Women neglect their upper body strength — and their posture — at their peril. As science has shown, upper body strength + powerful posture  = positive self-esteem.

Photo by mr lee on Unsplash

Did you know your posture, like your personal signature, says a lot about you? Poor posture can make you feel and look tired — and can have a negative effect on how others see you. Good posture can improve how you look and make you feel more confident.

When you are filled with confidence and belief in yourself, you will harness your inner reserves of strength, resiliency and psychological stamina to help you MO’ve through life’s challenges.

Everyone can build their self-confidence. Just like exercise, treat it like a muscle, do regular and consistent training, and it will improve.  Too often we do not pay enough attention to this muscle or do not know how to train, develop, and build it.  This is where strength training, specifically focused on improving upper body strength, comes in.  

Strength training is necessary for improving posture, especially for women. It will also increase overall muscle mass and bone-density to help reduce the risk of age-related muscle atrophy and osteoporosis. All of these benefits will improve physical appearance.

Beyond these physical benefits, there are also mental, emotional, and psychological benefits. Most women tend to be overly concerned with toning their lower body and ignore their upper body. However, when I wrote my book 6 Weeks to a New Body, I discovered research that found a significant correlation between improving strength in upper body muscles and boosting your self-esteem. This in turn increases the chances of being your best, boldest and most beautiful self.   

I have been incorporating “Power Posing,” a popular method to improve confidence levels, into my fitness classes and workouts for more than 10 years.  “Power Posing” comes from the work of social psychologist and author Amy Cuddy.

This workout, which I designed, is based on these principles. I recommend completing this exercise routine two to three times a week. It will take 15 to 20 minutes and is a great workout in itself. 

Within two to three weeks, you will have more energy and strength; more toned and shapelier muscles; and will feel more confident in your body and your abilities. Achieving these results will increase your belief that you can successfully face the challenges in your life. 

The key to optimizing your life is creating a positive mindset. You can achieve this by developing the self-confidence and self-esteem necessary to reach your goals. Something as simple as changing your posture can have a big impact.

Amy Cuddy’s research shows that by changing your posture you can change your body, and this in turn can change your mindset. When you improve your self-esteem, you will see yourself as more capable. You will feel more self-assured and confident to take on opportunities and embrace possibilities.

Good posture is about much more than building stronger arms, shoulders, and upper bodies.  It influences your entire body as well as your mind and this new found strength will help prepare you for living your life to the fullest!

Posture Strength Workout Tips

VICTORY PRESS

START One foot in front with the front knee bent, with dumbbells at shoulder level and elbows bent.

ACTION Push dumbbells up into a wide “V” shoulder press, pause, return to start. Repeat.

REPS & SETS 10 reps x 3 sets

OPTION Use resistance tubing. 

STRONG ARM ROTATOR PRESS

START Feet hip-width apart, elbows pulled back holding dumbbells at your hips. Elbows remain at 90 degrees throughout the move.

ACTION Push dumbbells up to shoulder level, pause, open elbows out to the side in an isometric “strong pose,” pause. Reverse the move to return to start. Repeat.

REPS & SETS: 5 reps x 3 sets

BENT OVER WIDE ROW N’ RISE

START Leaning forward at the hips, maintaining a long straight spine (knees bent), arms extended toward the ground, dumbbells in hand, palms facing back. 

ACTION Pull elbows out to the side and up to shoulder level (wide row), pause, lower to straighten arms, then rise to standing, pulling your elbows up until dumbbells approach chest level (upright row), pause as the top.  Return to start and repeat. 

Reps & Sets 10 reps x 3 sets

MOVE YOUR PLANK

START Lower plank position (from your toes or knees) with forearms on the ground. 

ACTION Press up onto your right hand, followed by left to move into high plank position, pause. Lower down starting with your right, then left, pause. Repeat starting with left for 1 rep.

REPS & SETS: 5 reps x 3 sets

PUSH-UPS

START: From the wall, window ledge or floor, with hands slightly wider than shoulders, holding your torso up at arm’s length.  

ACTION Lower yourself downward until your elbows bend 90 degrees (elbows chest level), pause to breathe in, exhale and push up. Repeat.

REPS & SETS 5 reps x 3 sets

STANDING TRICEP PRESS

START Stand with dumbbell(s) directly overhead.

ACTION Slowly lower dumbbells down, keeping elbows in, slightly forward of head as needed. Press back up. Repeat.

REPS & SETS 10 reps x 3 sets

You might also be interested in this article also by Mo on stretches to do at home.

Author: Maureen (Mo) Hagan is an international award-winning fitness professional, recognized by OptiMYz as one of Canada’s Top 10 Women of Power in 2020.  Mo is Chief Operating Officer for canfitpro, the creator of Women Who Influence, and a member of the OptiMYz editorial advisory board.

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