The How's and Why's of Muscles for Good Posture


Without muscles to counteract Earth's gravity, the natural force would have you piled in a heap on the ground. Instead, our bodies are cleverly designed to thrive under the force of gravity, with bones to hold us up and muscles specifically designed to move our skeletons around the planet. 

Top to Bottom, How Muscles Support Healthy Posture

Head Support

(Capitis, Prevertebral, Scalenus, Semi-Spinalis, Splenius and Sternomastoid)

Muscles in the neck are responsible for supporting and moving the head's full weight while maintaining proper posture. 

Shoulder/Pectoral Girdle

(Levator Scapulae, Pectoralis Minor, Rhomboids, Serratus Anterior and Trapezius)

Essential to avoiding rounded shoulders, these muscles anchor the shoulders to the spine, while supporting and moving the shoulders and upper back. 

Midsection

(Erector Spinae, Multifidus and Abdominal Muscle Groups)

These muscles work together to support, flex and extend the spine. The balance between front and back muscles is essential to proper posture. 

Pelvic

(Transverse Abdominus, Gluteus and Hamstrings: Flexor, Extensor, Abductor and Adductor Groups)

Many muscles in the pelvic region attach to muscles of the midsection, directly supporting posture during movement. The pelvic muscles support a neutral pelvic position, a strong lower back and are responsible for both seated and standing hip movement. 

Why Muscles Weaken and Struggle to Support Posture

In a perfect body, each muscle has an ideal length and tension. In reality, muscle groups become imbalanced. 

Posture-supporting muscles most commonly weaken and tighten due to a sedentary lifestyle – the type most members of the modern workforce lead. Prolonged sitting shortens certain groups of muscles and lengthens others. The shorter a muscle becomes, the stronger it is. Conversely, the longer the muscle, the weaker. 

When seated, the body bends, naturally tightening hip flexors and hamstrings, while lengthening back and neck muscles. This muscle imbalance affects posture from the bottom up; anterior pelvic tilt initiates a domino effect, causing the abdomen to protrude, shoulders to round, the neck to crane and the head to drift into forward head position. 

Posture becomes worse every second you sit, stand or move with poor posture. The wrong muscles become lengthened (weakened) and the wrong muscles contract (strengthen). Each moment the pelvis has an anterior tilt (top pushed forward), the back scoops, the neck cranes and the head protrudes. 

Eat Right to Strengthen Muscles and Boost Energy

Regular exercise and stretching helps counteract the effects of working as a driver or a desk jockey. But you can also build healthy muscles during your lunch break. Choose foods to nourish muscles and support their proper function. 

Pack Energy – 4 Lunch Box Must-Haves

  1. Lean Protein (grilled fish, chicken, eggs or tofu)
  2. Healthy Carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and whole grains)
  3. Magnesium-Rich Foods (cashews, avocado and leafy greens)
  4. Water

Eating the nutrients which build and fuel muscle promotes a strong body and healthy posture.

With an improved understanding of how and why your muscles support posture, you can take better care of them. So, even if you work at a desk, love binge-watching your favorite shows or put the "couch" in couch-potato, you can still have a strong, healthy body with muscles balanced for perfect posture.