Why You Likely Have Bad Posture

Fitness enthusiasts will criticize a person’s fitness (or lack thereof) for a variety of reasons, some of which are more warranted than others. Many of these criticisms have a significant overlap with what the manosphere criticizes “beta males”, simps, and male feminists for-and from what I’ve noticed, one of the biggest ones is posture.

In these circles, posture is used as almost a shorthand for everything that is unmasculine—references to “hunched over beta males” with womanly body language abound on men’s websites around the blogosphere. And why shouldn’t this be the case? Men and women do tend to have different body language, particularly when they’re deliberately trying to cultivate the virtues of their respective sexes—“power poses” are a well known phenomenon to anybody who works in a corporate environment.

Bad Posture

As with most things, it is a lot easier to describe the wrong way to do things than to do the right thing—however, as this article is meant to be instructive, it is worth going over what bad posture is, before proper posture is discussed.

There are numerous ways to stand incorrectly, but all of them have a few things in common: The biggest one is that the spine is not in a neutral, semi-relaxed position

Sway back is a posture in which the torso above the waist leans slightly back, as if the person was carrying something in front of their chest.

posterior-pelvic-tilt

Hollow back is sort of the opposite of sway back, in which the lumbar curves too much, leaning the torso forward and making the belly bulge outwards-an easy way to characterize this posture is to imagine an infant who is learning how to walk.

hyperlordosis

Rounded shoulder posture is, as its name implies, where the shoulders slump forward in a “gorilla-esque” manner. In this posture, the upper back curves convexly and the head and neck lean forward, in addition to the rounded gorilla shoulders

rounded-shoulders

Flat pelvis(or flat back) is not as noticeable as the others, but can still lead to reduced bodily function-this is where the lower back does not curve enough, which leads the torso and neck to sag slightly forward.

flat_back

Military posture, ironically thought of as a “proper” posture for many years, is a mild form of problem posture as well—this is essentially where the muscles are strained and overly tight, exaggerating all of the elements of good posture to the point where the posture is no longer good.

military-posture

Many factors can cause bad posture, most of which are either created or exacerbated by the forces of modernity—the worst of these being the act of extended sitting. When holding the same position for a long period of time, it’s only natural that your shoulders and torso will begin to sag.

bad-sitting-posture

In addition to this, sitting also removes the light muscular flexion that keeps the torso in its proper position when standing. The harm of sitting can,  however, be easily remedied—just stand up and stretch every hour or so.

Other bad habits can cause improper posture, such as walking around with your smart phone at chest level or wearing a backpack improperly.

Now that you know how bad posture is formed and exacerbated, how can one correct it?

Good Posture

It is commonly believed that “good posture” is something stiff and military-esque, likely due to bad memories of being lectured on our posture from various authority figures in our use. In reality, proper posture should be relatively relaxing and invigorating—it should feel “tight” and “snug” without being stiff and stifling. Eventually, after you have practiced good posture for a few months, being in improper posture will start to feel uncomfortable for you.

Also bear in mind that there is no one universal proper posture—it differs for each person, but with that being said:

If proper posture can be defined in one word, that word would be “symmetry.” Ears are even with the shoulders and the shoulders are straight. The hips are straight and the weight is evenly distributed to each foot. There is a slight and natural curvature to the neck and lower back. Observe the pictures below:

good-posture-side

good-posture

Now that you know what good posture looks like, you are likely wondering how you can obtain it—and the answer is with various stretches and exercises.

Several of the shoulder mobility exercises I showed you in this article will work wonders for stiff upper bodies, and in many cases will clear up posture problems in and of themselves. In case that isn’t enough, there are a few other exercises you can utilize:

Standing against a wall can clear up a lot of problems: Stand so your head, shoulders, and buttocks are against a wall, and place your feet about 4-5 inches away from the wall. Stay like this for a few minutes a day. In addition to being used to determine what your body’s proper posture should be like, this acts as a stretch, and can loosen up some tense muscles.

The static back stretch is another one you can use: Lie on the floor and place your legs on top of a bed, chair, or ottoman. Your knees should bend at a 90-degree angle. Get your hips as close to the object as possible. Lay your arms on the ground at your side. Hold for 5-10 minutes.

static-back

And of course, the last stretch I would do for posture is the subject of my very first Return Of Kings article, the always useful bridge. Doing any bridging will help your posture, so follow that article for details. I cannot stress enough how important bridging is to the physical man.

No matter how you go about doing it, good posture can be yours quite easily.

Read More: Does Your Posture Suck?

53 thoughts on “Why You Likely Have Bad Posture”

  1. I found that doing deadlifts with proper form improved my posture immensely. Combined with bridges and kettlebell swings, it was immensely useful for strengthening the muscles that align the spine properly.
    Also, last year’s post on “electric” and “magnetic” posture was more effective than I expected.

    How To Develop Your Presence

        1. I tell people all the time. If I could walk all the time the way i do a walk around the gym after a heavy double I would rule the world

    1. Personally, I’d switch from a standard pillow to a neck pillow for sleeping. It helps align the spine during sleep, and it will carry over into your daily life. (A similar technique helps anterior pelvic tilt – put a small pillow under the small of your back while you sleep). During the relaxed state of sleep, your muscles should stretch naturally and you should start seeing improvement within a week or two.
      I’d also do the “back against the wall” exercise – you stand against the wall and try to only get the back of your head, your shoulders, and your ass to touch. Maintain for two minutes each day, and you should start to see improvement as your muscles adjust to the new position. (For best results, have a mirror to watch your posture while you do the exercise – if it looks off, correct it).

    2. Work on getting your thoracic spine into extension, and your neck will follow. Put a foam roller under your upper back and lean back. Exercises that help are overhead squats or presses, front squats, and big surprise, deadlifts.

      1. “Work on getting your thoracic spine into extension, and your neck will follow.”
        Sums it up pretty well.
        Some of the exercises listed may not be the best option, though.
        It depends on conditioning levels as well as personal characteristics and overall flexibility.

  2. Almost no one has posterior pelvic tilt unless they literally stand all day and do nothing else (checker/bagger)
    MOST people have anterior pelvic tilt (sitting too much) basically you need to work on posterior chain. Deadlifts, bridges, situps, and work the glute med.
    I wrote a write up about lordosis on my blog 2 years ago if you want to read and suffer from it: https://eruditeknight.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/hyper-lordosis-the-sitters-disease/

      1. A.K.A. the “I’m a mermaid!” pose (I like names that describe to me the motion).
        Combine with the downward dog (“Look! I’m a Triangle!”) for excellent core stretching.

    1. psoas is the key hands down. you had a bit about it in your article but really this should be the focus. a tight psoas pulls your lower spine and creates the lordosis. if one doesn’t increase the flexibility in their psoas they will never remove the lordosis. sitting in a squat 20 minutes a day is a good start, but really pursuing a yoga practice is the best way to get there.

  3. Keep your bro-ness in check at the gym and don’t overdo bench press. It will pull your shoulders forward and hunch you over. Two back exercises per every chest exercise.

    1. The BP is notorious for producing the hunched over look but it does not necessarily cause this if you stretch properly after each session.

  4. Larsen I want to thank you for this article. Posture is something that I’ve worked on very hard and still, at times, struggle with. This is a terrific article! 10/10

  5. Nice article – I have posture issues and this helps a lot. However, this article naturally made me wonder – what posture is best while banging a woman. Is the stand-up position optimal, with her legs wrapped around your waist…or is doggie-style the player’s top option, for proper back alignment. Hopefully somebody will step and answer these questions in a future ROK piece.

      1. That makes great sense, and I’m glad you helped stop my dizzying quandary over the issue…so by “balance”, you must mean, balancing on your feet, with her legs wrapped around your waist (???).

        1. Don’t overdo any given exercise. You must balance your bench and your pulls, your deadlifts and your “good mornings”, your doggy-style and your reverse cowgirl.
          Yin and yang.

        2. Excellent points. Some personal suggestions here, for optimum manly posture, while banging a woman –
          The SJW – Standing Joined at Waist
          The MGTOW – Men Grinding Topside On Women
          The ORBITER – On Rear, Behind It, Target Entry Rump

    1. Once I did some huge abs training (squats plus hanging legs raise) before sleeping with a girl. I was fucking her from behind, doggie-style, when my abs started to ache. The pain soon became so important I could not maintain my concentration. Do the abs training on a day when you are unlikely to have sex.

  6. I have also heard the “stand against a wall” suggestion as a way to train your body into taking a normal posture. Working at a computer is horrible for your posture. Your spine compresses like 4x as much sitting vs standing.

  7. Great article! Very important information, especially as more and more people have become sedentary and tethered to their cell phones… poor posture is rampant!
    Posture can say a lot about a person… Correct posture conveys an image of confidence, strength and physical ability, while poor posture can easily be interpreted as weakness and inadequacy.
    One of the best things that I’ve found to work for correcting your posture is weight training – just the basic, old school techniques, with an emphasis on correct form, paying equal attention to all muscle groups. Use the mirror in the gym as a “tool,” to not only to watch your form, but become more self-aware of your posture. With time, as your muscle mass improves, so will your posture.

    1. Makes you wonder if this is not just all about appearance. ‘Can be interpreted as …’. So what. Let people interpret what they want. As long as you feel comfortable.

  8. Proper form deadlifts , medium weight to a bit heavy but not straining, are great for posture. Then, after your deads, do some hanging or pull-ups on a bar and stretch your back. Then, gently put your hands on your back and bend back “popping” anything that needs to be adjusted. Ahhhh, feels great.

  9. I think that ‘bad posture’ is often just a sign of how we feel or the issues that concern us at the time. Just ‘exercising’ it away does not sound universally helpful to me. I tried that for a time and it didn’t last. On the other hand, when I feel better overall, my posture adapts automatically, without me even thinking about it.

      1. Ooh nooo barefoot only. A fat chick could hurt you doing that. A medium chick that knows what she’s doing is better than a chiropractor.

  10. Good stuff. Very important.
    It was actually ballroom dancing that taught me this – they pretty much said if you’re comfortable you’re doing it wrong.
    I think I grew two inches!

  11. This is such a timely article for me. Thanks Larsen, I’ve really been meaning to improve my posture lately.

  12. Whenever I see a kid slouching, playing video games, it looks like the atmosphere is crushing him into a little ball of goo.

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