Six Tips For an Improved Attractive Posture

Attractive Posture

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There is an epidemic of bad posture amongst men in North America. And it’s not just skinny guys or completely out of shape guys who suffer from this epidemic. Gym goers, workaholics and techies suffer equally. And they all have the same problem with their posture – weak, rounded shoulders, a forward-jutting head, and belly that sticks out.

But you can improve your bad posture, and by doing so, you can make yourself a lot more attractive. You’ll be taller, look stronger, your clothes will fit better and you’ll look more confident, and you don’t have to go to the gym every day or drink a dozen protein shakes to do it.

The main culprit, the most common posture problem I see hanging out in clubs and with my own students, is Upper Cross Syndrome. Upper Cross is a posture imbalance that is usually caused by a sedentary lifestyle combined with lousy bodybuilding technique, and a lot of time spent in front of a computer. It happens when the upper back is weak and flexible, while the chest is stronger and less flexible. The chest muscles wind up pulling the shoulders and the head forwards, giving the sufferer bad posture, weak shoulders and causing the head to jut forward.

What upper cross syndrome does to your game:

Upper cross, like acne or a Nickleback T-shirt, can have a pretty bad effect on your game. The effect on your game is three fold – first, you lose a bit of height and broadness in your shoulders from the curvature of your back. Secondly, and this can be really killer, your natural posture is to always lean in, making you look like a weenie beta male who is showing too much interest. And finally, you look weak and out of shape, no matter how often you go to the gym, or how much you can bench press. Women don’t like muscles, they like strength, and you don’t look strong when you have bad posture. Cultivate an attractive posture!

How to know if your posture is bad:

Looking at someone with good posture from the side, the mid-foot, hips, shoulder and ears will be in a straight line. When you have upper cross, your butt is usually tucked in, and your head juts out. Take a picture of yourself (with relaxed posture) from the side. Does it look like the guy in the photo above? If so, you may have upper cross.

Here’s another test. Stand straight facing away from a wall. Step back with one foot until your heel touches the wall. Now step back with the other foot, and stand naturally. If you have correct posture, your heel, butt, shoulder blade and the back of your head should all be touching the wall. If there’s a big space between your butt and the wall, or between your head and the wall, you might have upper cross.

What causes Upper Cross:

Working in front of computers: This forces you to sit on your butt with your arms in front of you all day. Do this five days a week, and your pectoral muscles shorten, and your back muscles lengthen, causing your shoulders to naturally slouch forward. 

Crappy Workouts: When you go to the gym with the idea of getting big biceps, or a big chest, and you don’t take into consideration your health or athletic ability, muscle imbalances will often result.  Upper cross is usually caused by focusing on chest exercises while ignoring, or under-training the back and legs. Check out my post on ten fitness tips that will really change you.

How to Improve your posture:

  1. You can’t slouch all day and then have good posture as soon as you leave work. Sit tall and hold your shoulders back when you’re at your desk. Get up and stretch your shoulders every hour or so to loosen up.  You may need to adjust your monitor, chair and keyboard.
  2. Work out your back: Chin ups, pull ups, squats, deadlifts and rows are the key to correcting this problem. You should be doing AT LEAST one of these exercises for every bench press or chest exercise that you do.
  3. Do Squats: A lot of people who sit on their butt all day have weak glutes, and overdeveloped quads. This can cause a tilt in the hips giving a poor base for the spine which can cause problems with the upper back , knees and your posture in general.  Learn how to squat properly, while activating your glutes, and you’ll start to straighten out your back from the bottom up.  Nothing fixes your posture better than learning to carry 200 lbs on your shoulders safely. Start with light weights though, till your posture improves. Make sure to follow the links above and read up on how to do squats properly before you try any heavy weights.
  4. Find a balanced workout program: This point really sums up the last two points. Unless you really know what you’re doing (and you don’t if you have upper cross), don’t design your own workout program. Be wary of personal trainers, they’re usually up to date on the latest fads, but don’t necessarily know what they’re doing any more than that Financial Advisor who sold you GM stock in 2006.  Some good workout programs  I would recommend, ones which have stood the test of time and have been used by thousands of people, are Crossfit, Rippetoes and Stronglifts. I especially recommend Stronglifts because it starts with low weights and works up slowly while focusing on technique – these things are really important if you have bad posture, or are a newbie.
  5. Stretch your pecs: You need to loosen and lengthen your pectoral muscles. There are a few stretches here. Warm up, but don’t stretch your back – it’s already too loose as it is.
  6. Play sports: If being healthy and attractive to women is what you’re looking for in a workout, then athletic ability – not big muscles, should be the measure of your workout’s success.  If you’re faster, stronger and more agile on the playing field, you can be confident that your workout is producing results. Sports are just good for you.

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about bodylanguage, I can’t reccomend Beyond Words enough. It’s really an amazing product on how to make your Bodylanguage more seductive, and obviously posture is a huge part of that. Check out the Beyond Words info page for more information.

Chris ShepherdSix Tips For an Improved Attractive Posture
  • http://charmingrogue.com/updates-for-the-charming-rogue%E2%84%A2-free-chapter-of-secrets-of-same-night-lays/ Adonis

    Finally someone gives more practical advice than the standard “put your thumbs in your back pocket” maxim for improving posture…Thanks!
    .-= Adonis´s last blog ..Paul Janka – Setting The Frame =-.

  • http://www.aboutbuildingmuscle.com Body builder

    Hey GREAT post !
    I really like the post and the picture you have choose is really dipcts the posture problem very well….I really like the tips which you have mention….Could you give me some tips on How
    Can I balance my uneven shoulders…!!

  • http://www.bestylish.org Ovidiu

    Great post,
    I spend a lot of time at my computer and I started to worry about my back the first time I felt pain.
    I will definitely apply your advice.

  • http://approachanxiety.com Eric Disco

    One of the best places to look for improving posture is Alexander Technique. What they suggest is something called “Forward Rotation of the Head.”

    If you ‘try’ to have good posture, you may not be able to hold it. Improving your posture is not just about trying to sit or stand up straight. It is not just about tensing the correct muscles, but also relaxing other muscles such as your shoulders. You want your body to be relaxed into alignment.

    Forward Rotation of the Head means that you pull your head up as high as it will go, but you do it more with the back of your head so that your head slightly rotates forward. This flattens out the back and elongates the spine.

    As you do this, you want to relax the shoulders, as a common tendency for guys working on their posture is to hunch their shoulders up rather than down and back.

    Eric
    .-= Eric Disco´s last blog ..Into the Driving Rain with Her =-.

  • http://publicliabilityquoes.com.au Greg S

    Stronglifts all the way..

  • C

    GREAT article.. this really helps :)

  • BC

    What happened to the picture? It’s not showing up in my browser. I’d like to see what he’s talking about.

    • Tenmagnet

      The picture got deleted, but the photo at the top of the page is a good example of an (exaggerated) upper cross posture.

  • http://www.annesamoilov.com/subscribe-quick-byte/ Anne Samoilov

    Even as a Pilates instructor, I do have to remind myself about my posture and do an adjustment every now and then. I find that my awareness has grown so if I do sink into the “computer neck” posture, I can feel it and correct or sit up taller and engage my abs.
    Great article. Thanks for these simple tips.

  • Jeff

    Great advice!

    I would like to add to #2. Be sure to stretch those lats! The lats, like your pecs, are internal rotators, so doing lots of chin ups and pull ups without stretching them will lead to tight lats and thus compound upper cross syndrome.

    Perhaps also try working your external rotators as well as your scapular retractors and depressors.

    This link should explain things better than I can.
    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/hips_dont_lie_fixing_your_force_couples

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  • http://www.kidsartbynatalie.com Natalie

    Thanks for the post! Honestly, the biggest way I’ve improved my posture as of late has been to switch to an adjustable height desk (not a standing desk, an adjustable height desk, mind!) The thing is, I just push a button and it moves from sitting to standing, so I can move in between. Usually I stand for the day, but I do like to take short “sitting breaks,” which is why I love the adjustable feature so much.
    Mine is called a NextDesk Terra, which you can check out on their website if you’re interested (www.nextdesks.com). It really has helped me stand up a little straighter, keep my shoulders back, and stop slouching over my computer!
    Thanks again for the post.
    NG