I got an email from Jim Lin over at The Busy Dad Blog a couple of days ago. We were talking about some of the exercises that I use for my programming and he was interested in learning how to do a stick-up.
The stick-up is one of my favorite everyday exercises. It allows you to really open up your chest and use all those little muscles in your upper mid-back (the ones responsible for giving you good posture).
Because we live in an "anterior dominant" world...we drive, type on a computer, eat, converse, spend "chest-day" Mondays bench pressing...our "non-mirror" muscles tend to get neglected. I'm willing to bet that 4 out of 5 people that work in an office have poor posture just from sitting at their desk all day typing away at their computers.
If you get the chance, get up from your desk a couple of times a day and do some stick-ups. Perform 10 reps 2-3 times daily and you should see a marked improvement in your posture.
(I apologize for the "burglar look" in these pictures. But the look and the exercise fit though.)
1. Start by planting yourself against a wall so that your head, shoulders, elbows, knuckles and tail bone are contacting the wall. Initiate the movement by pulling your elbows in and contracting all of your upper back muscles pulling your shoulders down and back.
2. Slowly, ensuring that your shoulders do not elevate (travel upwards toward your ears), raise yours arms along the wall maintaining contact with the wall at all times (ie. Your knuckles or elbows should not come off the wall at all).
Couple this exercise with some stretches for your pecs (chest) and you'll be sitting and standing upright in no time.