The Cobra for Better Posture

Note: Please read the explanation before trying the exercise otherwise it won't make any sense.

As people get older, they tend to spend more time sitting, and that negatively affects their posture, which can negatively affect their muscles, joints, and balance.

So I’m excited to share with you a simple exercise called the Cobra that you can do at home to help counteract all that time spent sitting.

First, let’s think about what happens when you sit. Generally, most people’s spines tend to form a somewhat hunched forward “C” curve when they sit. That curve usually causes the shoulders to come forward and the arms to rotate internally.

Now imagine that the muscles in your body are rubber bands. You’ve got these bands on the front of your body and on the back. When you have good posture, those bands are in balance on both sides, but when you spend too much time sitting, all those bands on the front side end up being short and tight, and all the bands on the back side end up being weak and stretched out.

Over time, this imbalance can lead to sore muscles, worn-down joints, and loss of height.

What’s so great about the Cobra exercise is that it allows us to simultaneously strengthen those weak and stretched muscles on the back while we stretch those short and tight muscles on the front.

Take a look at the video and then read below:

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Notice there are three things happening as I do the Cobra:
  1. I am starting in a hunched forward “C” curve posture. Then I move my lower spine forward while lifting my ribcage up and bringing my chest out, forming more of what we call an “S” curve of the spine.

  2. My shoulders are starting forward and hunched, and then I pull my shoulder blades back as I stick my chest out.

  3. My hands and arms are starting internally rotated with the palms toward my thighs, and then they externally rotate and move back so my palms come up and face away from me.
As you do this, you’re strengthening all those muscles on the upper back and shoulder area that hold you in good posture and you’re stretching those tight muscles on the front side.

This exercise is called the Cobra because it resembles the Cobra snake when it stands up and flares its neck out.

You can do this exercise several times per week for about 10 reps. A great time to do it is after you’ve been sitting for a while.

Lastly, I should mention that some people like to hiss when they do the Cobra, but that is entirely optional.

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