Raise your hand if you’ve ever caught your reflection in a mirror and been met with the harsh realization that you have the posture of, um, a koala bear. If your hand is raised, I’m with you. And we are far from alone.
Many of us sit in desk chairs all day, then go home and sit some more, and stare down at our phones during the commute in between, all of which can lead to a more marsupial-like, less J.Lo-like posture. Poor posture—which can come with side effects like back pain and even acid reflux—has been referred to as a 21st century epidemic in recent years. So, seems like many of us could take a lesson from J.Lo—it’s no coincidence that she has both queen-like posture and an enviable set of abs.
As WE/FIT coach Nicole Raglan explains, core strength and posture are directly linked. “The best way to improve your posture is to focus on exercises that strengthen your core,” Raglan says.
WE/FIT is more than just a great workout. It will challenge you. It will empower you. It will become the best part of your day. Ready to try it? The first session is on us.
Raglan has created the ultimate core workout designed to engage the muscles that help to improve posture. All you’ll need are a few dumbbells. Posture your mom would be proud of, here you come!
The Core Workout for Better Posture
Directions: Perform the following exercises in order, resting only as needed between exercises. Rest 2 minutes after the exercises are complete. That’s 1 round. Repeat for 4 to 6 rounds.
1. Dumbbell Half-Kneeling Lift, 8 reps per side
Holding a dumbbell with both hands, get into a half-kneeling position, placing your front knee over your ankle and your back knee underneath your hip, while driving your back toes into the ground. Keep your hips stacked underneath your shoulders by squeezing your glutes and driving your belly button in toward your spine. With your arms straight, hold the weight by your back knee. This is your starting position. Chop the weight across your body and overhead, without letting your torso move. Bring the weight back down across your body to return to the starting position.
2. Bird Dog, 8 reps per side
Move into a table-top position, placing your wrists underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips, and driving your toes into the ground. Keep your spine and neck in a neutral position by directing your gaze to the floor. Slowly extend your left leg straight behind you while reaching your right arm forward. Keep your hips and shoulders square and make sure your lower back doesn’t arch. Hold with your leg and arm extended for five seconds. Repeat on the other side.
3. Dumbbell Dead Bug, 8 reps per side
Lie on your back with your arms extended, reaching toward the ceiling. You may opt to hold a dumbbell overhead, as pictured, if strength allows. Lift your feet off the ground, bending your knees so that your legs create a 90-degree angle. Tighten your abs and press your lower back into the floor. This is your starting position. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, slowly extend your left leg toward the floor, while the opposite leg stays at a 90-degree angle. Throughout the movement, keep your abs tight and don’t let your lower back arch. Without ever touching the ground, slowly return your extended leg to the starting position. Repeat with your opposite leg.
4. Alternating Dumbbell Surrender, 10 reps per side
Kneel with your knees hip-width apart. Bring your dumbbell close to your chest, cupping one end of the weight. This is your starting position.
Slowly move into a squatting position by standing on your left leg, then your right. From the squatting position, step back into the kneeling position with your right knee and then with your left. That’s 1 rep.
Repeat for 20 reps total, alternating which leg steps up first.
5. Bear Tap, 10 per side
Get into a table-top position on all fours, placing your wrists underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips, and driving your toes into the ground. From this position, raise your knees about one inch off the ground. Alternate tapping each shoulder with the opposite hand, being careful not to let your hips sway from side to side.
6. Suitcase Carry, 12 steps per side
Standing, hold a dumbbell to the side of your body with one hand. Create tension with your opposite hand by squeezing into a fist. Now walk for 12 steps. Keep a tall spine and keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down. Don’t let the shoulder that’s carrying the weight creep toward your ear, and try to limit as much side-to-side swaying as you can, especially from your hips and shoulders. Repeat on the other side.