Wellness

Perfect Your Posture With This 15-Minute Pilates Workout

With many people still working from home (read: hunched over the kitchen table or sprawled across the sofa), the desk job crowd’s collective posture has definitely taken a hit. Luckily, there are a whole host of stretches, exercises, and adjustments that can help strengthen your core, back, and shoulder muscles—all of which are essential elements of maintaining good posture. One type of workout that uses all of those necessary muscle groups and can be done from anywhere? Pilates. And on the latest episode of Good MovesBrian Spencer of East River Pilates guides us through a 15-minute, full-body Pilates workout that is specifically crafted to help improve your posture.

“A main role of the back muscles is to keep the spine erect or extended. In contrast, the abdominal muscles are their antagonist and act to flex the spine,” Erin Policelli, a physical therapist and founder of Stretch Kinetics in Atlanta, previously told Well+Good. “If you think of the constant force of gravity that is pulling us, the spinal muscles are needed to constantly work to keep us upright. That’s why having a strong core can help prevent back pain, and you also need a strong core for good posture and support,” she explains. In this 15-minute workout, Spencer focuses on strengthening the upper body to “work on the posture muscles in our mid-back, really focus on aligning the head, and find good ‘juicy’ chest openers to combat our slouch life.” 

Spencer starts by introducing a few warm-up twists to loosen up the neck and the obliques, preparing them to work. A few things to keep in mind throughout the workout are broadening your collarbone, keeping your shoulders relaxed down, and breaking the habit of looking forward to keep your chin tucked in towards your chest. All of these adjustments will help you find alignment from your head, down through your chest and spine. “If we’re talking about finding less compression in our spine and more ability for our mid-back to both lengthen and support the upper spine and lower spine, we need to pay attention to both mobilizing and strengthening,” he explains.

Though this workout is specifically targeted towards your upper body, Spencer reminds us that, “it is always such a good idea to try and strengthen glutes with the postural muscles of the mid-back because glutes are powerhouses when it comes to accessing our deep core as well as stabilizing the pelvis and low back.” Ready to perfect your posture? Click on the video above to follow along with Spencer as he walks you through a 15-minute upper body Pilates posture workout that you can do anywhere you can place a mat.

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