Perfect Posture Progress

It had been several months since I saw my friend. She looked at me and asked if I got taller. Another friend a few weeks before that commented that my posture looked better.

Improving my posture has always been a second-tier health goal of mine. I’ll get excited to try something and then a few weeks later, I’m off on some other goal. It is my belief that if we have to consciously make corrections all day long to our posture that we just get burned out and give up over time. For a positive posture change to occur that would be lasting, there needed to be a way that didn’t require constantly thinking about it.

Last year, I listened to the audiobook Life Force: How New Breakthroughs in Precision Medicine Can Transform the Quality of Your Life & Those You Love by Tony Robbins and Peter H. Diamandis. Most of the book is dedicated to health technology breakthroughs that are either coming soon or are available now for wealthy individuals. But there was one thing Robbins talked about that grabbed my immediate interest – a back stretcher.

#1 Back Stretcher

Robbins mentioned the Backbridge, which is a device for stretching your back. Use it a few minutes a day, twice a day. I didn’t drop the $140 on the device and instead found a $15 substitute on Amazon by Moocoo.

The back stretcher has 3 settings. I started on Level 1 and at first it was challenging to hold the stretch for a few minutes, but I kept at it twice a day for weeks. Then I moved to Level 2 for a while and now I’m at Level 3. Level 3 is now effortless for me, so I only use it a few times a week. This product works.

#2 Shoulder Hangs

About 3 months ago, I started seeing content related to Shoulder Hangs (aka Bar Hangs). I started with 30 seconds for a few weeks and then gradually increased the hang to a minute. I do them every single day. I can feel my upper back and shoulders open up. It is an amazing stretch.

If you don’t have access to a bar, there are yoga poses that will help. Puppy pose, sphinx, and “thread the needle” come to mind. I do all these – and more – daily.

#3 Pushups and Yoga Blocks

When I first committed to doing yoga every day, starting in October 2021, one of the courses on Amazon Prime recommended yoga blocks. I used them for a few classes initially, but after a while, I didn’t need them.

Then one morning my wrists were sore and I got the idea to use the blocks to relieve the pressure on my wrists when I did pushups. That worked great and it also allowed me to do a deeper pushup that stretched my chest better. Accidental win.

An alternative move would be the Corner Pectoral Stretch, which I sometimes do as well.

Last Words

Although I know yoga itself has helped with my posture, the big posture gains recently came from the back stretcher, shoulder hangs, and deep pushups.

I don’t think my posture has ever been better. It is not perfect, but it is improving. And the best part is that I don’t have to think about it.

(Update June 18) #4 Broomstick

I missed a block of text when I published this post last week. Another tool I use daily for posture help is a wooden broomstick that I purchased from the garden center at Home Depot.

I use it for shoulder mobility. There are numerous tutorials online. I use it first thing in the morning and a few times throughout the day. I would rank this as powerful as the back stretcher and the shoulder hangs.


Add yours

  1. Do the yoga blocks help you with holding your shoulders back, or at least less forward?

  2. @seantheaussie – I haven’t noticed a change in shoulder position with the blocks. Just less stress on my wrists – plus the deeper movement.

  3. Inspired by this post to buy a Back Stretcher – will give it a go each evening before bed

  4. @All – I missed an item when I first published. The post has been updated to include broomstick work. Use it for shoulder mobility and twists daily.

  5. This is a fascinating topic. I suspect mobility/stretching has more implications for health all well being than meets the eye.

    You have another post about a 3 minute stretching book (3 minutes to pain free life iirc). Did that book have long term value for you? Or was the routine not enough?

  6. @Hs – That book helped. And like other times, I did it the routine for a while, and then something else came along to grab my attention. Then the daily habit went to a few times a week. Then forgotten.

    In October 2021, I made a daily commitment to do yoga EVERY DAY. Non-negotiable. Since then I haven’t missed a day. The movements in the 3-minutes book overlap a lot with yoga.

    Yoga helped my posture BUT it was the back stretcher, broom stick, and shoulder hangs that helped the most.

    I also do an evening stretching routine.

  7. Yeah, seems like something stupid simple that can easily be internalized/practiced or making a serious commitment are good ways to make a long term change. In my experience, most other approaches don’t last.

    Have you ever looked into PRI? The exercises in that are complicated and difficult to learn, but the theory is very interesting and seems true. The human body is naturally and normally asymmetrical. Modern lifestyles exaggerate our natural asymmetries leading to suboptimal functioning. Pri aims to bring balance and neutrality back to the body. I’ve always been aware of various asymmetry’s in my body, but I always thought they were just morphological or genetic in nature. Such things are actually usually functional and due to how we favor typically the right side of the body.

  8. @Hs – No, I have not heard of PRI. I did a quick search on YouTube. It doesn’t appear to be someone one can learn and do on their own.

  9. Yes and no. It’s not easy to do a self evaluation as a layman, but Connor Harris had some video on his YouTube showing you how. I spent about $300 over a couple sessions getting an evaluation with PRI practitioner. That guy worked some magic, I felt all these muscles loosening up and my legs feeling even for like the first time ever.. he gave me some print outs of exercises to do at home going forward. They are complicated, but they’re not impossible.

    If nothing else the theory is interesting.

  10. MAS,
    Not so sure about the shoulder hangs. They seem to fall into the realm of the “knees over toes guy” world of fixing issues. I know many people swear by them, ( along with the knees over toes stuff) but there are many experts who would be wary. Essentially you are hanging there supported only ( if you go for the full shoulder stretch) by your shoulder’s connective tissues. I suspect many do get short term relief, but I wonder what long term damage is being done.
    Bill DeSimone ( sorry to mention his name again) sent me an article referencing this issue, which basically warned against the practice. It stated that although we are primates, our shoulder joints have evolved to be different from our ape cousins, who still swing through trees and find it comfortable to do so. Just like we have evolved our hip and lower limbs in order to make walking ( and running) easier than they find it.
    Also…yoga blocks for extra depth on push ups? Extra depth? For a long limbed ectomorph. Probably not a good idea. There is a reason why the bench press is favoured by, and produces less injuries for short armed, barrel chested lifters. The angle of their shoulder joints and the depth of the back of their upper arms is far less than their long limbed shallow chested counterparts. Have you ever stretched a rubber band over the edge of a table and as you pulled downwards watched the rubber band go almost white at the edge of the desk due to the stress? Now imagine that as your shoulder joint as you strive for extra ROM. Yes you are only using body weight, but all those reps add up. It’s probably best to back off the ROM. Don’t go looking for solutions for one problem, only to create another.

  11. @Stuart – I test ideas. Most go nowhere. Shoulder hangs are a clear winner for me. A lot of the advice says to work up to multiple minutes. I don’t feel the need to keep adding time. I feel the benefit in 30 seconds. Sometimes I even support my weight slightly.

    A possible response to DeSimone might be that shoulder hangs may be completely unneeded in a pre-Industrial age when we had better posture and more diversity in movement. Now that most us have been born into a world with poor posture habits, a shoulder hang might be a nice reset. It is working for me and many others.

    As for the yoga blocks, I don’t perform all reps in that manner. I add in a few here and there. It may or may not be a factor in my improved posture. Time will tell. I added it to the list for future reference.

  12. I know a guy who had some type of back surgery (googling now) and he grew like an inch or two taller. (G: Most scoliosis patients will gain 1 to 2 inches in height, but this will vary greatly based on your spine’s curve and your height.)

    So i do believe that back and sitting affect your height. I sit so much I have calloused butt-cheeks. I really need to get up more.

    anyway, what are your thoughts on those upside down hangers that were popular years ago? You layed down and then the machine spun you upside down and you hung.


  13. @tb – I’ve never tried one. I know people use them for pain management.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.