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Top Barre Exercises to Improve Posture: Why Bar Method is the Solution for Better Posture
Imagine a workout that leaves you feeling your best beyond the end of class. Imagine a workout that transforms your entire body, head to toe. Imagine a workout that leaves you standing a little bit taller, not only because it’s improved your posture, but because you leave feeling more confident, too. This total mind and body workout you’re imagining is The Bar Method. Beyond making you mentally and physically stronger, consistently taking barre classes leads to improved posture. Our classes put a special focus on strengthening a specific muscle group that’s key to good posture called the “erector spinae”. This group is responsible for keeping your chest lifted and your head over your spine.
Why is posture so important?
Your posture is affected by a multitude of external factors. Things like genetics play a role, but so do your daily rituals, positions, and habits. Hectic routines and mobile lifestyles contribute to bad habits and bad posture. Slouching in chairs, carrying heavy backpacks or purses, and staring down at your phone can cause postural issues which can lead to more severe issues like neck pain, shoulder impingement, carpal tunnel, back pain, tendonitis, and injury over time. The silver lining? It’s never too late to correct your posture! From making simple changes in your daily routine and fitness routine, you can reduce body pain and improve your posture in only a matter of time.
Barre Exercises to Improve Posture:
Our signature Method was developed to provide both a safe and challenging workout for all ages and every body type. Improving posture is just one of the many benefits of barre. Our instructors are trained diligently to identify subtle postural changes in their students to improve alignment and muscle activation. In addition, we teach students the value of concentrating on how you stand and move, as well as how you stabilize your body while working the muscles in your limbs. These are some of the exercises you may see in class that are aimed to improve posture. You can also practice these at home to continually see postural enhancements.
1. Lat Pulls
The Bar Method’s lat pulls are here to bring sexy back, literally! Lat pulls are not only amazing for building back strength, but they are also an excellent way to stretch out your shoulders and chest. Your lats run along the side of the back and help you to stand tall while also keeping you safe from back issues and injuries.
How to do Lat Pulls
Stand with your feet hips-width apart and parallel. Soften your knees, grip your glutes, and bend forward at your waist to align your shoulders over your hips. Use 2-4 lb. weights and bend your arms into 90-degree angles. Open your forearms out to the sides until your arms look like two L-shapes. Slide your elbows behind the plane of your spine. Draw your elbows in closer towards each other and do about 30 reps to finish.
The Bar Method tuck addresses common posture problems that activities of our day-to-day attribute to. Without strong back, ab, and glute muscles we tend to slump which is not good news for our spine. The Bar Method tuck position recruits all three areas to help strengthen and elongate. This exercise protects your spine, stretches hip flexors, improves coordination, trains and tones core muscles, and gives you fantastic posture.
How to Tuck
First, you draw your shoulder blades downwards. This action forces two sets of core muscles to turn on, namely your upper back muscles, which help to protect your shoulders, and your abdominal muscles, which protect your back. Next, you relax your lower back. Releasing tension in your lower back muscles is easy once you’ve lifted your chest and engaged your abs. Stand up and pull your shoulders down and abs in. Lastly, grip your glutes. Your glutes qualify as core muscles because they keep your hips level when you walk and run.
3. Rhomboid Pulls
To truly improve your posture, you need to target all areas of your back and at The Bar Method, we’ve always got your back. Cue, rhomboid pulls. The rhomboids are postural muscles that pull the shoulder blades in towards each other. They help to hold you upright with good posture as your focus on flattening your upper back.
How to do Rhomboid Pulls
You’ll stand in a similar stance as lat pulls. Focus on bending your arms back into 90-degree angles and lifting your arms away from your torso until your elbows are 45-degrees lower than your shoulders. Pull your elbows behind the plane of your spine. Remember to keep your forearms parallel to the floor and allow your weights to open slightly wider than your elbows. Angle your weights diagonally in towards each other and pull your elbows back towards one another in a one-inch motion back. Continue for about 20-30 reps. Feeling ambitious? Take this exercise up a notch and simultaneously increase your heart rate by performing this exercise in a second position. Take your feet out wide and turn your toes slightly in to match the turnout of your knees. Bend your knees and come down a third of the way. Grip your glutes and bend forward at your waist. Feel free to press your knees down an inch about 20 times to warm up before focusing on the rhomboids.
4. Standing Seat
While the name of this exercise might insinuate that we are targeting our perky peaches, standing seat offers so much more than that! Standing seat is a full-body seat focused exercise that’s designed to strengthen you all the way from your ankles to your neck. This exercise requires focusing on perfect posture while specifically targeting your glutes. Building glute and back strength will not only help you walk around safely and comfortably; it will also have you standing a little taller.
How to do Standing Seat
To begin, face your support and stand a comfortable arm’s length away from it. Place your hands lightly on top of your support. Draw your heels together and separate your toes a couple inches apart. Soften your knees, grip your glutes, and tuck under. Bend forward at your waist. Place your right foot on the floor behind you and tuck again for good measure. Use your glutes and your hamstrings to lift your foot off the floor. Press your leg back one inch against your tuck. Focus on your back muscles and use them to draw your shoulder blades closer towards one another and down your back. Continue to press your leg back in one-inch movements while still engaging your postural muscles to hold your spine upright. Within seconds you’ll start to feel the burn along your entire backside!
5. Heel Lifts
Our next posture boosting Bar Method movement can be done anywhere, making it the perfect burn when taking a break from your desk or incorporating additional movement into your day–to–day. Sculpting your calves in this fast sizzle exercise can also improve your posture. Next time you’re in class and your instructor offers up that challenge option to raise your arms or take a balance during heel lifts, go for it! Use it as an opportunity to strengthen your posture muscles. It may be a fast exercise, but it is a powerful one as well.
How to do Heel Lifts
Start by standing a comfortable arm’s distance away from your support and allow your hands to lightly rest on it. Draw your heels together and turn your feet out into a comfortably wide position. Straighten your legs, grip your glutes, and tuck under. Be sure to bend forward at your waist and begin to lift and lower your heels. Lift as high as comfortable for your and make an effort to lower your heels all the way to the floor in between each rep. Go for the challenge and raise one or both arms up! Drop your shoulders down your back and feel your postural muscles engage. Perform 60 reps.
These are just some of our favorite posture–improving barre exercises but there are so many more to explore. Think plank, pushups, and one-weight lifts. These movements recruit the erector spinae to help keep your head up and your back elongated. Curious to learn more? Join us in class and find out for yourself.
Tips for Practicing Better Posture Inside and Outside of the Barre Studio:
Beginning to practice better posture starts with a quick inventory on your current physical stature. Assessing your posture on a daily basis will help to correct postural imbalances while helping you maintain the superb posture you’ve mastered by taking Bar Method classes. Try out these 5 easy tips:
- Lift your chin: Reminding yourself to lift your chin will help decrease any unnecessary stress on your cervical spine.
- Press your shoulder blades closer together: Whether you’re sitting at your desk or standing in line for coffee, begin to perform small isometric squeezes of your shoulder blades. This will help to lift your chest and stretch our tight, rounded shoulders.
- Pull your abdominals in: You can do this all day, every day! This action will activate your deep abdominal muscles, similar to the work you do in flatback. As you strengthen these muscles, you will protect your back and help to flatten your stomach.
- Stand with relaxed legs: Like your instructor tells you in Bar Method class, avoid locking your knees. This puts increased pressure on your lumbar spine.
- Stand tall and be confident: Be proud of your newfound posture and own your body by remembering to stand tall. Not only will your inner confidence shine through, you’ll look leaner while doing so.