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The Perfect Posture Workout

The Perfect Posture Workout

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Slouching doesn’t just visually pack on the pudge; it also causes neck and back pain, decreases oxygen flow to your muscles, and reduces flexibility, upping your risk of injury. This plan—designed by Doug Holt, a trainer and owner of Conditioning Specialists in Santa Barbara, CA combats chest tightness (which exacerbates bad posture) and strengthens the muscles that pull back the shoulder blades. The result: a sculpted upper body that balances out fuller hips, making you appear slimmer.

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Getting Started

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How it works:

Two or three times a week, do 1 set of each of the first three moves in order, resting for up to 60 seconds between sets. Repeat twice. Finish with the T stretch.

You’ll need:

A pair of 2- to 5-pound dumbbells, a stability ball, a 6- to 10-pound Body Bar, a resistance tube, and a foam roller.

Y RAISE

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WORKS: SHOULDERS AND UPPER BACK

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie facedown with belly centered on a stability ball, legs extended behind you, feet wider than shoulders. Extend arms toward the ground to make a “Y,” palms facing each other [A].

Raise weights overhead [B], lower; repeat. Do 12 to 15 reps.

RIGHT-ANGLE PRESS

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WORKS: UPPER BACK

Hold a Body Bar at chest height in front of you, elbows bent 90 degrees
and palms facing ground, and stand with feet shoulder-width apart [A].

Keep upper arms parallel to ground and rotate shoulders back, bringing bar behind your head [B]. Lower bar to starting position and repeat. Do 12 to 15 reps.

HIGH ROW

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WORKS: SHOULDERS AND UPPER BACK

Anchor the center of a resistance tube at chest height in front of a stability ball. Sit on the ball and hold both handles shoulder-width apart at chest height in front of you, palms facing the ground (tube should be taut) [A].

Bend elbows, drawing hands toward shoulders [B]. Return to starting position and repeat. Do 15 to 20 reps.

T STRETCH

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STRETCHES: CHEST

Sit in front of one end of a foam roller with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lie back so head, shoulders, and upper back are on the roller; then create a “T” by extending arms out to sides, palms facing up [shown]. Hold for 1 minute