Video Series: Posture Exercises for Desk Workers

Over the next 6 weeks, we will introduce exercises to correct rounded shoulders and improve mid-back posture, especially for individuals working at a desk for extended periods. Our program includes two stretches, two dynamic warm-ups, and two strengthening exercises. These exercises can be combined into a comprehensive routine targeting the scapula and mid-back. By following this routine consistently, you may begin to see improvements in your posture and a reduction in rounded shoulders.

In this series:

Bent Over Lateral Shoulder Raise with Rotation

Try the Bent Over Lateral Shoulder Raise with Rotation exercise using a resistance band to improve your posture at home or in the gym. Start by standing in a modified lunge position, with one end of the band securely under the lead foot. Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine. Hold the resistance band with one hand, palms facing down. Laterally raise your fully extended arm to just below shoulder height. At the top range of motion, rotate your arm so your thumb faces upward. Slowly and under control, bring your arm back down to the starting position, taking 4 seconds. Repeat this sequence 8-10 times and then switch sides. This exercise is effective for correcting rounded shoulders and promoting better posture.

Standing External Rotation with Overhead Press

Try the Standing External Rotation with Overhead Press exercise using a resistance band to improve your posture at home or in the gym. Hold a resistance band with handles in each hand, with thumbs pointing up, bringing your elbows out just below shoulder height and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Externally rotate your hands up into an overhead press position, maintaining a stable lower back. Perform an overhead press, engaging your core and keeping your back upright without excessive leaning. Hold for 4 seconds at the top, then lower your hands back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 8-10 times to strengthen your posture muscles.  

Stability Ball Scapular Exercise

Using a 65-centimeter stability ball, assume an “all-fours” position on top of the ball – with the abdomen in the center of the ball. With or with weight resistance (1-2 pounds), extend both arms out in front with the thumbs up. Perform a “hitch a ride” motion upward – keeping thumbs up for 10-15 short-range repetitions. Next, extend both arms out to the side – just below shoulder level – with the palms down, and thumbs pointing ahead. Perform the same type of short-range motion for 10-15 reps, with the back of the palms moving up toward the sky. Finally, bring both extended arms behind you as if you were diving into a pool. The arms are in an inverted “V” position. Perform the same short-range movement this time with the extended arms and thumbs pointing down for 10-15 reps.

Around the World Back Stretch

Try the Prone Around the World Dynamic Back Stretch to improve your posture before your workout, whether at home or in the gym. Lie face down on the floor with a towel supporting your forehead. Extend your arms fully overhead, palms facing down. Keeping your arms straight, bring your hands down towards your lower back, rotating your palms backward until the back of your hands touches your buttocks. Reverse the movement and perform this exercise 5 times, ensuring your arms do not touch the ground. This stretch engages your back muscles and promotes better posture for your workout.

Seated Dowel Mid-Back Stretch

Perform the Seated Dowel Mid-Back Stretch as a warm-up before your workout at home or in the gym. Sit on a bench or chair without a backrest, engaging your core by squeezing a pillow or foam roller between your legs. Place a dowel pole across the back of your shoulders, extending it with your hands at shoulder height and elbows down. Rotate to each side to your end range of motion, then extend back – using your mid-back as the pivot point. Hold for 3 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat this stretch, trying to increase your range of motion each time. Perform this stretch on each side for a total of 3 times. Focus on the side with less range of motion by performing additional repetitions. This stretch prepares your mid-back for optimal movement and helps prevent injury during your workout.

Shoulder and Back Stretch

Try this simple post-shower stretch to release tension in your back and shoulders. Grab a towel and place one hand behind your back, draping it over your shoulder and grabbing it with your other hand. Pull the towel down with your front hand, pulling your backhand up your back. Hold this stretch for 3 seconds, then rest for 1 second. Next, use your front hand to pull the towel farther down, increasing the stretch. Repeat the 3-second hold and 1-second rest two to three more times on each side for an invigorating post-shower stretch.
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