This 3-Minute Exercise Will Actually Fix Your Posture

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Now that we’re all settled into the new year, it may be time to address an issue that many of us have but tend to ignore: our posture. This issue is especially important for those of us who sit at the computer all day, whether for work, study, or leisure.

What many people don’t realize is that sitting up straight is actually bad for you, mainly because it puts stress on your spine. What’s even worse is that bad posture can lead to trouble falling asleep and “forward head carriage” (also known as a hunchback).

Fortunately, the 3-minute exercise in the video above is an easy and pain-free way to rectify the problem. Believe me, I tried it… and immediately stood up straighter, felt better, and had more confidence. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it really does work.

Do note that even though the exercise has immediate results, they are temporary. In order to undo years of bad posture, you’ll have to do this exercise twice a day — once in the morning, once at night — for about a month. Only then will you start to reap longer-term results.

One last thing: this should NOT be seen as a remedy for actual spinal problems. Do not misconstrue this exercise, video, or article as medical advice. If you experience any pain or discomfort, contact your doctor right away.

Want to begin a full-fledged exercise program to stay in top shape? Why not give yoga a shot? These free courses and apps for yoga beginners 5 Free Courses and Apps for Yoga Beginners to Learn and Practice 5 Free Courses and Apps for Yoga Beginners to Learn and Practice Start your practice and get into the spirit of International Yoga Day with these apps and sites for yoga beginners. Read More will show you the way.

Image Credit: Girl Posture Before/After by jehsomwang via Shutterstock

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  1. Paula
    September 1, 2019 at 12:30 am

    I tried this for the first time tonight. I have always struggled with my posture. I could not get my heels against the wall. It was very difficult to keep my head, shoulders and hips against the wall at the same time. My back and stomach muscles really hurt doing this. It was so hard! I am going to keep doing it hoping to get some improvement. I hope to get my heels against the wall eventually!

  2. Katrina
    December 15, 2017 at 12:00 am

    I am currently suffering from upper back pain due to years of bad posture. I tried this exercise for the first time tonight but could only manage 4 due to the pain. I will however continue this every day and slowly build up to 10. Hoping it works!!!

  3. Rose
    May 19, 2017 at 1:30 am

    I have been trying to do this exercise twice a day for the past 6 months and I do notice a difference. At first I couldn't get my head to touch the wall but you can see the results! Thank you for posting this!!!!

    • Joel Lee
      May 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Hey Rose, thanks for sharing! Glad to hear that it's been working for you. :) Great job sticking with it for 6 months, too!

  4. Marko
    February 5, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    i tried this and it worked for a few days and was quite good but then I herniated my c5/c6 disk and it resulted in six months of agony and ACDF surgery.

  5. steven
    October 17, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Great idea! Works very well. :-)
    I changed the exercise a bit by waving small weights of about 1 kg (wine bottles, actually) in front of me. Then it takes more effort to keep the posture. Building up strength requires asking something from the body it isn't used to. Only when there is enough strength it will pay off to train endurance.
    Some people – me for one –  may need to stretch the psoas muscle too, for it tends to get shortened by sitting for long hours.

  6. Sue
    August 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Hello and thanks so much for sharing this with the public. I have tried this, but can't seem to get the back of my head, and back, and heels to touch the wall all at the same time, unless I bend my knees slightly. Is it ok to bend my knees, or counter productive? Thanks!

    • Joel Lee
      August 29, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Hey Sue. Ideally all of those should touch the wall but if it's not possible for whatever reason, just do your best without risking injury. Your head and upper shoulders should definitely touch the wall, hips are the next most important, and heels are the least important. If the issue is due to a lack of flexibility, I would consider stretching every day as well. Hope that helps! :)

      • Sue
        August 29, 2016 at 8:45 pm

        Many thanks for your quick reply and clarification.

      • Sara
        April 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm

        Hey, Joel - What about bending the knees that Sue asked? (I'd like to know too).

  7. Generald
    March 31, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Exercises have been helpful ! it really does work.
    Generald from France

    • Joel Lee
      April 1, 2016 at 1:38 am

      Awesome, that's great to hear Generald! Glad it helped. :)

  8. Mel
    March 23, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I definitely noticed an improvement after doing it once. I do hope to continue for one month to see how my posture can improve. Although, my calves got tight, too. Why is that?? I noticed you never responded to Sherry when she asked if it was normal.

    • Joel Lee
      March 25, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Hey Mel, sorry about that. I'm not sure about the calf issue. If it's painful at all, you should ask a doctor about it. If it's only mild discomfort or a weird feeling that goes away, I wouldn't worry but I'd still be cautious. When in doubt, talk to a medical professional!

    • sonia
      June 29, 2016 at 6:01 am

      The reason your calfs get sore is LIKELY because you don't have the movement available to get your upper back/head AND your heel against the wall. Start with your heels a little further away and then work your way up to being flat against the wall for the exercises.

  9. Jo-Anne
    February 23, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Is it possible to have a printable version so I can pin it to the wall as a reminder to do it...

    • Joel Lee
      February 25, 2016 at 2:42 am

      That would be great, wouldn't it? But sorry, I don't know of a printable version!

  10. Alicia K.
    February 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    This is quite wonderful! Just started a couple of days ago. I had neck injury due to a car accident twenty years ago. I also was a bit top heavy and had a reduction about a dozen years ago now. Between those two events I've always had a very prominent lump at the bottom of my neck in my shoulders that feels tight and hot to the touch. Even only having performed the exercises a couple of times, that area is much looser than it has been in years. I'm looking forward to seeing the results after a months time.

    I also notice an extreme tightness in one of my calves as well as in my upper arm on the left side when I do these exercises. I've started following up with "drawing the alphabet with my big toe" as follow up to these exercises for my calf and in between sets I stretch my biceps by standing away from the wall with my arms out, hands in loose fits with thumbs sticking up, no then rotating the thumbs to facing down and lightly pressing my arms back and holding for 20-30 seconds.

    Thank you for posting this video.

    • Joel Lee
      February 25, 2016 at 2:43 am

      Sorry for the late reply! I'm glad the video/exercise has been helpful, and I hope it has long-term benefits for you, Alicia. :)

  11. Russell
    February 6, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Could you do these laying down on a solid floor or foam roller to help keep your spine and head in line?

  12. Sherry S.
    February 2, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I have been trying this for the past week and can really feel my back and shoulders loosen up. However, I my calves get very tight and tense when I do this when my heels are touching the wall. Is this normal?

  13. John
    January 28, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Where do you place the heels of your feet? Is it right up against the wall?

    • Joel Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Yup! Right against the wall, but it's okay if you aren't absolutely flush. As close as you can manage.

  14. Ninanoo432
    January 27, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Wow, just tried it. I will have to work up to the recommended amount. I did 10 of each and my upper back is telling me no more until tomorrow!
    I know my posture is bad, so I'm determined to do these. Thank you!

    • Joel Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      You're welcome! I'm glad it's helping. Let us know how much your posture improves after a month or so. Just make sure you don't overdo it! :)

  15. Josh
    January 23, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Sitting up straight isn't bad for you, it's MUCH better than sitting slouched. Just because a small study suggested sitting leaning back reduces stress on the spine doesn't mean you can write "sitting up straight is bad for you."

    • Joel Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      Well, yes you're right about that. It's definitely better than slouching. I was writing in the context of people who sit at their computer all day long (mentioned in the paragraph directly preceding it) in which case sitting up straight really is bad for your back, unfortunately.

  16. Dean
    January 20, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Just tried it, definitely feels like it does something! I'll keep at it.

    • Joel Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Awesome! Feels good, right? Let us know how it feels after one month. :)