If you have poor posture, you are likely aware of it and looking for a quick, easy fix. In this video, I am going to show you one simple stretch that you can do to help undo that ugly, slumped posture. Doing this stretch everyday, I guarantee that you will notice an immediate change in your posture that will have you standing upright and feeling better overall.
When it comes to addressing posture, our common thought process is to attack the weak muscles in our upper back and the tight muscles in our chest. However, we often overlook our lats, which when tight, pull our shoulders down and forward. Throughout the day as we work and night as we sleep, we don’t often bring our arms overhead (which would create stretch on the lats.) Instead, we opt to have our arms down and tight by our sides. Thus, we need to address this tightness with an effective and efficient stretch that can be done every day.
Before getting into the stretch for the lats, it’s important to take a look at the anatomy of the lats to understand how to properly stretch them. The attachments of the lats are the spinous processes of the T7 to L5 vertebrae, the iliac crest of the pelvis, the inferior border of the scapula, and the humerus. As I will mention later, to stretch the lats in the best way possible, we need to get the upper attachments of the lats further from the lower attachments.
Next, I want you to try a quick test; raise your arm straight overhead, one at a time. See how far up it goes (without forcing it.) I bet you will notice that its not very far and that is indicative of what your posture looks like. We’ll come back to this after the stretch.
Now, bend your arm and raise your elbow up, bracing it against a door frame. Then, drop your leg (on the same side) back behind your other leg while dropping the pelvis. Next, to bring the spinal processes further from the upper attachments, rotate your trunk in the direction of the arm that is posted into the door frame. Now that the upper and lower attachments have increased their distance from each other, you can utilize manual soft tissue mobilization by using your free hand to move the stretched lat back and forth. Do this for 30-45 seconds each side.
Back to that test I asked you to perform. Again, raise your arm straight up overhead and notice how much further it goes. You will even notice that you are standing more upright than you were prior to this stretch, thanks to mobilization of the lats and a release of the tight upper thoracic region.
This simple lat stretch does not take very long and can be done in junction with your other posture fixes that you’re performing every day (such as hanging from a bar or doorframe in the morning.) As I mentioned before, you will notice an immediate difference by taking 60-90 seconds to address a problem that you didn’t even know was causing your poor posture.
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For more videos on how to fix posture as well as muscle imbalances and weaknesses, be sure to subscribe to the ATHLEAN-X channel here on YouTube at http://youtube.com/user/jdcav24
Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.