With a frequently seated and sedentary lifestyle, it's no wonder that many people complain of poor posture.
How often do you find yourself slouching at your desk or in front of the steering wheel?
One way to get rid of that slouch is by activating and strengthening specific muscles that aid in maintaining a healthy posture.
The bent over row is a great pulling exercise that utilizes the posterior muscles of the back, shoulders, hips, and legs as well as the core, biceps, and forearms. Your posture and biomechanics will improve by working this often neglected posterior muscle chain.
We'll use dumbbells to demonstrate this exercise, but it can be performed with most other types of resistance such as kettlebells, a barbell, resistance bands, a cable machine, or even body weight.
Grab a set of moderately weighted dumbbells and hold them at your sides with palms facing inward.
With feet hip-width apart, bend the knees slightly as you lean forward to about a 45-degree angle. Be sure to keep your posture while maintaining a tight core. Your body will stay in this position for the duration of the exercise.
As you exhale, pull the dumbbells up and back while you squeeze your shoulder blades. Your elbows should slide right past the sides of your body as you pull. Inhale as you reach the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat for a total of 10 repetitions.
Try to avoid:
It's common to lose your posture as you lean forward. Think of folding in half at the waist rather than slouching the spine.
To do this, you must allow your hips to tilt forward as you fold at the torso.
Also remember to keep a neutral position of the neck so you don't look either too far downward or upward.
How to progress:
A great way to increase the challenge of this exercise is to change up the grip.
Begin with an overhand grip but as you row the weights up and back, twist the dumbbell so you end up with an underhand grip. You'll be twisting the dumbbells 180 degrees on each rep. This supination will challenge your grip as well as recruit more muscles through the arms, shoulders, and back.
So include the bent over row in your weekly workout routine to add more strength and muscle tone while improving your posture.
For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our blog and social media resources.
• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.