2 Simple Posture Tests: How to Tell if You Have Good or Bad Posture

Wondering if you have bad posture? Try these two simple posture tests and unlock the path to a more aligned and balanced you.

Mikah Horn
2 Simple Posture Tests: How to Tell if You Have Good or Bad Posture

Good posture matters!

Good posture is crucial for your health and longevity. It keeps your spine aligned, preventing chronic pain and reducing strain on your back, neck, and shoulders. Maintaining proper posture enhances breathing and digestion, reduces the risk of falls, and boosts confidence.

If you're wondering if you have poor postural habits ("bad" posture), try these two simple posture tests and then work on making any changes needed. Your health and wellbeing will thank you!

“Age and gravity are the tartar of our skeletal system, and yoga is like postural dental floss” - Dr. Matthew Taylor

Posture Test #1: Thumb Position

  1. Stand up in front of a mirror with your hands down by your sides. Try to stand like you usually do when you're not thinking about it and don't make any adjustments.
  1. Look at the position of your thumbs! Are your thumbs facing towards your body? Or are they facing straight ahead or slightly outward with your palms facing your body?

If your thumbs are turned in towards your body and your palms are facing backwards, you most likely have rounded shoulders, which often come along with a forward head position and a curve in the upper back.

Posture Test #2: Back Against a Wall

  1. Stand tall against a wall with your heels about four inches (or so) away from the wall. Your butt, upper back and head should all touch the wall.
  2. Keep your chin parallel to the floor and don't let it lift up.
  3. Check the distance with your hand between your lower back and the wall, and your neck and the wall.

If you can stand comfortable and get within an inch or two at the low back and two inches at the neck, your posture is probably fine!

If you have a lot of space behind the low back (check to see if you can slide your arm behind your back), you have an excessive curve in the lumbar spine with an anterior (forward) tilt of the pelvis. If you don't have any space behind your low back and it's completely flat on the wall, you probably have a posterior tilt of the pelvis.

If you have to really force the back of your head to touch the wall and it's not comfortably resting on the wall, then you have a forward head position and it might be accompanied with rounded shoulders: Do the backs of your shoulders comfortable rest on the wall or is there space there, too?

If you're looking for a little more guidance, watch this short video where I demonstrate both of the tests.

Rounded shoulders, forward head

The rounded shoulder, forward head position in particular is a huge problem today because of all the time we spend on our computers and phones, working at our desk, driving, and even gardening. We spend so much time in these positions that our body gets locked up!

This particular posture is sometimes called "upper crossed syndrome." Basically, some muscles are stuck a shortened position, and these muscles get tight. At the same time, other muscles are stuck in a lengthened position, and these muscles become weak. I call this "locked up tight" and "locked up long." Eventually, this can lead to kyphosis, the hunchback or hump on your thoracic spine.

The good news is that movement variety and yoga can "unlock" these stuck areas and counteract imbalances in your body.

Ready to improve your posture?

It’s never too late to work on your posture! Join me for this FREE 3-day Yoga for Posture series where each practice focuses on unlocking tight areas of the body and strengthening weak muscles in order to improve your posture!

These are simple 10 minute videos (sent straight to your inbox) that anyone can do. Get ready to lengthen, realign, and relieve your aches & pains!

Sign up to join us now!