20-Minute Workout for Better Posture (Upper Back & Shoulders)

20-Minute Workout for Better Posture (targets upper back and shoulders)I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, the plan was to spend the 4th of July in Newport, but Joe and I ended up drinking some beer by our pool on Friday and a couple drinks quickly turned into … definitely can’t operate a motor vehicle to Newport (LOL). We stayed in Boston all weekend and it was unexpected, but a blast. Perfect mix of fun (pool time & drinks) and relaxation (10pm bedtimes & Locked Up Abroad season 5 on Netflix … I know, I know, you’re jealous). I got a wonderful 4-mile run in yesterday morning around the river, but other than that we just hung out with friends and enjoyed a quieter city. charles-river-boston-skyline charles-white-pool-selfieImproving my posture has been a focus of mine lately, so in addition to stretching my shoulders and practicing chest-opening yoga poses, I’ve been trying to incorporate upper back strengthening exercises into my workouts. Over the past couple months, I’ve actually noticed a difference, which is awesome. In holding positions like Chair Pose, for example, I can keep my arms by my ears with more ease–little victories!

Today’s workout is made up of some of my favorite exercises for targeting all those good posture-building muscles.

20-Minute Workout for Better Posture

Equipment I Used:

This workout is broken up into three sections. For each section, you’ll complete three sets of three exercises, performed for 3o seconds each. Rest for 15-30 sections between sets. Rest for 30-60 seconds between sections.

20-Minute Workout for Better Posture (targets upper back and shoulders)

SECTION 1 | Kettlebell

Do each exercise for 30 seconds, back-to-back with no rest in between. When you’ve completed all three (90 seconds of work), rest for 15-30 seconds. Repeat twice more for a total of three sets.

  • High Pull (right) | Stand tall, feet about hip-width apart, with the kettlebell on the ground in front of you to one side. Squat down, weight in your heels, grabbing the kettlebell with one hand. This is your starting position. From here, power up to a standing position using your legs. As you do, pull the kettlebell straight up by your armpit, leading with the elbow. Bring the kettlebell back down to the ground softly, tapping it to the floor and going right into your next rep.
  • High Pull (left) 
  • Kettlebell Swing Punches | This exercise just adds a punch to your standard kettlebell swing. Start with kettlebell on the floor between your legs and lift it up to starting position with both hands, flat back, using your legs to lift. With kettlebell hanging between your legs, use your arms as a pendulum, and swing the bell to chest-to-eye level by thrusting with your hips while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. As the bell reaches the top of the swing, bend your elbows out wide to bring it in towards your chest. Immediately punch it back out and swing back down. Your knees are bent at the bottom, but keep in mind the main source of movement is hinging at the hips—not so much squatting.

SECTION 2 | Dumbbells

Do each exercise for 30 seconds, back-to-back with no rest in between. When you’ve completed all three (90 seconds of work), rest for 15-30 seconds. Repeat twice more for a total of three sets.

  • Alternating Renegade Row to Kickback | Start in a plank position, hands gripping dumbbells stacked underneath your shoulders. From here, row your right elbow up towards the ceiling, bringing the dumbbell up towards your armpit. From here, straighten your right arm, kicking the dumbbell back and up. Try to keep your hips level as you do this. Reverse the movement back to starting plank position and repeat on the left.
  • Standing Row – Reverse Fly Combo | Start standing with feet about hip’s width apart, a dumbbell in each hand. Have a slight bend in the knees and hinge forward with your torso, keeping the abs engaged and sending your hips back behind you. Start by rowing your elbows back up behind you. Extend the arms back down and then perform a reverse  fly: keep a soft bend in the elbows as you pull the weights out wide to the side, squeezing your shoulder blades together and engaging the back. Return back to starting position and do a row, alternating back and forth between the two.
  • Shoulder Shaper to Rotation | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, maintaining those 90-degree bends, bring your forearms together in front of your face. Return back out to goal post position. Elbows should stay at shoulder height the entire time. When you’re back in goal post, rotate your palms down, maintaining the 90-degree bend in your elbows and stopping when hands are level with your shoulders (think of closing the lid on a box). Rotate your arms back up to starting position.

SECTION 3 | Bodyweight

Do each exercise for 30 seconds, back-to-back with no rest in between. When you’ve completed all three (90 seconds of work), rest for 15-30 seconds. Repeat twice more for a total of three sets.

  • Swimmer Lift ‘n Pull | Start laying on your stomach with arms and legs outstretched. Engage your posterior so that hands and feet are hovering off the ground an inch or so. This is your starting position. From here, lift your chest and legs off the ground, squeezing your back and glutes. Once lifted, bend your elbows, pulling them back behind you as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Extend arms back out straight and then lower body back to a hover.
  • Hand Release Push Ups | Start in a plank position and begin to bend your elbows as if you were doing a push up, but instead lower your body all the way to the ground. From here, lift your chest and hands off the ground, squeezing your upper back. Lower your hands back down to the ground by your rib cage and press your body back up into a high plank position.
  • Swimmer Kicks | Start laying on your stomach with arms outstretched overhead. Engage your back and glutes to lift your chest and legs off the ground. Your pelvic bone should be your main/only point of contact with the floor. From here, flutter kick your arms and legs, not letting them come to rest on the floor. It doesn’t have to be a huge movement; just alternate lifting one arm and the opposite leg up a few inches higher than the other.

20-Minute Workout for Better Posture (targets upper back and shoulders)WEARING | leggings c/o Athleta // Nike sneakers // Nike sports bra (similar here) // Adidas tank (old but similar here)

Ok, now next up, I need to make a workout where you just do this the whole time: 20-Minute Workout for Better Posture (targets upper back and shoulders)

Looks amazing, right? 😉

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Comments

  1. This looks so good! Awesome workout!

  2. Can’t wait to take this workout to the track with me! Looks awesome, thanks 🙂

  3. Love this workout – so many of us struggle with bad posture because we sit at a desk all day. I’m totally sharing this with my coworkers!

  4. Posture is so important. I am really trying to be mindfu of mine lately. Especially since I am on my computer a lot. Thanks for the workout!

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