Mom Posture: You know those rounded shoulders, that forward head position and an anterior pelvic tilt (belly hanging out and arch in your back). It results from the increased weight of the belly and breasts during pregnancy and then carrying the baby, nursing, changing, all in that hunched position, post-partum.
On top of the aesthetic downside of this posture (namely the pooch and hunchback), these distortions can cause neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, knee pain and the list goes on and on…
The thing is, it is more than just standing up straighter and fixing your posture in the moment, this posture results from months to years or repeated motions. Over time, the muscles around your shoulder and hips get all out of balance: the chest muscles and hip flexors tighten while the upper back and core muscles become weak.
The good news is targeted stretching and strengthening routines can have you looking better and feeling better in no time. Improved posture goes a long way; you can see results relatively quickly and it can give you the confidence you need to push forward with a more intense fitness plan.
Getting your posture on track NOW is a great way to start a new fitness plan!
Complete this less than 10 minute routine 3 days a week and you should start noticing a HUGE (and lasting) difference just a few weeks.
Chose one - the foam roller chest stretch is my fave because you get to lay down.
Foam Roller Chest Stretch:
Lay back on the foam roller, with it the long way along your spine. Make sure your head is supported. Let your arms fall to either side. If you begin to feel numbness in your hands, back off or prop your arms up with a blanket or pillow. Start with 30s and work your way up to a minute.
If you don't have a foam roller, you can use a rolled up yoga mat (as pictured), a folded blanket, or even just towels: take two towels, lay them flat on top of each other, then roll them up the long way.
Upper Back and Shoulder Strengthening:
Band pull apart:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and tailbone tucked. Hold the band in each hand with your arms out in front of you at 45 angles. Pull the band back so that your arms are straight out to the side, squeeze your shoulder blades together (keep them down, don't hunch). Return to the starting position and a slow and controlled manner. Start with 2 set of 10 reps, and try to work your way up 3 sets.
Scapular Wall Slides:
Stand with your back against the wall, butt touching and feet about a foot from the wall. With your hands above your head press your forearms into the wall. Slowly bend your arms and slide them down the wall, keeping your forearms pressed into the wall and squeezing your shoulder blades together. End in the shape of a "W" then slowly move back up. Start with 2 set of 10 reps, and try to work your way up 3 sets.
If you can't keep your arms pressed against the wall throughout the movement, its ok. Just think about trying to; after a few weeks of the stretches you will get a lot closer!
Hip Flexor Stretch
Start on all fours, wrists under shoulder and knee under hips. Bring the left leg up between your hands, with foot flat on the ground. Start with both hands on your hips and push body forward through the hips, stretching that right hip flexor. Lengthen through your upper body and engage your glutes to get them most out of this stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then bring right arm straight up and lean slightly to the left to go further into the stretch. Hold for 20 more seconds then repeat process on opposite side.
Pay close attention to your breathing during these core exercises.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be in a comfortable position so that your back is flat against the floor (not arched). Experiment with different placements of your feet to find the best fit. Take a deep breath in, expanding into your back and your lungs. Exhale: Keeping your torso in one flat piece, press your feet into the floor and squeeze your butt as you lift your hips up off the mat. Come up high enough that your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees and straight through you extended leg. Inhale and hold your position. Exhale: Come back down to the mat one vertebra at a time.
*This one is especially great for new mom's with a weakened pelvic floor from child bearing - but EVERYONE can benefit from this breathing technique*
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor. Inhale deeply to fill your belly. Next, exhale hard through your mouth as much air as possible. This raises your diaphragm and allows for maximum contraction of the transverse abdominis (TVA - your deep core muscles). Lastly, pull your navel in as close to your spine as possible. The more your navel draws in, the more the TVA is contracting. Hold (the contraction, not your breath) for 15 seconds to start, work your way up to 60s. Repeat for a total of 3 reps.
Fixing your posture is a great way to look and feel great! Good posture can instantly change your appearance and confidence. But, vanity aside, prolonged bad posture can cause headaches, neck and back pain, and sap your energy.
With consistency you’ll begin to can see results relatively quickly and create the confidence you need to push forward with a full fitness program.
My TRANSFORM- you program is a great place to keep the momentum going!
It’s a 12 week personalized online fitness, nutrition and lifestyle transformation for moms who are ready for more energy, decreased stress and to feel stronger and more confident in their skin.
It’s a completely mapped out, step-by-step, foolproof method, completely tailored to your body and your needs.
Note: While this "mom posture" has the most common postural distortions for moms, everyone’s body is different. One of the many benefits the TRANSFORM-you programs is you will receive a simple strengthening and stretching routine designed specifically for YOUR body.