Having spoken previously about why poor posture is bad for you, I wanted to move on to give you a simple exercise that helps promote good posture. Brugger's exercise routine is devised to activate postural muscles weakened and simultaneously stretched by a prolonged sitting posture.
Check the tension in your upper back and shoulders in the slumped posture and then in the Brugger's position, to see if you notice any difference as the muscle tension is dramatically reduced.
Brugger Exercise PostureStep By Step Guide
Sit perched towards the edge of your seat; this will naturally place your lower back into a curve (lumbar lordosis) with your butt sticking out a little. As you do this your breastbone (sternum) will naturally lift up.
Separate your legs to 45 degrees each side with your feet turned out slightly and in line with your knees.
Your shoulders are relaxed and down with your chin tucked in, making the back of your neck longer – imagine a piece of string is attached to the top of your head and someone is lifting you up.
Fully straighten (extend) both elbows and arms.
Make sure you keep your shoulders down and imagine your shoulder blades [scapula] are pushing down and together to form a V.
Turn your thumbs out (externally rotate), palms up.
Separate your fingers.
You should now be in the position show above in the Brugger's exercise posture picture.
Hold for 30 seconds.
Ideally you should perform the Brugger's exercise once for every thirty minutes of sitting, so why not try this once a day.
PS The Science
This exercise was developed by a Swiss Neurologist called Alois Brugger MD, the exercise is neither a traditional stretch or strengthening technique but works neurologically by being complementary to the way your body is wired to work.
Our bodies are neurologically much stronger in all of our flexor muscles. This is displayed perfectly if we look at a person with a neurological disorder, e.g. cerebral palsy; their body naturally has increased tension (hypertension) in the flexor muscles, also known as the spastic posture. This demonstrates our natural prosperity to an Upper Cross Posture which often develops when we sit for prolonged periods of time in a slumped position.
Muscles work in groups. When one group is working then the opposing group are unable to work (inhibited). An easy example to visualise of this is when you place food in your mouth. To do this you flex your fingers, wrist muscles, bicep muscles and pecs., all flexors. However, to be able to do this you have to inhibit your finger extensors, wrist extensors, triceps, rhomboids etc. This is called reciprocal inhibition. If you were unable to do this you would be unable to feed yourself.
The Brugger exercise works on the principal of reciprocal inhibition. When doing this exercise you are activating all your extensor muscles and therefore inhibiting all of your (usually hyper activated) flexor muscles.