"Bear Hugs" for Better Posture (and Better Hugs)

They're perfect for lovin', but did you know bear hugs are also great for your posture?

We all know bear hugs squeeze love into the heart, but they also strengthen key posture-promoting muscle groups including the chest, abdomen, anterior core, glutes and shoulders. Together, these muscle groups comprise your body's powerhouse and hold up your entire framework. Strengthening these muscle groups encourages proper posture by bolstering a neutral pelvis and supporting natural spinal curvature.



Bear Hug Your Way to Better Posture and Reduced Risk of Injury

To bear hug, you will need a huggable, heavy object. You can use almost anything you can get your arms around, such as a:

  • Sandbag
  • Weighted Knapsack or Backpack
  • Kettlebell
  • Weight Plate (Barbell Weight)
  • Heavy Waste Basket

Using your pets or friends is not recommended.

How to Bear Hug Properly

  1. Stand with feet just wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Squat, bending knees and maintaining a neutral spine.
  3. Wrap arms around object, as if giving it a bear hug.
  4. Stand up, lifting through heels using legs and glutes.
  5. Squeeze object and hold for one minute (or longer).
  6. Squat, and release object on floor.

Bear Hug Safety Do's and Don'ts


  • Lift Too Much- Start with a weight you know you can lift safely. You can quickly add more weight to increase the challenge, but you can't quickly fix an injured back.
  • Bend at the Waist- Maintain a straight spine and bend at the knees, in a squatting position, to lift weight.
  • Clasp Fingers- Clasping fingers stresses joints, making them do the work – rather than your muscles.
  • Poke Out Chin- Keep your chin tucked to straighten and protect your spine.
  • Look Down- Prevent body weight from shifting forward and straining your back by fixing your gaze straight ahead.


  • Lock Shoulders- Shoulders down and back, imagine squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades. Maintain this posture throughout to prevent rounding your middle and upper back.
  • Stick Straight- Don't lean back or forward. Align your back with a neutral pelvis, as if doing a standing plank.
  • Zip Up Ribcage- Pretend you're a grizzly squeezing into a size small jacket and straighten you rib cage. If your ribs flare out, then you're putting stress on your lower back and risking injury.
  • Squeeze Hard- Dig in like a bear with real claws; a good squeeze does double duty on abdominal muscles.
  • Add Movement - Transition your hugs into walking carries or add squat repetitions to challenge more muscle groups and improve your body's functional strength.
  • Track Time- Monitor progress and challenge yourself with timed reps. Start with simple one to one sets with three minutes of love and three minutes of rest. Repeat. Add time and/or weight as you improve.

The Biggest Bear Hug "Do" of Them All

Share with your friends!

Now that bear hugs have become a fitness rage, everyone's talking about posture and no one's talking about hug potential. So, by all means sit up straight and stand tall, but also show everyone your new talent – giving the best hugs ever.