Your Workout PlanMake these posture-boosting exercises a regular part of your routine. Remember to exhale strongly and pull in your core muscles as you work -- a key principle in both Pilates and yoga.
1. Core Stabilizer: Single Leg ExtensionWhy It’s Good for You: This move trains your core muscles to work together to stabilize your pelvis. Starting Position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands behind your head. Press your low back into the floor, and curl your head up off the floor. The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Slowly pull one knee into your chest, keeping your low back pressed to the floor, while extending your other leg straight at about a 45-degree angle off the floor. Keep your abdominals pulled in and your low back on the floor. If your low back arches off the floor, extend your leg higher toward the ceiling. Switch legs. Start with five to 10 extensions on each side. Increase the Intensity: Pull both knees into your chest, then extend both legs straight at about a 45-degree angle, using your core to keep your low back on the floor. Or, as you extend your legs, extend both arms overhead, reaching in the opposite direction from your legs.
2. The New CrunchWhy It’s Good for You: Also called a “curl-up,” this exercise works the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle) and obliques (which run diagonally around your waist and rotate your torso). Starting Position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Press your low back into the floor. Place your hands behind your head, or reach your arms toward your knees if it doesn't create too much tension in your neck. The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Curl your head and shoulders slowly off the floor. Hold, then slowly lower back down. Repeat three times Increase the Intensity: Extend one leg straight at a 45-degree angle toward the ceiling. Or hold both legs off the floor, knees bent, with your shins parallel to the floor
3. Pilates Roll-Up / Yoga Sit-UpWhy It’s Good for You: This move works the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis (the deepest core muscles that wrap around your waist like a corset and pull your abdomen inward and upward toward your spine.) Starting Position: Lie on your back with your legs straight, your feet flexed, and your arms reaching overhead on the floor. Press your low back into the floor. The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Roll up in slow motion, reaching your arms off the floor, then your shoulders and head, rolling up one vertebra at a time until you're sitting up with your abdominals still pulled in. Slowly roll back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as your core gets stronger. Increase the Intensity: Cross your arms over your chest as you roll up.
4. CrossoverWhy It’s Good for You: This exercise works all the core muscles, focusing on the obliques. Starting Position: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, your chest lifted off the floor, knees pulled into your chest. Keep your low back pressed into the floor. The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Pull one knee into your chest while extending your other leg straight and rotating your torso toward the bent knee. Slowly switch legs, pulling the other knee into your chest and rotating your torso toward it while extending the opposite leg off the floor. Repeat five to 10 times, adding more as your core gets stronger Increase the Intensity: The closer your straight leg is to the floor, the harder the work for your core. Try extending your leg just inches off the floor, making sure your lower back stays on the floor.
5. Cobra Pose: Back ExtensionWhy It’s Good for You: This move strengthens the erector spinae (the back muscles that extend your spine and prevent slouching) and other low back muscles. Starting Position: Lie on your stomach with palms flat on the floor near your ribs. Extend your legs straight behind you, and press the tops of your feet into the floor. The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your abdominal muscles in and up toward your spine. Lengthen out through your spine and slowly raise your head and chest off the floor, using only your back muscles. Do not push down into your arms to press up. Keep your hip bones on the floor, and gaze down at the floor to relax your neck muscles. Slowly lower back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as your lower back gets stronger Increase the Intensity: Reach your arms long beside your head. Keep your elbows straight.
6. Plank PoseWhy It’s Good for You: This exercise strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominis, as well as your shoulder and back muscles. Starting Position: Begin on your hands and knees with your palms under your shoulders. Extend both legs straight behind you, toes tucked under, into a position like the top of a pushup. Pull your abdominal muscles in to prevent a "sway back," and gaze down at the floor. The Move: Hold the plank until you start feeling fatigued. Rest and then repeat. Keep your abdominals pulled in and up so your low back doesn't sag as you exhale. Increase the Intensity: Balance on your forearms instead of your hands.
- Inhale through nose
- Exhale through mouth as you pull your navel up and in towards your spine to contract your abs.
Plank | 45 secThis exercise strengthens the rectus abdominis – the six-pack muscle – along with the internal and external obliques. It also works our back muscles like the erector spinae and the glutes.
- To begin, lie down on the floor. Prop yourself up onto your forearms and spread your fingers wide so that your hands are flat on the ground. Your forearms should be parallel to one another.
- Tuck your toes under and lift your knees up off the floor. Straighten out your legs and keep your hips in line with your shoulders.
- Pull your navel up and in towards your spine, firm up your quadriceps and squeeze your glutes. Press firmly against the ground with your forearms. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth as you hold for 45 seconds.
Prone Back Extensions | 15 repsThis exercise strengthens the erector spinae and glutes, and helps to improve the mobility of the spine.
- Start by lying down on the floor on your belly.
- Straighten your legs out behind you with your toes untucked and place your forehead on the mat. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the mat next to your ribs with your elbows pointing up towards the ceiling.
- Keep the tops of your feet pressing down into the mat the entire time. Inhale to peel your forehead, chest, and palms off the mat. Hold for a moment at the top to feel your lower back and glutes working. Then, exhale to slowly release back down. Repeat for 15 repetitions.
Bird Dog | 20 reps, alt sidesThis exercise strengthens the rectus abdominus, the obliques, the erector spinae, and the glutes.
- Begin kneeling on the floor in a tabletop position. Stack your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Spread your fingers wide and press down through your palms and engage your abs.
- Press down firmly with your left palm and your right knee. Take an inhale and lift your right hand off the ground while at the same time lifting your left leg off the ground. Straighten your right arm forward and your left leg back, reaching through your fingertips and toes.
- Pause for a moment to balance, then slowly place the right hand and the left knee back down as you exhale. Switch sides, then continue alternating for a total of 20 repetitions.
Russian Twists | 20 repsThis exercise strengthens the internal and external obliques, the rectus abdominis, and the erector spinae.
- Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
- Reach your arms straight out in front of you and bring your palms to touch. Lean your upper body back an inch or two and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Engage your abs and pick your feet up to make your shins parallel to the ground.
- Take an inhale and then as you exhale, twist your torso to the right, bringing your hands to tap the floor next to your right hip. Inhale, to come back to center and then, exhale to twist to the left. Inhale to come back to center and then continue going side to side for a total of 20 repetitions.
Side Planks with Hip Dips | 15 reps per sideThis exercise works the transverse and rectus abdominis, the obliques, erector spinae, and the glutes.
- Begin by lying down on your right side. Prop yourself up onto your right forearm and take your left hand onto your left hip. Flex your feet and stack your left foot on top of your right foot.
- Press into your right forearm to lift your right hip off the ground. Then, reach your left arm straight up towards the ceiling.
- Inhale, lift your left hip an inch higher, then exhale to dip your right hip down a couple of inches towards the floor. Inhale to lift left hip back up then continue for 15 repetitions. Then, switch sides.
Bridge with Bent Elbows | 45 secThis exercise strengthens the erector spinae and the glutes.
- Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and your feet hips-width distance apart. Bend your elbows to 90 degree angles and press the triceps into the floor with your fingertips pointing towards the ceiling.
- Keep your knees in line with your toes and inhale to lift your hips up towards the ceiling.
- Press down through your heels and squeeze your glutes and abs. Hold for 45 seconds and then slowly release.
First, to change your body language you must be aware of your body language. Notice how you sit, how you stand, how you use you hands and legs, what you do while talking to someone.
You might want to practice in front of a mirror. Yeah, it might seem silly but no one is watching you. This will give you good feedback on how you look to other people and give you an opportunity to practise a bit before going out into the world.
Another tip is to close your eyes and visualize how you would stand and sit to feel confident, open and relaxed or whatever you want to communicate. See yourself move like that version of yourself. Then try it out.
You might also want observe friends, role models, movie stars or other people you think has good body language. Observe what they do and you don’t. Take bits and pieces you like from different people. Try using what you can learn from them.
In the beginning easy it’s to exaggerate your body language. You might sit with your legs almost ridiculously far apart or sit up straight in a tense pose all the time. That’s ok. And people aren’t looking as much as you think, they are worrying about their own problems. Just play around a bit, practice and monitor yourself to find a comfortable balance.
1. Don’t cross your arms or legs – You have probably already heard you shouldn’t cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.
2. Have eye contact, but don’t stare – If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and you’ll get used to it.
3. Don’t be afraid to take up some space – Taking up space by for example sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.
4. Relax your shoulders. When you feel tense it’s easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly.
5. Nod when they are talking – nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But don’t overdo it and peck like Woody Woodpecker.
6. Don’t slouch, sit up straight – but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner.
7. Lean, but not too much – If you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that you’re confident in yourself and relaxed lean back a bit. But don’t lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval. Or lean back too much or you might seem arrogant and distant.
8. Smile and laugh – Lighten up, don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But don’t be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but don’t keep a smile plastered on your face, you’ll seem insincere.
9. Don’t touch your face – it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation.
10. Keep your head up – Don’t keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.
11. Slow down a bit – this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, don’t snap your neck in their direction, turn it a bit more slowly instead.
12. Don’t fidget and try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. You’ll seem nervous and fidgeting can be a distracting when you try to get something across. Declutter your movements if you are all over the place. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements.
13. Use your hands more confidently instead of fidgeting with your hands and scratching your face use them to communicate what you are trying to say. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But don’t use them to much or it might become distracting. And don’t let your hands flail around, use them with some control.
14. Lower your drink. Don’t hold your drink in front of your chest. In fact, don’t hold anything in front of your heart as it will make you seem guarded and distant. Lower it and hold it beside your leg instead.
15. Realize where you spine ends – many people (including me until recently) might sit or stand with a straight back in a good posture. However, they might think that the spine ends where the neck begins and therefore crane the neck forward in a Montgomery Burns-pose. Your spine ends in the back of your head. Keep you whole spine straight and aligned for better posture.
Take a couple of these body language bits to work on every day for three to four weeks. By then they should have developed into new habits and something you’ll do without even thinking about it. If not, keep on until it sticks. Then take another couple of things you’d like to change and work on them.