The Best Exercise To Fix Your Posture

Image of the evolution of man from early primate to homo sapien to a man sitting at a computer and then hunched over a smarphone

The Problem: Bad Posture

You know your shoulders are slumped. You’ve seen pictures of yourself where your head is forward of your body. Every time you look in the mirror you see shoulders that should be broader.

Let’s face it: your posture sucks.

You probably even have back or shoulder pain.

Don’t worry because I’ve got you covered with this article on fixing your posture.

The Cause: Too Much Desk Jockeying

Our bodies do an incredible job of adaptation, and often times this can be to our detriment. When you sit at your desk all day and then go home to sit at your computer into the evening your body begins to adapt.

Meme that says "I sit at work in front of a computer all day just to afford to sit at home in front of a computer all night"

The muscles of the back responsible for keeping you upright & walking proud weaken from disuse. Other muscles adapt to their shortened state and become tight. This is referred to as “upper cross syndrome” and manifests as a forward head, slumped shoulders, and a rounded upper back(kyphosis).

Great, now you know the scientific name for your posture, but is that what you’re really after? No. No it is not.

What you really need to know now is how to correct it. So let’s move on to fixing your posture with one simple lift that you can do anywhere.

The Fix: The Farmer’s Walk

You do this exercise a couple times a week whether you know it or not.

That thing you do every time you get home from Publix where you load up as many bags as possible into each hand, kick the car door shut with your knee and nearly die getting them inside?

That’s a farmer’s walk. Loading up weight in each hand, throwing your shoulders back, and walking tall.

If you do them right they strengthen all the posture muscles you have neglected sitting at that computer, and build some bad ass forearms & big traps to boot.

How-to: Farmer’s Walk

You can do this exercise any time you have two objects of equal weight that can be carried in your hands.

If you’re in the gym that would be a set of dumbbells. If you are at home it could be cinder blocks,luggage, or groceries–get creative here. If you’re in a well-equipped strength training facility you will have access to farmer’s walk handles.

Farmer’s walk handles are ideal because they allow you to load up any weight you would like and progress linearly. If you read my article on progressive overload then you know why this is important. They also make it easy to pick them up, put them down, and they won’t bump your legs like dumbbells.

Pro-tip: Only have access to one weight? Do your farmer’s walks one-handed . These are known as suitcase carries.

Whichever implement you choose the exercise remains the same: grip the handle tightly, pull your shoulders back(really exaggerate this), and walk.

Keep a tight back and use good deadlift mechanics when picking the weights up and setting them down. This means never round your back. If you are using dumbbells it’s nice to have a box or bench to set them on instead of picking them up from the floor each set

Your sets should be made up of either a set distance or a set amount of time. I prefer time for posture correction, and I suggest you aim for about 30 seconds of continuous walking per set.

Farmer’s walks are great to do 3-4 times a week if you want to fix your posture quickly, but should ultimately be paired with a stretching routine for maximum effectiveness.