How to Improve Your Posture With Rowing Exercises

Two Methods:Understanding How Posture Affects Your BodyPerforming Exercises to Improve Your Posture

With a light dumbbell, and a stretching exercise or two, it is very easy to correct rounded shoulders. A couple of minutes each session done twice monthly is all you need. Correcting a rounded shoulder improves your spinal posture, which is desirable because with uneven alignment, the discs between your backbones will wear out more quickly. This article shows you how to correct this very simple problem.

Method 1
Understanding How Posture Affects Your Body

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    Practice good posture at all times. For a few people, stretching and corrective exercises are not necessary; these people are able to maintain a good posture just because it makes sense and they are constantly aware of their posture. For the rest of us, stretching and doing corrective exercises consistently may keep the posture muscles strong over the course of your lifetime. To practice good posture, have a good posture in all situations: standing, sitting, walking, playing, working, and lifting.
    • Good posture consists of keeping the spine straight and carrying the shoulders neither rounded nor pulled back.
    • Maintain this posture even when bent over at the waist while working, playing or lifting.
    • Occasionally check your posture in the mirror. Try to learn the way your body feels when you have good posture vs. bad posture, so you can identify when you're slipping into a bad pose simply by the way your body feels.
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    Understand the importance of good posture.
    • Mechanically, it is easier on your lower back if your weight is not shifted forward such as it is when you round your shoulders.
    • Your joints will hurt the least, or not at all, if they are seated properly.
    • Anatomically, your spines have holes (foramens) that house nerves, so you do not want to damage those nerves by bending or twisting the spine excessively. The spine, for the most part, was not really designed for bending or twisting a lot. Bending is best done with the knees and at the waist (hips). Look at a skeleton and muscle chart of the inter-spinal muscles, and you will see that they are small and short.
    • The long and bigger muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi or "lats or wings," facilitate wide ranges of movements. The lats pull the upper arm towards the body in a downwards motion and is a strong muscle. But once the upper arm passes body, the lats no longer come into play because muscles can only contract. The smaller muscles like the rhomboid and back deltoids pull the upper arm further back.
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    Understand the dynamics of a shoulder joint. Think of a joint as an electric, telephone, and cable utility pole standing with guy wires on either side. If the tension is too great on one side, there will be stress on the pole. A shoulder joint has chest muscles normally shortening and pulling the shoulders forward. To correct the shoulders from hunching forward, stretch your chest muscles and/or strengthen the muscles of your upper back that pull your upper arm beyond the center line. These muscles are the rhomboids and posterior deltoids.

Method 2
Performing Exercises to Improve Your Posture

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    Stretch. Stretching exercises and body awareness may be enough for you. Warm-up or be warm before stretching. A warm-up can be an ordinary activity like housework or walking. Being warm can be from working or from dynamic stretches. Since the muscles to be stretched are so small, a specific warm up is easily done by swinging your arms sideways and horizontally for a couple of minutes. Or, your warm-up could be athletic (hitting a ball), aerobic (reaching side to side or forward), or freestyle (dancing, shadowboxing).
    • It may also be helpful for you to take a thorough, warm bath or shower after working out.
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    Do a doorway chest stretch. Perform this stretch when your body is warmed up. You can do it as much as you like, or as infrequently as once a week. Make sure you are stretching your chest muscles and not your spine or hips; the stretch you feel should just be in your chest.
    • Stand with your forearm against a doorframe or against the corner of a wall. Your elbow should be bent at a 90 degree angle.[1]
    • Rotate your chest away from your arm until you begin to feel a stretch in your chest and shoulder.[2] Turn your head away from your arm, which will increase the stretch.[3]
    • Hold the position for at least 20 seconds, then switch to the other arm.
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    Do a bent-over row with a light dumbbell. Using a dumbbell of no more than ten pounds, perform a bent-over row. This exercise works the small muscle in your back called rhomboids and it stretches your chest. You can perform it weekly or as little as twice a month.
    • Start bent-over with your free hand bracing on your knee and with the other hand grasping the dumbbell with the elbow straight. Keep your back straight.
    • Shrug your shoulders back and keep your shoulders tight until you finish this exercise. This is the most important form consideration for this exercise. Tight is not having your shoulders round. Tight is tensing the muscles of your shoulder.
    • Lift the dumbbell in a curved motion and not in a straight line up and down. Exhale and lift the dumbbell to your side, roughly to your hip. Holding the weight here, squeeze your back muscles for a few seconds.[4]
    • Inhale as you lower the dumbbell to the starting point.
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    Try a seated tube row. Use a resistance band with handles to do this stretch. Note that each color represents a different resistance.
    • Sit on the ground with your legs extended, back straight. Hold the ends of the resistance band and loop the tube around your feet. Your arms should be extended.[5]
    • Keeping your back straight, bend at the elbows and draw your hands back toward your ribs. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for a few seconds.[6]
    • Slowly release, then repeat the exercises for the recommended number of repetitions.[7]


  • Mark on a calendar or log your exercise workouts.
  • If you don't have dumbbells, try using a 24-ounce bottle of water instead.
  • Your movements should be mechanical when performing these exercises. Mechanical is not fast or slow, but without extreme acceleration or deceleration.
  • If you don't have a resistance band, you can cut a bicycle tube in half and use that instead.


  • Lift light objects as if they were heavy because injury can occur carrying light objects if your form is poor.
  • Seek medical advice before attempting any new exercise regime.

Things You'll Need

  • Dumbbell
  • Resistance band
  • Spacious area to exercise in

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