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Posture Workout: 5 Moves That Can Save Your Back

01/10/2014 04:01 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:53 EST

THE GOAL: Improving your posture and getting "taller"

THE EXPERT: Brent Bishop, celebrity trainer, on-air fitness expert, author and owner of Think Fitness Studios in Toronto

THE INFO: With the day-to-day demands at the office we are exposing our bodies to long hours of excessive flexion and internal rotation. Hip flexors become tight and shortened and shoulders become rounded forward while the muscles along the backside of the body become weakened. If you want to alleviate problems like back pain and poor posture while improving overall health and appearing at your full height, it is imperative to take a postural approach to your strength-training program.

THE MOVES:

Posture Workout

Watch the video above to see the moves in action. To get the most out of your workouts and to promote muscular balance, integrate a postural strength-training workout into your routine three times per week. Do these exercises three times through.

YTWLs

Using a bench or a stability ball, lie down with your arms up and straight elbows, in a Y position. Then move your arms into a T position (straight out to the sides), a W position (elbows bent, squeezing the shoulder blades together) and ending in L (elbows at 90 degrees beside the ears). Keep arms high throughout, repeat 15 times.

Rotator Cuff Strengtheners

Using lighter weights (anywhere between 5 to 12 pounds), bent at the waist with a straight back, keep palms forward and elbows slightly bent in front of you. Take your arms out directly to the side, focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Do this for 15 to 20 reps.

Single Leg Squat

Balancing on one leg, position yourself above a bench or (stable) ball. Balance on the leg and keep weight in the heels and mid-foot, then push the hips down until you feel the bench or ball beneath you. Repeat 15 times for each side.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Put your foot on the ball with your knee on the floor. Keep your other foot flat and knee at 90 degrees. To intensify the stretch, hold up the arm on the same side as the foot on the ball and lean back slightly. Hold to 35 for 45 seconds, then switch sides.

Chest Stretch

Kneel beside the ball, with your hand on top of it and your opposite leg forward, bent at 90 degrees. Rotate your shoulder away from the ball to stretch your pecs. Hold for 35 to 45 seconds, then switch sides.

Have something that needs fine tuning? Let us know in the comments below.

The new year is the time to take on new challenges, so for the month of January and beyond, The Huffington Post Canada's Living team brings you Fine Tuning: daily workouts, with tips on how to tone up, get healthy and stay fit for the whole year. Each workout will focus on one fitness goal or body part, with our favourite trainers showing you simple ways to get stronger and healthier in less than 45 minutes.

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