B) Strengthen the “good posture” muscles that are too weak and relax the “poor posture” muscles that work the most when slouching
When you have bad posture, your neck and immediate upper back are the muscles that gather all the tension and are working the most when sitting with poor posture. When you do this, you don’t use the mid-back muscles and they become weak, and you need these muscles in order to obtain good posture. So just do the reverse of what you’ve been doing- stop using the neck muscles and start using the mid-back ones, and you’ll weaken the “poor posture” muscles and strengthen the “good posture” ones.
1) The Ribbon Trick
“Do this so when you’re sitting at the computer, you’ll know you’re slumping when you notice slack in that ribbon, and then you can immediately reposition your rib cage again,” says Novak. “People will be amazed that they’ll see slack in the ribbon a million times when they first try this because they don’t even realize they crane their heads forward.”
- Grab a ribbon and cut it so it’s as long as your torso
- When you’re siting at the computer shift your rib cage up. Imagine there is a string attached from the breast bone to the ceiling, and then the string tightens, so it brings the rib cage up an inch or two. (This, by the way, is where the rib cage should ALWAYS be).
- Stay in that position and pin the ribbon about chest level to your shirt. Then pull the ribbon down tight and pin it to the bottom of your shirt.
- Start working.
- Try to stay in good posture for 5-10 minutes at a time.
Notice how much thinner I look with better posture. Slouching for too long can train the body to stay in that position, making you look chubbier than you really are even when you’re standing. With good posture, “you immediately make your mid section an inch or two slimmer,” says Novak.
- Shift your rib cage up an inch or two.
- Pull the shoulder back and then shift them down toward your lower back.
- Hold the contraction for a slow count of ten.
- Do this multiple times a day. You can be standing or sitting.
“When you do that, it takes the tension off your neck muscles, and those mid-back muscles contract and strengthen,” says Novak. “It makes a huge difference in ‘unrounding’ the shoulders and strengthen the mid-back.”
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