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The Back and Biceps Workout to Help You Stand Up Straight

Building the right muscles can do a ton for your posture.


Read when you’ve got time to spare.


Kelsey McClellan

Single Arm Row

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in your right hand with your arm at your side. Step forward with your left foot and rest your left hand on your left quad. This is the starting position.

  • With your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips, pushing your butt back, and bend your left knee, making sure you don’t round your shoulders. (Your hip mobility and hamstring flexibility will dictate how far you can bend over.)

  • Gaze at the ground a few inches in front of your feet to keep your neck in a comfortable position.

  • Pull the weight up toward your chest, keeping your elbows hugged close to your body and squeezing your shoulder blade for two seconds at the top of the movement. Your elbow should go past your back as you bring the weight toward your chest.

  • Slowly lower the weight by extending your arms toward the floor. That’s 1 rep. Complete 8 reps on one side, then switch sides.

Rows are a great exercise to target the muscles in between your shoulder blades, which play a huge role in posture, says Fagan.


Meiko Arquillos


Kelsey McClellan


  • Lie on your side on a mat with a dumbbell in front of you. Grab the weight with both hands, hold it to your chest, and turn flat on your back. Keep your feet hip-width apart.

  • Grip the dumbbell securely at each side with each hand. Lift it into the air directly above your shoulders, keeping your arms straight.

  • Slowly bring the dumbbell over your head and gently touch it to the floor.

  • Bring the weight back to starting position, engaging your core as you move the weight. This is 1 rep.

  • Complete 10 reps.

The dumbbell pullover is a great exercise to work your lats when you can’t make it to a gym—think of it as the at-home version of a lat pull-down, says Fagan.


Kelsey McClellan

Side-Lying Rear Delt Raise

  • Lie on a mat on your right side, holding a light dumbbell in your left hand. Support your head with your right hand for comfort. Keep your body in a straight line, bending your knees for stability.

  • Bring the weight straight up in the air over your shoulder. Slowly lower the weight straight down so it hovers a few inches above the floor. In a controlled motion, bring the weight back up to starting position. This is 1 rep.

  • Complete 12 reps, then switch sides.

While your rear deltoids are part of your shoulder, they can also be considered part of your body’s posterior chain, since they are in the back of your body, says Fagan. Many shoulder exercises work the front or medial parts of your shoulder, leaving the rear delts underworked.


Kelsey McClellan

Cross-Body Bicep Curl

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.

  • Curl one dumbbell up across your body toward your opposite shoulder, keeping your palms facing in. Squeeze your bicep when you reach the top.

  • Slowly return your arm to starting position, then switch sides.

  • Continuing alternating sides for 12–15 reps each.

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This post originally appeared on SELF and was published October 18, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.

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