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Proper Posture Exercises by Heather Walden, PT, DPT, CKTP

Heather Walden, PT, DPT, CKTP

Did you know that May is Posture Month? Today, many jobs require individuals to be seated at a desk and behind a computer.  It is important for those with desk job to be mindful of these postures and positions when they are a part of their everyday.  These habits can negatively impact posture but also lead to neck, shoulder and back pain. 

Today, Heather Walden, PT, DPT, CKTP of our Ogle County Physical Therapy clinic shares a few posture exercises that can be done at home or at work.  Incorporating these throughout your work week can help to improve posture and reduce pain.

Corner Stretch:  

Purpose of this exercise is to stretch the front of the shoulders and chest muscles to reduce forward, rounded shoulders

- Stand in corner of room.

- Stagger feet for balance and put arms up against each corner of wall.

- Lean in and hold 30 seconds.

- Repeat 2-3 times and perform throughout the day.


Scapular Retraction: 

Purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the scapular muscles to improve neck/shoulder/upper back posture.

- With resistance: stand in front of door with resistance band closed in door frame.

- Hold band in each hand and pull back in a rowing position.

- Repeat 15 repetitions and perform throughout the day.

- Without resistance: perform seated or standing.

- Be sure to pull/pinch shoulder blades together.

- Hold  for a count of 3 and repeat 15 times.

- Perform throughout the day.


Prone Scapular Strengthening:






Purpose of this exercose is to strengthen the scapular muscles to improve posture.

- Lay on your stomach with arms hanging off surface.

- First movement: lift arm straight back to side, repeat 15 times.

- Second movement: lift arm back like starting a lawn mower, repeat 15 times.

- Third movement: lift arm out to side, repeat 15 times.

Hamstring Stretch:

Purpose of this exercise is to improve flexibility and to reduce low back discomfort

- Stand and put one foot up on low chair or stair step.

- Keep stomach muscles tight and gently lean forward until pulling sensation in felt in the back of leg.

- Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times.

- Perform throughout the day.


Hip flexor Stretch:

Purpose of this exercise is to improve flexibility and to reduce strain on the pelvis/low back.

- Stand and put one foot up on low chair or stair step

- Lean forward by bending at the knee that is up and keep trunk upright with a slight extension.

- Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times.

- Perform throughout the day.



Cervical Retraction exercise:

Purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the neck muscles and to reduce forward head posture.

- Can be performed seated, standing, or supine. 

- Gently tuck chin in towards neck, while maintaining this position gently press head back.

- Hold for a count of 3 and then relax.

- Repeat 15 times and perform throughout the day.

In addition to thse exercises be mindful of these few things when at your work station:

- Make sure your work chair is at the appropriate height with feet flat on the floor.

- Your monitor screen should be at the eye level.  

- When using the phone, avoid resting phone between ear and shoulder.

- Keep your mouse close to you to avoid over reaching.

- Pull out key board when working on the computer.