Productivity

This 3-Minute Exercise Will Actually Fix Your Posture

Shianne Edelmayer Updated 02-03-2020

Now that we’ve settled into a brand new year, it may be time to address an issue that many of us have, but tend to ignore: our back posture.

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The issue of posture is an important one for those of us who sit at a computer all day. What’s worse is that bad posture can lead to trouble falling asleep, or long-term issues with your spine. With that in mind, here are three exercise routines that will help fix bad posture.

Disclaimer: The following exercises and this article are not medical or health advice. If you experience pain trying any of these activities, immediately discontinue them.

1. Try These Exercises to Fix Forward Head Posture

The first posture quick fix is a trio of easy exercises that you can complete at home. Brought to you by backintelligence.com, these exercises—and the YouTube channel they’re featured on—are run by a group of chiropractors, physical therapists, and personal trainers.

Back Intelligence’s mission is to find a posture fix, before and after.

In the video above, a licensed chiropractor explains what “forward head posture” is. Basically, forward head posture is an “abnormal posture” that arises from sitting in front of computers, heavy texting, or driving.

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The human head weighs a lot. If you move your head forward to focus on something, it can cause stress along your shoulders and neck. This in turn, can lead to back complications.

Back Intelligence recommends a set of three exercises that you can do in ten minutes or less. The first exercise is a two-finger “chin tuck.”

  • In this exercise, either stand or sit up straight. Gently place two fingers against your chin.
  • Next, press your head back with your fingers, and hold.
  • Back Intelligence strongly cautions against this exercise if it causes you pain. Feeling a little uncomfortable, however, is normal.

The second exercise that you can do is designed to stretch out your shoulder blades.

  • Rounded or sloping-forward shoulders are a side-effect of bad posture.
  • In this exercise, Back Intelligence tells you to lift your arms up into a “W” position.
  • After that, bring your shoulders together and down, so your shoulder blades move together.
  • Once again, Back Intelligence stresses that you should not do this exercise if it causes abnormal pain.

Lastly, Back Intelligence recommends that you do the “YWLT exercise,” to fix posture.

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  • This exercise is a series of back-and-arm movements.
  • You complete it by moving your arms into various positions in a cyclical repetition.
  • The “YWLT exercise” is more complicated than the previously mentioned stretches, but it doesn’t take long to do.

While our own opinion on these posture quick fixes is anecdotal, after trying them we immediately felt better. I personally stood straighter and had less pain in my back while I was sitting at my desk.

Please Note: Although these exercises have immediate results, those results are temporary. In order to undo years of bad posture, you’ll have to make stretching a regular, daily occurrence.

2. Try These Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders

The next posture quick fix review that we think you should watch is this video by Doctor Jo. She’s a licensed physical therapist over at askdoctorjo.com. The video reviews a posture corrector that you can use to fix your back. It also goes through a series of exercises to help you with rounded shoulders.

While this set of exercises has some overlap with the first group that we mentioned, the difference here is that the video specifically focuses on your shoulders.

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The first exercise that Doctor Jo advises is a chin tuck.

  • We’ve covered chin tucks in detail at the beginning of this article, so there’s not much more to add.
  • However, you’ll be happy to hear that Doctor Jo’s advice is identical to Back Intelligence’s. So you’re getting standard exercise instructions across the board, whichever video you choose to watch.

This video also recommends a set of shoulder squeezes.

  • The goal of this exercise is to squeeze your shoulder blades together to reposition the muscles.
  • By doing this, your shoulders should unclench from their rolled position.

If you have a lot of shoulder pain from working at a desk, this video also covers the benefits of using a back brace to get your shoulders into a better position. However, the presenter stresses that braces should only be used in the short term.

Finally, the video covers the benefits of using a resistance band to do shoulder squeezes, along with an explanation on an incredibly simple arm stretch that most people can do from the comfort of their chair.

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Make sure to try these exercises out if you’re short on time or if you have a very busy schedule.

3. Try These Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

Lastly, we wanted to mention this informative video from pelvicexercises.com.au, which works on strengthening your back muscles.

The presenter of this video, Michelle, has a long history of working as a physiotherapist, with a focus on women’s health. Her video on back strengthening is not well-suited for everyone looking for a posture quick fix, but she does offer some great solutions for anyone who wants to ease themselves into a daily exercise routine.

In her video, Michelle walks you through a series of standard exercises that you can complete at home. She then moves into the benefits of using a foam roller to work out the stiffness in your back.

Lastly, she talks about strengthening exercises that you can complete at the gym—if you have access to one.

While it may be difficult to find time away from your busy schedule to complete this set, we still recommend watching the video if you’re interested in long-term health.

You can also look into yoga as an alternative. These free courses and apps for yoga beginners 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.

Exercise Daily to Fix Your Posture

One final thing that we want to stress before you try any of these exercises:

As stated at the beginning of the article, these stretches are not a remedy for spinal problems. If you have doubts about these exercises in relation to your own health, do not do them. All we’re trying to do with this listicle is help you find the most useful information for fixing bad posture online.

Want to begin a full-fledged exercise regime? Try looking into these free no-equipment workouts 5 Free No-Equipment Workouts to Get Fit Anytime, Anywhere You don't need an expensive gym membership. Try these free no-equipment bodyweight workouts to exercise and get in better shape. Read More and exercise-based video games 5 Video Games to Help You Get Fit Through Exercise Do you want to get fit through exercise but find it a chore? These video games will give you a fun workout in your own home. Read More to get fit.

Image Credit: jehsomwang/Shutterstock

Related topics: Health, Online Video.

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  1. Ira Tozer
    March 11, 2020 at 4:30 am

    Thank you for the excellent information.

  2. John Schudy
    March 11, 2020 at 1:39 am

    Shianne,
    Two weeks ago this link connected to an article containing a video by Joel Lee, in which he outlined a set of three exercises, against a wall, to help correct posture. It now connects to a different article containing three different videos. Can yo upoint me to the original article?
    Thanks,
    John

  3. George davis
    March 9, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Hi, thanks for the video. I've been looking for something practical to help me work on better posture. The exercises you demonstrate would not haver been obvious to me and they are relatively simple to do. I am 77 years old and these are something that I can actually do. Thanks for the tips...

    George

    • Shianne Edelmayer
      March 9, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      I'm so glad the video links helped! I tried the exercises out, too, and found they worked really well.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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).

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

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

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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. :)

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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! :)

  18. 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.

  19. 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. :)