern is the hinge. It’s like a deadlift exercise for you gym rats.

You’re just going to hinge and move at the hips. The knee doesn’t really bend. A little bit – soft knees. Go until your hamstrings tighten up, and then bring yourself back up again.

  1. Start in the standing position, with the three points of contact
  2. Lean forward, hinging at the hips with soft knees
  3. Straighten up

Do anywhere from 5 – 12 repetitions, nice and slow. You can really get that kinesthetic awareness going and teach your body how to maintain good posture.

Those are some really basic fundamental movement patterns.

Exercise 4: Bird Dog

Now we can go to some more functional type activities. For example, going down to the ground.

How would I go down to the ground and maintain good posture?

Well, I would use the reverse lunge. Get one knee on the ground, then the other, and bend forward to get to the four-point position.

I often use the stick when I’m coaching people on the bird dog because maintaining a good neutral posture position is key for this exercise.

  1. Get into the four-point position, maintaining the three points of contact
  2. Slowly raise your arm up and 45 degrees to the side while raising the opposite leg straight out behind you
  3. Pause and slowly lower them
  4. Switch sides and repeat.

You can do a few more reps here. It’s not about pushing yourself. It’s building that kinesthetic awareness of moving while maintaining those three points of contact.

Exercise 5: Pushups

I could also go right up to my feet like a pushup position and just hang out there. See what that feels like. Again, breathing, relax, breathing. Three points of contract – tailbone, between the shoulder blades, and your head.

I could even do some pushups.

  1. Use the reverse lunge to get into the pushup position from standing while maintaining the three points of contact
  2. Hold there for a moment to learn the feeling of good posture
  3. Slowly lower your chest toward the floor, holding your body straight in good posture
  4. Push your chest away from the floor
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4

Again, go really slow. Feel the three points of contact throughout.

Get the full range breathing and then go back to the four-point position and stand up. All the while, try your best to maintain the three points of contact, neutral spine, and good posture.

So there’s a little sequence. You can go down to the floor, do some push-ups, and come back up again. Repeat that a few times.

You could turn this into a workout for sure.

Good Posture for Sports

Now, a couple of other things that I like to do are sports techniques. It’s really beneficial to maintain good posture when you’re playing your sports.

So, an example here is hockey. Again, it looks a little like a robot when I’m moving around. But once I get into my hockey stance and I’m stick handling, I can maintain good posture here. Pretend like I’m going to shoot, and this just allows me to be more efficient.

Good posture is much more efficient, and it’s more powerful. You can rotate more powerfully with a higher amount of rotational speed to get more powerful shots. That’s just a hockey example.

You can apply this to whatever sport you do.

If you play tennis like I’m playing a lot of right now, I can move around, trying to maintain this posture while I’m practicing waiting for the ball or the return of serve.

Just go slow through the motions to get used to what this feels like.

Relaxed breathing. When we breathe in a relaxed position or relaxed way, we allow our neuromuscular system to create new movement patterns and to build new movement patterns.

This is how you’re going to make good posture stick. You’ve got to take it from your corrective exercises to movements that build strength and fundamental movement patterns.

Next Steps

That’s key throughout everything that you’re going to do and do frequently. Spend 5-10 minutes. Move around. Even if you’re just sitting at your desk working, you can sit down in good posture with the stick for 5-10 minutes. Do that at least daily.

If you do it multiple times a day, you’re going to fix poor posture more quickly. Create these good, clean movement patterns.

I’ve got some other resources with the corrective style exercise that you need to get good posture here and here.

3 Rounded Shoulders Exercises to Fix Posture in 10 Minutes a Day – if your palms tend to face behind you rather than at your thighs when you’re standing straight, you may have rounded shoulders.

5 Exercises to Fix Forward Head Posture that Actually Work – if you get the stick into position and have trouble keeping the third point of contact with your head, it may be forward head posture to blame. Adding these exercises into the mix can help.

Wake Up This “Hidden Muscle to Fix Hunchback Posture (AKA Kyphosis) – Can’t hold good posture for more than two minutes? Your deep spine muscles probably need some love.

Even better than that, get the ROM Coach app. We’ve got the Upper Body Posture I and II routines in there. You can just load them up, get notifications, and get automatic progression as you repeat the routines.

Thanks again for reading. I hope this was beneficial for you. See you next time! Peace.

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.