This article was originally written for STACK.
These days, it's hard to find anyone with truly good posture.
Just think about how the majority of people spend their time: Students are likely found hunched over a desk at school, slumped over the phone texting, or relaxing in front of the TV. Most adults commute for long periods to work, only to sit behind a work desk for hours on end. Even professional athletes spend a ton of their time in cramped airplanes or on bus rides.
All of these activities lead to rounded shoulders, achy backs and sore necks. They also create significant muscular imbalances, which can lead to injury.
There may not be a way to eliminate these issues completely, but there are certainly ways to reverse the damage. Open up tight shoulders with these three band exercises to improve posture.
Exercises to Improve Posture
1. Band Dislocate
Dislocates are a great starting point to regaining shoulder mobility because you can pull the band apart overhead (where this exercise is most difficult) to ease your way into the needed mobility for the movement. You can also rotate your wrists at the end range of motion (behind your back) if the exercise is creating uncomfortable stress on your wrists.
A few tips to making your Band Dislocates as effective as possible:
Keep your arms straight and elbows locked.
"Hide your ribs" (meaning don't let them flare out and up) and don't arch your back.
Use a wider grip to make this easier, and either a narrower grip or broomstick/PVC to make it more difficult.
2. Band Around-The-World
The Band Around-The-World is great because it takes your shoulders through a wide range-of-motion, also helping to open up the pecs and lats. Again, try to keep your arms straight and elbows locked throughout this posture-restoring movement.
3. Band Pull-Apart
Band Pull-Aparts are incredible for strengthening the chronically under-trained rear delts and lower traps. This exercise will not only make your shoulders feel better, but it'll also improve performance in all of your big lifts. Keep the shoulders down and back as you pull the band apart, and avoid "shrugging" to keep tension on the mid back and not shift it to the upper traps.
The Perfect Pain-Free Shoulder Warm-Up
These three exercises make for an excellent warm-up combo prior to any upper-body workout.
Perform 3-4 sets of each exercise:
10 Around-the-Worlds (5 each direction)
This little circuit also makes for a great stretch break in the middle of your day, or a pain reliever after a long day of traveling. Keep a band in your desk or locker, or throw it in your bag when traveling to perform exercises to improve posture and heal your shoulders.