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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.