Physical Therapy Posture Exercises To Improve Your Health

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Incorporating physical therapy posture exercises into your daily routine can significantly improve your posture and overall well-being. As someone who has had many visits to the physical therapy clinic, I know how bad posture can lead to neck pain and low back pain.

By focusing on strengthening the muscles responsible for maintaining proper posture, you can reduce pain, prevent injuries, and boost your self-confidence. Here I am sharing some effective exercises to help you achieve perfect posture.

As you begin your journey towards better posture, it’s essential to understand the importance of engaging specific muscle groups.

Your physical therapist can guide you through exercises that target your shoulder blades, neck, and core muscles, ensuring you maximize the benefits of your workout. Some simple exercises, such as the prone T, prone I, and prone Y, can help improve neuromuscular recruitment and give you greater control of your posture.

Remember that consistency is key when it comes to reaping the benefits of physical therapy posture exercises! Set aside a little time each day to perform targeted workouts, and gradually increase the intensity and duration as your strength and balance improve.

With patience and persistence, you’ll begin to notice continued improvements in your posture – and as a result – improvements in your overall health and wellness.


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this is not to be considered medical advice. I am a certified personal trainer with education in mobility, and I have years of personal experience with posture correction and posture-related pain. Due to my connective tissue disorder, Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, I have learned many different exercises that have helped me with posture improvement. I am sharing those with you here. For a personalized treatment plan, please reach out to your own physical therapist or medical provider.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.

Importance of Proper Posture

Maintaining a correct posture is vital for many aspects of your physical well-being. When you have good posture, it means that your body’s alignment is in its natural, healthy position. This positioning allows your muscles, bones, and joints to work efficiently, reducing the risk of strain or injury.

Having a proper posture can have a significant impact on your body awareness. When you are mindful of your alignment, you become more in tune with your body, noticing the subtle differences that occur when you’re standing, sitting, or moving. This improved awareness can help you make adjustments as needed, preventing poor posture from turning into chronic musculoskeletal issues.

The benefits of good posture stretch beyond physical health. Proper alignment helps evenly distribute gravity’s force on your body, ensuring that no single area bears too much stress. By maintaining a balanced posture, you can prevent undue wear and tear on your joints and muscles while also improving your breathing and even your overall energy levels.

One of the keys to achieving correct posture is ensuring an efficient relationship between your head, neck, and spine, as they are fundamental to your body’s overall functioning. To develop good posture habits, consider the following tips:

  • When standing, ensure that your feet are hip-width apart, and your weight is evenly distributed between them.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed, avoiding the tendency to hunch them up around your ears.
  • Lift your breastbone slightly to align your spine properly, without over-correcting your posture.
  • When sitting, focus on keeping your back straight and supported by a chair.

Incorporating posture exercises into your physical therapy routine can help you achieve and maintain a healthy alignment.

Proper posture can significantly improve your overall health and well-being. By working on your alignment and body awareness, you can preserve your musculoskeletal health and enjoy life to the fullest, free of pain and discomfort.

Common Postural Disorders

Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture, also known as “text neck,” is a postural disorder in which the head is positioned forward relative to the shoulders. This imbalance can lead to muscle strain, discomfort, and even pain. (I know, because this is a big issue for me.)

forward head posture

There are several exercises and stretches that can help correct forward head posture, including:

  • Chin tucks: Sitting or standing up straight, gently draw your chin back toward your neck, creating a “double chin.” Hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Neck stretches: Gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side. Do this 10-15 times per side.

Remember to consult with a physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.


Kyphosis is a postural disorder characterized by an excessive curve in the upper back, resulting in a rounded appearance. This condition can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.


Some exercises that may help improve kyphosis include:

  • Wall slides: Stand with your back against a wall, bend your knees slightly, and slide down the wall into a squat position. Hold for a few seconds, then return to standing. Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Thoracic extensions: Sit with your spine in neutral position and your shoulder blades down and back. Extend your upper back by arching it slightly, making sure not to move your lower back. Hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat 10-15 times.

I personally find that tightness in my chest muscles also contribute to my shoulders rounding forward. Some gentle chest stretches daily (using a door frame is helpful) are beneficial for loosening those tight muscles while you strengthen the back.

Lordosis (or Swayback)

Lordosis is an excessive inward curve in the lower back, which can lead to discomfort and pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help minimize the symptoms and improve your overall posture.

lordosis and correct posture

A few exercises to consider for lordosis include:

  • Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly tilt your pelvis back and then forward. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
  • Hip flexor stretch: Stand near a supportive surface and take a large step forward. Keep your back straight and maintain a tall posture. You should feel a stretch in the front of the hip of your back leg. Hold for a few seconds, then switch legs. 

Before implementing any new exercises, it’s important to consult with a physical therapist who can guide you through the proper techniques and ensure that the activities are suited to your specific needs.

Physical Therapy for Posture

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in helping you maintain proper posture. As you know, good posture is essential for reducing muscle strain, preventing injuries, and promoting overall well-being. Your physical therapist can help you identify and correct posture problems by recommending targeted exercises.

One effective exercise to correct posture is thoracic extension. This exercise helps to lengthen and strengthen the muscles in your upper back while improving your range of motion. To perform this exercise, simply lay on your back on a mat or firm surface.

In addition to thoracic extension, here are 12 exercises that can help improve your posture:

  • Child’s pose
  • Forward fold
  • Cat cow
  • Standing cat cow
  • Chest opener
  • High plank
  • Side plank
  • Downward-facing dog
  • Pigeon pose
  • Thoracic spine rotation
  • Glute squeezes

These exercises focus on strengthening your postural muscles and increasing your flexibility, leading to better posture over time.

childs pose

Another method that can aid in posture improvement is using kinesiology tape (shown below). This tape can be applied to your middle trapezius and rhomboid muscles, which helps support your shoulder blades and spine.

kt tape and kt recovery gel

The tape provides a gentle pull, reminding you to maintain proper posture when you start slouching.

Exercises for Better Posture

Stretching Exercises

Incorporating stretching exercises into your daily routine can help improve your posture and alleviate postural dysfunction. Here are a few effective stretches to try:

  1. Child’s pose: This relaxing yoga pose gently stretches your spine, hips, and shoulders. Simply sit back on your heels, spread your knees slightly apart, and extend your arms forward while resting your forehead on the floor.
  2. Forward fold: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend forward, allowing your head to hang heavy while your arms dangle toward the ground. This stretch targets your hamstrings and lower back.
  3. Chest opener: Stand tall and clasp your hands behind your back. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your hands upward to stretch your chest muscles. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat.
  4. Pigeon pose: This effective hip stretch is performed by extending one leg behind you, bending the other leg in front, and lowering your torso towards the ground. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Strengthening Exercises

In addition to stretching, strengthening exercises also play a crucial role in improving posture. Try the following exercises to help build postural support:

  1. Plank: Hold a push-up position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Engage your core muscles and hold for as long as you can. Aim for 30 seconds to a minute.
  2. Side plank: Lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder, and legs stacked. Lift your hips off the ground and hold for 20-30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
  3. Thoracic spine rotation: Lie on your side with your knees bent and arms extended in front. Rotate your top arm towards the opposite side, following it with your eyes. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.
  4. Glute bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips up, creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for a few seconds and then lower. Repeat 15-20 times.

By incorporating these stretching and strengthening exercises into your daily routine, you can effectively work towards achieving better posture and preventing postural dysfunction. Remember to be consistent and patient with your progress, as improvement takes time and effort.

Related: Try these plank variations for a new challenge!

Targeting Key Muscles and Joints

Neck and Shoulders

A common source of discomfort, neck and shoulder pain can be caused by poor posture. To target these areas, practice exercises like the thoracic spine rotation and chest openers to stretch tight muscles and strengthen your upper back.

When sitting for long periods, make a conscious effort to keep your spine straight and shoulders pulled back.

Core and Abdominals

Your core is essential for maintaining good posture, as it supports your spine. Strengthening your core will help alleviate pain and discomfort in multiple regions of your body.

Incorporate exercises like anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt into your routine, aiming for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Lower Back

Many people struggle with lower back pain due to weak and imbalanced muscles. Strengthening the quadratus lumborum and rhomboids can help reduce pressure on the lumbar spine.

One way to achieve this is through a lumbar roll exercise, which targets these muscles and promotes proper alignment.

Glutes and Hips

Strong glutes and hips play a crucial role in supporting your posture. Focus on exercises like glute squeezes and tensor fascia latae stretches to strengthen these muscles and improve joint stability.

  • Gluteus Medius: Important for hip stabilization
  • Gluteus Maximus: Provides support to the lower back
  • Pelvic Floor: Keeps the pelvis aligned and stable

Related: See our favorite gluteus minimus exercises here!

Pain Relief

Improving your posture through targeted exercises can greatly reduce pain in various parts of your body. Remember to also maintain proper alignment and support throughout the day, such as when standing or sitting.

Practicing these exercises regularly can have a significant impact on your posture, reducing pain, and improving overall health. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routines.

Benefits of Posture Exercises

Posture exercises can greatly improve your overall well-being. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can experience numerous benefits.

Firstly, posture exercises help to develop your strength. When you engage in these exercises, you are working on activating and strengthening various muscle groups. This includes muscles in your back, shoulders, and core.

In addition to strength, posture exercises can also improve your flexibility. Flexibility is vital for proper spinal alignment and maintaining healthy muscle function. Working on specific stretches and movement patterns can help to increase your range of motion, allowing you to move with greater ease.

Another essential benefit is improved balance. By focusing on postural alignment, you can achieve better stability and coordination. This can in turn help you feel more grounded and confident in your daily activities.

yoga stretch exercise

For those suffering from back pain, posture exercises can offer relief. Poor posture often contributes to tension and strain in our muscles, leading to discomfort. By improving your posture through targeted exercise, you can alleviate this pain and lead a more comfortable life.

If you’re looking to manage your weight, good posture can support this process by increasing muscle activation and energy expenditure. With proper alignment, your body is more efficient, allowing you to benefit from your workouts more effectively.

Lastly, proper posture is the foundation for strong core strength. By engaging your core during posture exercises, you can develop this crucial muscle group, supporting your long-term physical health and stability.

So, by incorporating posture exercises into your fitness routine, you can reap the many benefits they provide, including improved strength, flexibility, balance, reduced back pain, weight management, and core strength. Remember that it’s never too late to start working on your posture, and these exercises can offer positive changes for your overall health and well-being.

Yoga and Posture

Yoga is an excellent way to improve your posture through various poses that strengthen and stretch your muscles. This ancient practice helps build body awareness, allowing you to identify imbalances and develop better alignment. Below are some yoga poses to help improve your posture, focusing on the Cat-Cow, Plank Pose, and Side Plank.


The Cat-Cow is a popular yoga exercise that effectively stretches and mobilizes the spine. This pose targets the muscles in your back, core, and shoulders, helping you maintain good posture throughout the day.

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
  2. Inhale and drop your belly towards the mat, arching your back, and lifting your head up to gaze forward (Cow Pose).
  3. Exhale and round your spine, tucking your tailbone and chin, while drawing your navel toward your spine (Cat Pose).
  4. Continue alternating between these two poses for 8-10 breaths, focusing on smooth transitions and maintaining a strong core.
Mom and kid cat and cow pose

Plank Pose

The Plank Pose is a full-body exercise that strengthens your core, shoulders, and back muscles, all of which contribute to good posture.

  1. Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your legs extended.
  2. Engage your core and ensure that your body is forming a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Press down firmly through your palms and fingertips, while tucking your tailbone to avoid arching your lower back.
  4. Hold the pose for 30 seconds or as long as you can maintain proper alignment, working up to 1-2 minutes over time.
planking in living room for home exercise

Side Plank

The Side Plank is another effective yoga pose that targets your obliques, shoulders, and back muscles, promoting a stronger and more balanced posture.

  1. Begin in a Plank Pose, then shift your weight onto your right arm and roll onto the side of your right foot.
  2. Stack your left foot on top of your right and lift your left arm towards the sky.
  3. Keep your body in a straight line, engaging your core and glutes to maintain stability.
  4. Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds, then switch to the other side.

If the standard side plank is too difficult, you can lower one knee to the ground for stability as shown in the photo below.

modified side plank

Incorporating these yoga poses into your regular routine can help you develop better posture, leading to a healthier body and overall well-being. Remember to be patient with yourself as you progress, and consider seeking guidance from a certified yoga instructor to ensure proper alignment and technique.

Related: Fun Mom and Kid Partner Yoga Poses

Proper Sitting and Standing Postures

Maintaining proper sitting and standing postures is essential for preventing back pain and muscle imbalances. By paying attention to your alignment, you can reduce stress on your muscles, joints, and discs. In this section, we will explore some key elements of good posture for both sitting and standing.

Sitting Posture

When sitting, it is important to maintain your lumbar lordosis, which is the forward curve in your lower back. One simple way to achieve this is by using a lumbar roll or a cushion placed behind your lower back for support. Additionally, consider these tips:

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor or use a footrest if needed.
  • Adjust the chair height so your knees are level with your hips.
  • Position your chin parallel to the floor.
  • Rest your upper back against the chair’s backrest.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Avoid crossing your legs for extended periods.

Standing Posture

When standing, strive for an upright posture with even weight distribution on both feet. To achieve this, focus on the following guidelines:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forward.
  • Engage your core muscles to support your lower back.
  • Tuck your chin slightly and align your head directly over your shoulders.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and pulled back without arching your lower back.
  • Avoid locking your knees, and slightly bend them if needed.

To improve your posture further, consider incorporating posture exercises such as the child’s pose, cat-cow, standing cat-cow, and chest openers. These exercises can help stretch and strengthen your muscles, ultimately supporting a healthier, more upright posture.

Remember, developing proper sitting and standing postures takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself and make adjustments as needed throughout the day to gradually improve your posture and overall spinal health.

Using Tools for Posture Improvement

A great way to enhance your posture improvement journey is by incorporating various tools into your physical therapy exercises. One such tool is the kinesiology tape, which can be applied to your middle trapezius and rhomboid muscles to support your shoulder blades and spine. The tape provides gentle pull on your muscles when you’re slouching, helping to correct your posture.

Another popular tool is the foam roller. Using a foam roller can help release tension in tight muscles and improve your overall posture. Incorporate foam rolling exercises into your routine to target specific areas, such as:

  • Thoracic spine: Place the foam roller under your upper back, and gently roll back and forth while supporting your head with your hands. This can help alleviate stiffness and improve the mobility of your thoracic spine.
  • Glutes: Sit on the foam roller with one leg crossed over the other, and slowly roll over the glute muscles to release tension and improve hip mobility.

Regular posture checks are essential for maintaining good posture throughout your day. Set reminders on your phone or computer to take a break and assess your posture. During these checks, follow these steps:

  1. Stand or sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Align your shoulders, hips, and knees, making sure they’re vertically stacked.
  3. Perform a quick mental check of your head, shoulders, and spine, ensuring everything is in its proper position.

Remember to incorporate posture exercises like the child’s pose, forward fold, and cat-cow into your daily routine. These exercises help to stretch and strengthen the muscles responsible for good posture. Practice these exercises consistently, and you’ll notice significant improvements in your posture over time.

By using these tools and consistently practicing posture exercises, you can effectively support your physical therapy efforts to achieve better posture and overall well-being. Happy posture-improving!

How Physical Therapy Supports Women’s Posture

Physical therapy can be a valuable tool to help you maintain proper posture, especially if you are a woman experiencing pregnancy or dealing with conditions like scoliosis. By following a tailor-made exercise plan designed by a physical therapist, you can effectively manage these challenges and maintain a healthy posture.

Pregnancy presents numerous physical challenges, including additional weight and stress on your muscles and joints. Pregnancy physical therapy provides a comprehensive approach by focusing on pain’s typical triggers such as posture, joint alignment, muscle strength, flexibility, and nerve involvement. This support can alleviate discomfort and promote correct posture during this critical time.

abs exercises while pregnant

One helpful exercise to perform during pregnancy is chest stretching. Find a comfortable space to sit or stand, relax your back and open your arms to allow them to move toward the floor. You should feel a slight pulling sensation in your chest while holding the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat this exercise three to five times to keep your chest muscles flexible and contribute to better posture during pregnancy.

Furthermore, poor posture is often seen in individuals with sedentary lifestyles, leading to muscle imbalances. Postural corrective exercises aim to strengthen weak muscles and improve flexibility. Techniques like wall tests can be helpful in identifying posture issues and providing an ideal starting point for creating a tailored physical therapy plan.

Physiotherapy professionals may also suggest using kinesiology tape to support your postural muscles. Kinesiology tape applied to the middle trapezius and rhomboid muscles helps support your shoulder blades and spine, providing a gentle pull when you are slouching, reminding you to maintain an upright and healthy posture.

As you can see, physical therapy offers effective support for women looking to improve and maintain proper posture. Always consult with a physiotherapist before starting any exercise regimen, as they can provide the best personalized advice for your unique circumstances. Remember, taking care of your posture will yield long-lasting benefits for your overall health and wellbeing.

Get more home workouts and fitness tips here!

Amanda Seghetti profile

Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!

When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.

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