How Wall Angels Can Help Combat Poor Posture

Add this Wall Angels exercises into your weekly routine to help combat poor posture. Sitting at desk, driving, texting…all of those activities can contribute to an overly rounded upper back, which can lead to muscular weakness, tightness, and injury later on!

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Do you know anyone with “good posture”? I can name a few dancers, but as a whole, we’ve all got some things to work on in regards to our posture.

Whether we sit at a desk most of the day, spend any time driving in the car, take even a minute to look down at our phones, chances are we do so with a rounded upper back, shoulders pulled forward, and head jutting in front. Envision someone with a hunchback, and there you have it. OUR day-to-day posture!

Postural Kyphosis

kyphosis

Source

The Mayo Clinic defines “kyphosis” as “a forward rounding of the back”. While a clinical diagnosis of kyphosis can stem from congenital, neuromuscular, and/or degenerative factors (which we will not go into), did you know that poor posture, over time, can be considered postural kyphosis?

If you glance up at the illustration above, it’s obvious that the spine should have a natural curve up towards the top (thoracic area). However, after decades of slouching and lack of proper strength training (specifically in the abdominals and back muscles), you can be poorly supported by that kyphotic spine seen above.

Make Friends With Wall Angels

After meeting with your physical therapist or personal trainer, you’ll probably have a solid stretching and strengthening plan for combating poor desk posture. While there are TONS of things you can do to correct postural kyphosis, one of my favorite exercises are wall angels. They sound so innocent, right? Just you wait and see…

Kidding. Sort of.

Stretch and Strengthen

I have a handful of my clients do this exercise before working out with me, but I should really make all of them do it. Heck, I should do them more often! The first time I witnessed the torturous qualities beauties of this exercise was at the physical therapy clinic where I worked. Wall angels were given to most neck and shoulder patients, to simultaneously get the shoulder and back muscles stronger, as well as open up those tight chest muscles.

Now, Go Find a Wall

But first…remember that this is not your personal wall angel prescription. Only after consulting with your medical or health/fitness professional may you consider trying this Smile with tongue out.

To begin, plant yourself against a nice, roomy wall space. Elbows start at a 90 degree bend, with the elbows parallel to the ground.

How Wall Angels Can Help Combat Poor Posture | Hello to Fit

#awkward

Ideally, your heels would be as close to the wall as possible, while making sure (REALLY make sure) that your hips and entire spine are pressed into the wall. If you’re tight, walk the heels further away from the wall and even bend the knees (like a wall sit).

How Wall Angels Can Help Combat Poor Posture | Hello to Fit

Hips, spine, shoulder blades…all against the wall!

How Wall Angels Can Help Combat Poor Posture | Hello to Fit

Rear view. And you can see I’ve got some issues with my back and shoulders >> elevated left shoulder. Yikes!

To get to the stretch-and-strengthen part – although you might already feel some tension while holding the arms at 90 degrees – begin to straighten the arms directly overhead, trying to at least keep the elbows sliding up against the wall. As you get stronger and looser, maybe the forearms and back of the hands will be able to stay in contact with the wall, as well.

Oh, and just like every exercise we go over on this site: keep your abs tight! That will help ensure that your spine stays against the wall.

How Wall Angels Can Help Combat Poor Posture | Hello to Fit

How Wall Angels Can Help Combat Poor Posture | Hello to Fit

Rear view, again! Feel the burn and stretch…

One Wall Angel Closer to Good Posture

Our spine is meant to have natural curves and arches, but over time, we can develop postural kyphosis: exaggerated rounding of the spine due to tightness and weakness in the upper body. And poor posture. What causes postural kyphosis? In a nutshell, not using your muscles! In reality, much of our day-to-day activities can contribute: sitting with poor posture at the desk, poor posture while driving with the shoulders and neck hunched forward, poor posture while texting and looking at our phones.

By incorporating these wall angel exercises into our weekly routine of strength training and stretching, we can keep poor posture at bay.

As a side note: I’ve shared this article multiple times on Facebook, but figured it will be worth your while to see it, yet again, here on Hello to Fit: ‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine.



Let’s chat!

  • Have you ever done wall angels?
  • When is it hardest to maintain good posture throughout your day?
  • Have you ever been treated by a physical therapist?
  • What’s for lunch today?!

By Jess

Jess is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga teacher. She enjoys sharing her passion and enthusiasm for health and fitness with friends, family, clients, and readers.

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23 comments

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe

    January 21, 2016 at 7:04 am

    I just had a conversation with a client about how sore she was after doing back flys for the first time in a long time. We forget how much we neglect all of those muscles that keep our spine and back engaged! Stupid computers.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…The Moral of That Story is…My Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      YES!! The whole posterior chain is all sorts of messed up and weak!

  • Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job

    January 21, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I should definitely do this. My posture is horrible when I’m home blogging on the computer. Eek.
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…3 Reasons To Embrace Your FearMy Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      I had a client who couldn’t get his elbows to touch the wall, he was so tight. We did this twice a week for a few months and he was able to get his entire arm back there!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    January 21, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Ah yes! Haha! My mom was given this “exercise” to do for PT!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Vanilla Rhubarb Yogurt Blue CornbreadMy Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Yesss, so you know of the beauties of this exercise, ha!

  • Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes

    January 21, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I love how simple and effective this exercise is! I need it since I spend so much of the day working at a desk.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Yoga Poses for Stronger Running Form {Sublimely Fit}My Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      I’m sure there’s a wall nearby you can scoot over to and do this during the work day… hehe 😉

  • Kat

    January 21, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Oh gosh my left shoulder is allll sorts of messed up. Its glaringly obvious when I do a push press or even a deadlift. The bar is also tilted more to one side. Yikes!!
    Kat recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #70My Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Oh no!! What happened??

  • Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    January 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I’m definitely guilty of hunching over my keyboard all day. Gotta add this one into the mix 🙂
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Thinking Out Loud 1/21My Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Do it, do it!! 🙂
      Happy weekend, Ange!!

  • Beth @ Sublimely Fit

    January 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I so need this one–thanks, Jess! I know I’m terrible about rounding my shoulders forward, too, and I need to strengthen my back muscles to help combat that. Can’t wait to give these a try!
    Beth @ Sublimely Fit recently posted…How to Jump-Start Your Yoga PracticeMy Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      YES!! Hope you like/”like” them, hehe.

  • Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner

    January 21, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Ok so after reading this post I tried the wall angels and man did it feel awkward! Haha…guess I should strengthen my back more.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Friday Five: My Home Gym Equipment Wish ListMy Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Haha I LOVE that you tried them, Daisy!! They are QUITE awkward…and it doesn’t feel “GOOD”, but I know I should be doing them hehe.

  • jill conyers

    January 22, 2016 at 4:07 am

    Jess you must have been reading my mind when you posted this. I have the tightest shoulders ever! Trying this for sure. Thanks.

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      How did I know? 😉
      Hope you like this one, Jill!!

  • Jen

    January 22, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Love this – I just learned a few cool wall exercises at a new gym this week!
    Jen recently posted…MINIMAL EQUIPMENT TRAVEL FRIENDLY FULL BODY WORKOUTMy Profile

    1. Jess

      January 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Woo woo!! Yay for wall exercises!

  • Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    January 26, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I have terrible posture and it’s something I try to work on daily, but I haven’t tried these!! Thanks!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Weekly Wrap: Mediocre runs and a savings planMy Profile

  • Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet

    January 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I would’ve never thought of this method for helping posture. I can’t wait to give it a try 🙂
    Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet recently posted…WIAW & What’s Goin’ On 1/27/16My Profile

    1. Jess

      February 3, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      It’s a good one, Cayanne 😉 hope you’re having a great week so far!! XOXO

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