To continue my series on using yoga to help improve your posture, I want to go a little deeper into core work. Proper core training will give you the strength and endurance to hold better posture, while simultaneously helping with back pain, and reducing the risk of back injury.
We covered basic training for your back muscles (primarily the erectors) with baby cobra, and your glutes with bridge. We moved on to the core with basic Dead Bug. If you didn’t find basic dead bug tough enough, we can dial it up.
Modifications for Dead Bug for a more strenuous core workout. We started toe taps, let’s move up to heel taps.
Set up the dead bug exercise as described previously. Lying on your back, spine neutral, core engaged:
- Raise your legs, knees bent, until your thighs are vertical.
- Hold your shins parallel to the floor.
- Arms at your sides, palms down.
Now let’s crank it up:
- Without moving your left leg, extend your right leg to the floor (straightening the knee as you go)
- Tap your right heel to the floor
- Return your right leg to the start position
- Repeat for the left leg
As with dead but toe taps, do three to five sets of 5 each leg.
Still not challenging enough? Raise your arms straight up and then:
- lower your right heel to the floor while simultaneously
- lowering your left hand to the floor, arm straight.
The key to these exercises is to maintain the exact shape of your spine. Don’t press your lower back to the floor and don’t arch your back as you extend your leg. If you do either of these things, you’re taking your spine out of alignment. If your back changes shape, that’s it, you’ve reached the limit of what your core can handle. Work to that point, and build from there.
Also, don’t press your neck to the floor, keep its natural curve. You are training your core to engage and hold a natural spine curve. In other words, the spine shape you need for proper posture.
In addition to training your core for strength, the longer you hold the dead bug, the more rep and sets you do, you’re training your core for endurance. To StandUpRight doesn’t take a great deal of strength, but to maintain proper posture does take endurance. Dead bug is a great place to begin training for both.