Can resistance training improve my posture?

Yes, resistance training can help to improve posture, provided that the exercises you perform are strengthening the muscles that need it most. Due to the amount of sitting that most people engage in on a regular basis, it is very common for the muscles on the front side of our bodies to become overactive and tight, pulling our chest down along with our shoulders, and pulling our head forward, giving us a slouched appearance. To combat this, you need to make sure that you incorporate stretches in your routine that will improve the flexibility of the muscles on the front of the body. Examples include the standing chest and sternocleidomastoid (neck) stretches. While stretching is important, you should also incorporating exercises into your resistance training program to strengthen the weakened muscles of the core and back that help us to stand up straighter, such as the plank and ball cobra exercises. Another consideration when doing resistance training exercises for improved posture is the amount of weight you use, the number of repetitions you perform, and the speed at which you do them. The muscles that help us to have good posture are more endurance-based, meaning they do not produce a lot of force, but the amount of force they do produce has to be maintained for long periods. Therfore, when doing resistance training exercises for improved posture, you should focus on using light weights, for high repetitions (12-20), and slower speeds of movement in order to adequately stimulate and challenge those muscles.

Yes, resistance training can improve your posture. But often it will ruin one's posture when overemphasizing one muscle group.  Guys in general like to focus on chest work and often develop forward rounded shoulders.  To ensure you resistance training program is improving your posture, make sure you use good alignment when lifting weights.   Also make sure you work exercises that develop your body symmetrically.  A qualified personal trainer can assess your body for postural faults & muscle imbalances and then help you develop the proper training program.

Resistance training can improve your posture if you are performing the resistance training with the proper posture.  If you are performing resistance training improperly, not only will your normal everyday posture deteriorate but the muscle group you think you are strengthening will not get any stronger because with improper posture you will work a completely different muscle than you intended.

There is a saying "Practice makes perfect" but I want to make an amendment to that and say that "Perfect practice makes perfect" because if you are practicing it wrong...well then you will be perfectly wrong!

Sadie Lincoln
Sadie Lincoln on behalf of barre3

Resistance training can absolutely improve posture! By strengthening the muscles that surround our skeletal system, we are able to support a healthy carriage and overall posture. In our barre3 classes we use light weights with isometric movements that help to strengthen the body while creating long, lean lines. These movements can be done without weights and be just as effective. You can visualize creating your own resistance while exercising and this has many postural benefits as well. 

Yes. Resistance training will strengthen the weak muscles that affect posture. For a simple example; rounded shoulders-your upper back is weak and chest needs to be stretched. You can train your body to do mostly anything you want it to do; you’re the boss, unless you’re medically unable to. Try sitting or standing straight when you eat, work, walk or watching your favorite TV show, that’s resistance in itself. Your back, quads (thighs), and gluteal muscle (buttocks) are the three biggest muscle groups in our body. Resistance training the three major muscle groups while keeping your stomach (core) tight automatically improves your posture.

Yes, depending on what part of then posture is off. For example, if you have forward, protracted, or slouching shoulders chances are you have weak upper back muscles but strong chest or frontal muscle. By doing exercises that strengthen the back or cause the shoulders to retract or pull backwards, you'll see better results in posture in no time and you'll find balance on both sides.

Absolutely! Resistance training in good form automatically calls for a tall posture with shoulders pulled back, and together. Exercises such as rows and scapular retraction (a move where you squeeze your should blades back and together) help strengthen your postural muscles. Core strengthening also helps to improve posture by strengthening the entire torso area.
Great question! Yes, resistance training can help with posture. However, I would suggest a Corrective Exercise Program before weight training to correct any muscular dysfunction(s) and prepare the body for more rigorous activity. The use of SMR, Static Stretching and other techniques can improve cervical spine and shoulder issues. I hope this helps and have fun.

Poor posture habits can be corrected with resistance training. However, resistance training alone won't improve posture; each exercise must be performed correctly and with an awareness of body position.

Here are some cues to help with posture awareness: Feet forward, knees over top of feet and never locked, hips neutral and not shifted to one side, tail bone 'anchored' downward, core (your foundation) strong and slightly engaged, rib cage lifted upward from the top of the pelvis, spine tall, roll shoulders forward, up, back, then down, flattened shoulder blades 'slide' down the back, the neck lengthened by pulling the top or crown of the head upward, drawing the chin slightly back and lifting the base of the skull away from the shoulders.

That might be a lot of cues if its the first time you've heard them, and it might feel strange to do, but once you understand the correct position of each piece of the puzzle, you can learn to quickly perform a mental sweep of each area before performing each and every exercise.

Some resistance exercises to improve posture are: calf raises, lateral tube walking, bridges, cobras, squat rows, and single leg balance reach. Core, balance and stabilization exercises are also crucial for training your body to maintain good posture.

Pore posture often occurs from over-active muscles that need to be stretched. Some areas that may require stretching are the outer calves, hamstrings, outer thigh, hip flexors, and the pecs. If you are able to foam roll some of these areas, even better.

Sharecare is a great resource for more information on posture exercises and stretches.

Resistance training can help improve one's posture. In today's "chair born society", we typically find individuals with an overall pronated static posture. Feet are flat, hips are tilted forward, thoracic complex in excessive kyphosis, leading to shoulders rounded forward. 

This altered state will create imbalances through the soft tissue system. Gravity begins to pull at tissue in this pronated example, causing areas of the body to become either tightened or weakened.

Provided that the movement selection is congruent with the weakened areas of the body, resistance training can enhance the tissues strength endurance. Integrated with a systematic flexibility/mobility regimen on the areas that are too tight, and the individual can help pull the skeletal structure back into static alignment. 

Just because you are weight training does not necessarily insure that you will have good posture.
It is important to work all areas of the body equally and to use proper form while lifting. If not, you can cause muscle strength imbalances that can pull your joints out of whack. Once you have under active and over active muscles you are likely to not only have bad posture, you are likely to cause injury to muscles and joints. Muscle imbalances will show up as excessive forward rounding of the shoulders, excessive lower back arch, tightness in some areas, and possibly weakness in other areas. 

The best thing to do is, to have an assessment by a certified personal training professional of your physical strengths and weaknesses, and have a program designed specifically for you, to make sure you are approaching your resistance program in a safe and affective way.

Postural imbalances can be linked to muscles that are overstimulated vs. muscles that are under activated. One of the most common postural imbalances is forward head and rounded shoulders. Resistance training will help to strengthen the muscles of the back that include the lower traps, rhomboids and even external rotators of the shoulder. I like to include prone (on your stomach) exercises such as reverse flies on the ball. While the exercise strengthens your posterior (back) shoulder you are also stretching the pecs and your neck is working to keep in proper alignment without heavy weights. On the reverse side however, you would want to stretch the anterior (front) muscles of your neck, shoulders and chest. This might even include foam rolling the pectorals.

Resistance training most assuredly will improve your posture. Postural distortions stem from some muscles to being overly stretched while others continually flexed which over times weakens them. You have to make a conscious effort to stand and sit in proper form; constantly doing your 5 kinetic chain check:

  • Toes pointed straight ahead
  • Knees over the point of your shoe
  • Hips in neutral
  • Shoulder blades down
  • Head back/ears over the shoulders and chin down

Yes, targeted resistance training with proper exercise selection can help improve your posture. Pore posture is usually caused by overuse or over activation of a muscle or group of muscles regarding one motion of a joint compared to the opposite. Over time this leads to an alteration in the resting length tension relationship around joint and cause poor posture. For example, too often, many individuals spend time in a seated position driving, reading, or at computer screens. The resulting appearance over time is that of forward heads and rounded shoulders from over activation of shoulder internal rotator and protractors (i.e. Pecs). Targeted resistance training that adds loads to the opposite motions of external rotation and retraction can, over time, reestablish the proper joint alignment and improve posture.

JC Pinzon

Yes. Focus on stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the postural muscles that keep you upright such as the rhomboids and paraspinal muscles on your back. Balance in the muscles is important for good posture.

As a Corrective Exercise Specialist I can tell you that not only posture but musculoskeletal pain can be improved through exercise. They go hand and hand. With an imbalance comes dysfunction and pain. This is what makes exercise more than a luxury.

Resistance training will absolutely improve your posture, if done correctly. For example people with rounded shoulders will benefit from exercises that work the back muscles; such as rows and pulls. The same person with rounded shoulders will need to include upper body static stretches into their training. Both a combination of resistance training and flexibility work will improve one's posture.

Yes, but you need to be in good posture (neutral spine) when you are going the resistance training. Neutral spine-staying within the natural curves of your spine is when you body is equally balanced between the front and the back of the body. This puts the least amount of stress on the spine. To get this posture, contract the abdominal muscles, lift the chest, and pull the muscles between your shoulder blades down and in. Think of your front body moving up and back body moving down.

Resistance training of all the core muscles will help support the spine and if you practice this neutral spine alignment you are on your way to improved posture and a healthy back!


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.