5 Best Exercises for Improving Posture

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Good posture promotes a healthy, strong back and helps keep your body running in tip top shape. Although the best way to improve your posture is to practice sitting properly, there are also several exercises that can help strengthen your abdominals and back.

A stronger core makes it easier to maintain good posture and helps you fight fatigue.

1. Wall Squats

Wall squats are a great way to strengthen your buttocks. A strong bottom allows you to distribute the weight on your spine evenly, which reduces pain and prevents spinal issues.

  • Begin by standing with your back up against a wall.
  • Keep your heels 12 to 18 inches from the wall to ensure that your body is properly supported.
  • Slowly begin lowering down as if you were going to sit down in a chair.
  • Make sure that your knees are kept at a 90 degree angle and that your back stays up against the wall the entire time.
  • Hold the squat for 15 seconds and slide back up.
  • Repeat five to ten times.

2. Plank

Plank position is used in both yoga and Pilates to strengthen the core muscles, particularly your abs, back and your neck.

  • Begin by lying face-down on the floor and on your forearms.
  • Straighten your legs to lift yourself up and balance on your toes.
  • Your weight should be evenly distributed between your forearms and your toes.
  • Keep your back straight and your abs pulled in.
  • Hold the pose for 10 seconds and then lower down.
  • Repeat five to ten times.

3. Superman

The Superman exercise will improve your flexibility and strengthen your back.

  • Start out on all fours.
  • Starting with your left leg, extend your right arm forward and your left leg backward simultaneously.
  • The pose should form a straight line from the tip of your right arm all the way back to the toes of your left leg. Stretch in both directions
  • Hold for 10-15 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

4. Bridge

The bridge exercise works your butt, abdominal muscles and your back. All of these muscles play an important role in your posture, and strengthening these areas can help reduce pain and fatigue.

  • Start out by lying flat on your back on the floor and with your arms at your sides.
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your butt and abs up to create a bridge.
  • Keep your neck relaxed and your abs tight. Your legs should be doing most of the work.
  • If you can, straighten your arms and interlace your fingers underneath your back. This places most of the weight on your shoulders and gives you more leverage.
  • Hold the position for ten seconds and lower down to the ground.
  • Repeat 10 times.

5. Cobra Pose or Upward Facing Dog

Cobra pose and upward facing dog are similar poses used in Yoga to help elongate and stretch the upper body. Both poses encourage good posture and increase the flexibility of the spine.

Cobra Pose

  • Begin by lying face-down on the floor.
  • Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor.
  • Push your shoulders back and away from your ears.
  • Slowly begin lifting your chest and upper back.
  • Use your arms for support, but try not to place any weight on them.
  • Hold the pose for five to ten seconds.
  • Repeat ten times.

Upward Facing Dog

  • Begin by lying face-down on the floor.
  • Press your hands into the floor and elevate your chest.
  • Continue elevating your chest until your arms are completely straight.
  • Push your shoulders away from your ears and arch your back.
  • Hold this pose for five to ten seconds and release.
  • Repeat ten times.

Further Resources


  • Allison says:

    I do wall squats in the morning while I brush my teeth; at first it was challenging to brush and to hold the squat but in time you get used to it. I started doing these for my butt and legs but I noticed my posture improved as well, as I was a bit hunchbacked due to my job.

  • Michael says:

    Thanks Peter, I was looking for a list of effective exercises to improve my posture but most of them aren’t as thoroughly as yours, they just say what exercise you should do, they don’t explain it step by step. My doctor warned that I could affect my spine in the long-run if I don’t work on my posture.

  • Savannah says:

    Honestly, there’s nothing yoga can’t do: it will improve your posture, your flexibility, your mind state and it can help you lose weight. I think in this case the Upward Facing Dog might be a bit more effective than the Cobra pose but this varies from individual to individual so it’s your choice.

    • Norma says:

      Everyone’s been recommending yoga lately. It does look like it will help (everything) but I just can’t get the hang of it from DVDs, and I don’t have a schedule predictable enough to sign up for a class.

  • Ashley says:

    Planking can be pretty tough if you’re doing it for the very first time. You have to be aware of your body and have it properly aligned otherwise you could seriously injure your spine. Just start with 5-6 seconds or as long as you can hold it and then up it to 10 seconds and even more.

  • Audrey says:

    The first time I did Superman I was completely out of sync and out of shape; it’s a move that works almost all of your muscles and it helps improve your posture. If you hear a snap/crack or the slightest discomfort STOP IMMEDIATELY because you are in the position to do even more damage.

    • Bart says:

      I don’t know, the Superman doesn’t look all that hard. Of course, one should always listen to their body though.

  • Hannah says:

    Bridges were really hard for me, but I did find them to be *extremely* effective at ending my hip pain. I was in so much pain I could barely move, but within a week of doing 5 bridges daily I was back to walking, and back to normal pretty soon.

  • Manuel says:

    This is a very comprehensive list. some of these I already knew, but there’s some new ones here as well! i’ll keep doing my bridges and planks, but I’ll be adding wall squats as well. My doctor recommended the upward facing dog, but I find that one feels good for a bit, but hurts afterwards.

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