I’ve written a lot about posture on this blog before, and I know that all of the information can get a little overwhelming. There are so many factors that are associated with posture: the shoulders, neck, core, back, chest. There are many muscles that are tight and many that are weak. I could list hundreds of stretches and exercises that will help you improve your posture.
But today I just want to focus on one. If you do nothing else to help with your posture, do this exercise.
Band pull aparts are an exercise that are best performed with a resistance band but can also be performed with dumbbells or a posterior delt fly machine.
The action of a band pull is simple – grab a long resistance band and start with your arms straight out in front of you. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band apart bringing your arms all the way back so they are in line with the rest of your body and your body forms the shape of a cross. You should be squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull your arms back. Move slowly as you pull the band back and release it forward.
As I said before, you can do the same movement holding dumbbells. However, holding dumbbells will cause additional muscles to engage, whereas doing the exercise with a resistance band will solely work the shoulders and back.
This is the one exercise I choose for posture improvement because it does many things. The band pull will strengthen the posterior delt (shoulder) and upper back muscles. It also stretches out the chest some, which is important because you likely have a tight chest if you have rounded posture. Doing this exercise while standing will also force you to use your core, just as any standing exercise does.
I am not saying that you should avoid doing any other exercises for your posture. I am saying if you are short on time, at least do this one movement! As you practice this exercise more, you will see your back and shoulders get stronger. You will also want to grab a tighter resistance band to continue progressing. If you are also stretching your chest and neck in addition to the exercise, your posture will certainly improve!