5 of the Best Exercises for Injury Prevention and Better Posture
We can both agree that getting injured isn’t fun.
Not only is it painful, but also it prevents you from being able to train.
And when you can’t train, you can’t build muscle or burn extra calories.
That’s why rehab exercises are important.
They build up weak areas of your body to prevent the injury from happening again.
Even if you’re currently injury free, it’s still important to do these exercises regularly as an insurance policy against common injuries.
Why is Posture Important?
Posture is very important for helping you stay injury free. You see, when you have a misalignment in your body, certain muscle will become tight and other muscles will become weakened.
When this happens, other muscle groups will have to compensate and take on more then they’re supposed to. This is why people commonly have lower back issues.
People tend to sit more and more nowadays. This extra sitting causes the hip flexors to be tight and the abs to be lengthened and thus weaken.
When the abs are weak the lower back must then take over much of the load that’s normally meant for the abs. This makes you much more susceptible to a lower back tweak or injury.
And this doesn’t just apply to the lower back. A lot of people also have rounded shoulders and protruding necks from typing on a computer all day.
This imbalance leaves you more prone to a shoulder injury. Not only that, but poor posture just looks sloppy.
You look a lot better (and confident) when you stand up tall with you shoulders back. In fact, doing this with a smile on your face has been shown to improve mood.
Give it a shot the next time that you’re having a rough day.
5 Best Exercises for Improving Posture (in no order)
Here are the 5 best exercises you can do for improving your posture. You’ll probably notice that most of them deal with correcting the rounded shoulder posture.
This is fine because stretches will help to correct many of the imbalances that are in the pelvis area.
Exercise #1: Reverse DB Flys
Great exercise for targeting the rear delts. Most people tend to neglect this muscle and focus mostly on the front delts and pecs.
As a result, their shoulders start to roll forward. This exercise will help to roll the shoulders back to their natural position, making a shoulder injury less likely.
To perform this exercise, set a bench to 45 degrees and lie with your chest facing down towards the ground. From there, simply raise your arms up until they’re parallel with the floor.
Finally, be sure to use lighter weights with this exercise and aim for around 12-15 reps.
Exercise #2: Wide Grip Chin-Ups
Try this out right now:
Raise your arms above your head with your palms facing away from you. Then turn your palms in to where they’re now facing you.
If not, do it again but this time pay close attention to what your shoulders do. You should notice that your shoulders roll back as you move your palms in to face you.
Without a doubt, pull-up and chin-ups are a great way to build up your back. However, if you have a hunch back, pull-ups aren’t going help your posture.
Wide grip chin-ups will allow you to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. The form for this exercise is pretty obvious: just grab the bar at the same width you would with pull-ups but have your palms face you.
Most of the time I do this exercise weighted for 5-6 reps.
Exercise #3: Plank
Having a strong core is a crucial part of having good posture. This exercise strengthens your abs through stabilization, which is much safer on your lower back than a lot of flexion exercises like the crunch for example.
Additionally, this exercise can reduce back pain if you focus on progression. If a regular plank is too hard, then you can drop your knees to the floor and hold the position from there.
You can do this exercise at the start or end of your workout routine or even throughout the day. I usually hold this position for as long as possible for 3 sets resting 1 minute in between sets.
Exercise #4 Face Pulls
This is another awesome exercise that targets the rear delts, rotator cuffs, and other muscles in the mid and upper back. You can do this exercise at the start of your routine as a warm-up or towards the end as a finisher.
The cool thing about this exercise is that you can build up to some pretty heavy weights. I usually stick within the 10-15-rep range for this exercise.
Exercise #5 Seated DB Row
I chose this exercise for 2 main reasons:
- It allows you to use heavy weights.
- It can eliminate any push/pull imbalances that you may have.
If your gym has a t-bar row machine, you can use that as well. Either way be sure to use a lighter weight initially and hold the contraction at the top of the movement for a second.
This way you’ll really feel your back working. For this exercise, I tend to stay in the 6-8-rep range and focus on controlling the weight instead of swinging using momentum.
Bonus: 5 Best Stretches for Posture (in no order)
What posture routine is complete without stretches? Here are some of the best stretches that you can do to improve your posture.
Different stretches will focus on different imbalances that you may have. This means that you might not need to do all 5 stretches just 3 of them.
Here are the stretches:
Stretch #1 Kneeling Hip Flexor
Ok I know I said that the list wasn’t in order, but this has to be an exception! The rest of the list isn’t in any particular order, but this is number 1!
The world is becoming more and more sedentary with people sitting in front of computers all day. With this being the case, a lot of people have tight hip flexors, which will eventually lead to other problems like lower back pain.
So the kneeling hip flexor stretch will help to correct this pelvis imbalance. If you sit down a lot, I would do this exercise 3-5 times a day holding the stretch for 30 a side.
Stretch #2 Pec Stretch
Again if you sit down a lot typing on a computer or do presses in your workout regularly, you’re going to need to stretch your chest. This stretch can help to relieve you from upper back pain and even allow you to breathe better.
You’ll most commonly see people stretch their chest by placing an elbow in a door hinge and then leaning forward. Additionally, you can also hold your arms straight out from your side or above your head.
Stretch #3 Neck/Trap Stretch
This stretch works great if your head protrudes forward excessively and/or if your shoulders are rolled forward. To perform this stretch, lean your neck over to 1 side and use your hand on the leaning side to apply a gentle pressure.
Then repeat on the other side, and finally by looking down towards the ground.
Stretch #4 Lat Stretch
If you suffer regularly from neck, shoulder, or lower back pain, then you might have tight lat or back muscles. There are various different stretches that you can do, but the 1 shown in the video below is my personal favorite.
Stretch #5 Hamstring Stretch
If you’re a big fan of baseball then I’m sure that you’ve heard of or seen a player pull his hamstring while running to 1st. Even if you’re not a baseball player, it’s still important to stretch your hamstrings.
Common symptoms for tight hamstrings include a tight gluteus and/or lower back.
We’ve all seen those typical “touch your toes” hamstring stretches. However, I think you’ll find that the stretch shown below will work much better.
No these exercises and stretches aren’t really that cool like bench pressing 300 pounds. Think of it more like an insurance policy so that you don’t get hurt again in the future.
This way you’ll be able to bench press 300 pounds for years to come… or continue doing whatever else it is that your heart desires.