POSTURE positive

The importance of upper body strength.

Did you know your posture, like your personal signature, says a lot about you? Poor posture can make you feel and look tired—and can have a negative effect on how others see you. Good posture can improve how you look and make you feel more confident.

When you are filled with confidence and belief in yourself, you will harness your inner reserves of strength, resiliency and psychological stamina to help you move through life’s challenges.

Everyone can build their self-confidence. Just like exercise, treat it like a muscle, do regular and consistent training, and it will improve. Too often we do not pay enough attention to this muscle or do not know how to train, develop, and build it. This is where strength training, specifically focused on improving upper body strength, comes in. 

Strength training is necessary for improving posture, especially for women. It will also increase overall muscle mass and bone-density to help reduce the risk of age-related muscle atrophy and osteoporosis. All of these benefits will improve physical appearance.

Beyond these physical benefits, there are also mental, emotional, and psychological benefits. Most women tend to be overly concerned with toning their lower body and ignore their upper body. However, when I wrote my book 6 Weeks to a New Body, I discovered research that found a significant correlation between improving strength in upper body muscles and boosting your self-esteem. This in turn increases the chances of being your best, boldest and most beautiful self.  

I have been incorporating “Power Posing,” a popular method to improve confidence levels, into my fitness classes and workouts for more than 10 years. “Power Posing” comes from the work of social psychologist and author Amy Cuddy.

This workout, which I designed, is based on these principles. I recommend completing this exercise routine two to three times a week. It will take 15 to 20 minutes and is a great workout in itself. 

Within two to three weeks, you will have more energy and strength; more toned and shapelier muscles; and will feel more confident in your body and your abilities. Achieving these results will increase your belief that you can successfully face the challenges in your life. 

The key to optimizing your life is creating a positive mindset. You can achieve this by developing the self-confidence and self-esteem necessary to reach your goals. Something as simple as changing your posture can have a big impact.

Amy Cuddy’s research shows that by changing your posture you can change your body, and this in turn can change your mindset. When you improve your self-esteem, you will see yourself as more capable. You will feel more self-assured and confident to take on opportunities and embrace possibilities.

Good posture is about much more than building stronger arms, shoulders, and upper bodies. It influences your entire body as well as your mind and this new found strength will help prepare you for living your life to the fullest!




One foot in front with the front knee bent, with dumbbells at shoulder level and elbows bent.


Pushing dumbbells up into a wide “V” shoulder press, pausing, returning to start. Repeat.

REPS & SETS 10 reps x 3 sets

OPTION 1, Using dumbbell.

OPTION 2,Using resistance tubing.



Feet hip-width apart, elbows pulled back holding dumbbells at your hips.

Elbows remain at 90 degrees throughout the move.


Pushing dumbbells up to shoulder level, pausing.

Opening elbows out to the side in an isometric “strong pose,” pausing.

Reversing the move to return to start. Repeat.

REPS & SETS 5 reps x 3 sets



Leaning forward at the hips, maintaining a long straight spine (knees bent), arms extended toward the ground, dumbbells in hand, palms facing back.


Pulling elbows out to the side and up to shoulder level (wide row), pause, lower to straighten arms, then rise to standing, pulling your elbows up until dumbbells approach chest level (upright row), pause at the top. Return to start
and repeat.

Reps & Sets 10 reps x 3 sets


  • Mo Hagan

    Maureen (Mo) Hagan is an award-winning fitness instructor and program director, the 2019 Canadian Fitness Industry Leader of the Year, and group fitness instructor with GoodLife Fitness. COO of canfitpro, Canada’s leading fitness education authority and the creator of Women Who Influence, she is a member of the board of the Women in Fitness Association.

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