Get Ya Chest Up

How good does SHE look?  I mean, she looks strong, healthy, lean, and has great posture.  I’m kidding, she looks like crap!  If you think that’s a good look…well, I don’t really know what to say to you.  Now, if you think that’s a bad look, we’re in business.  To me, there are two glaring issues with this model.  First of all, she looks like she eats 4 blades of grass and a packet of Splenda for breakfast, and that the only protein in her life is the soy milk she puts in her detoxifying cleansers.  Secondly, her posture would make Quasimodo cringe, and it makes me cringe as well.

I’ve discussed bad posture on a number of occasions, and it needs to be repeated for our society.  In our digital world, many people spend their days sitting, hunched over desks or computers doing their work.  Even the best of exercise plans can’t fight the 8+ hours spent flexed forward, and the time we send on our glutes instead of using them takes its toll on our health and quality of life.  Consider it your own personal responsibility to make sure we maintain a strong posture through out the day.  (That is me cueing you to sit up in your chair!)

Now, when we’re cognizant of our posture through out the day, it makes it easier to take care of things in the gym, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about it.  Even if you spend your day on your feet moving around, you still need to address some issues in the gym, and what I’m talking about is thoracic mobility.  A lack of thoracic extension can limit you in everything from your bench to your squat, so it’s something that you can address on a daily basis.

If you’re going to throw a hand grenade at the issue, you’ll want to cover soft tissue as well as mobility.    If you don’t have a foam roller, get one.  If you don’t know where to get one, you can buy them from Perform Better or find them on Amazon.  In addition to a foam roller, it’s easy (albeit uncomfortable) to use a tennis ball or lacrosse ball to address any nasty knotty tissue you may still have.  If you have the time and money for it, a qualified manual therapist works better, or try asking a loved one for a massage.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?!

After you address some of the possible soft tissue issues you have, you’ll want to gently start mobilizing.  I like using the foam roler as an axis point to relax upon, and it’s a great place to start.  To do this, you can see a video clip explaining this below:

In addition to working bilateral extension, you’ll also find it extremely beneficial to work extension along with rotation.  To accomplish this, you can try a variety of mobility drills, and I would have compiled 3-5 different videos to provide the necessary examples.  However, I found an awesome video on YouTube yesterday, posted by Doug Balzarini from Fitness Quest 10.  Doug has some great articles on his blog, and has been posting very educational videos on his YouTube channel.  He’s way smarter than me, so check them out.

Check out this great video of his thoracic mobility circuit.  I’ve used these exercises in past, and happened to  use them yesterday as part of my warm-up, which led to the easiest 275lb triple of my life on the bench.  I’ll take that.  Try out these exercises, and you’ll stand up taller, straighter, and probably feel a little bit more confident in your posture, too.  Just remember to keep that posture during the time you spend outside the gym. 

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