There are many things can affect your posture—sitting at a desk all day, slouching at the dinner table, and more. However, there’s one great way to improve it: exercise. The best way to improve your posture through exercise is to strengthen your core and upper back.

stretching workout postureA strong core keeps your back safe from injury, helps your body balance and allows you to move with control and efficiency—all of that leads to a better a posture. If you’ve felt pain in other areas of your body, like your back, it could be because of a weak core; when your core can’t do its job other body parts and muscles have to pick up the slack causing weakness and pain

A strong back is also a critical part of posture because a common cause of poor posture is weak upper back muscles, which leads to shoulder slumping.

Try these exercises to gain better control of your posture.

Plank and Variations

Start with the standard plank: Get into pushup position, with your hands below your shoulders. Keep your back and butt flat and pull your abdominals in. Hold here for 30 seconds to one minute.

Some variations include:

  • Move from hands to forearms; one up and down is one rep.
  • Put towels underneath your feet and slide them out and in horizontally, or pull them in toward your chest like a jackknife.
  • Hold the plank position on your forearms and bounce your butt from one side to the other. One tap on each side equals one rep.

Russian Twist

physiotherapy exercises with bobath ball fitballSit with a medicine ball in your lap. Pull your legs off the ground and sit on your tailbone, adjusting the angle until you feel the burn your abs. Now move the ball from side to side, touching the ground each time.

Reverse Dumbbell Flies

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells in hand, slightly bent at the waist. Hold your arms straight down and slowly bring them out to shoulder height and return to start for one rep.

Weight Raise

Hold a round weight block with two hands in front of your pelvic area. Raise it up to shoulder height and lower back down for one rep.

Many areas of your life can affect a good posture, from working at a desk to many years of slouching without realizing it. Incorporate these exercises into your daily routine and you may notice you’re standing up straight in no time.