I am Obsessed with Posture

by Eric Disco
Oct 12

zhuzhu.deviantart.coma

A few years ago I noticed myself in a video. And I was disgusted.

Why?

I could finally see myself from the side and from the back. And I hated my posture.

“I really look like that?” I thought to myself. I never really see myself from the side and had no idea how bad my posture was.

I used to go to the gym and work out when I was younger. And I’m a runner. So I didn’t have the worst posture in the world.

But it was bad enough that I decided I needed to change it. In fact I became a bit obsessed with changing my posture.

This is something I’ve been working on for years. I previously wrote an article about Alexander Technique, which is well worth the investment.

Why Change Your Posture

Posture has a huge affect on attraction.

Of all the things you can do to improve your physical attractiveness, one of the most important–if not the most important–is improving your posture.

Guys don’t realize how much tension they hold in their shoulders.

They carry a constant, low-level tension that manifests as poor posture. And then when the guy talks to a woman, it gets even worse.

Most guys are completely unaware of the subtle changes their bodies go through when they interact with women.

Women, even if they don’t consciously notice it, react emotionally to your body language. If you’re tense they sense it and respond in kind: with apprehension and uneasiness.

In many ways, fixing your posture is better than going to the gym and getting muscles. If I had a choice between having perfect posture or muscles the size of Schwarznegger in his prime, I would choose perfect posture.

zhuzhu.deviantart.combIt’s not easy to simply change your posture. There is an inner game as well as outer game component.

The inner game component revolves around the idea of dominant versus submissive signals.

Socially dominant individuals act more “confident.” They send signals to other people that communicate their social dominance.

These signals indicate that they consider themselves strong. They are touting their own power.

These signals include: increased eye contact, louder voice tone, and taking up more space.

One can understand these signals as leadership signals. A leader is comfortable being the center of attention. He is used to talking to groups of people.

The converse is a guy with no confidence. He is shy. He hides. He tries to make himself smaller and less susceptible to public scrutiny.

This protects him from attacks from which he knows he can’t defend himself.

The signals he sends off include things that help him hide and not show dominance or challenge to other individuals.

These signals show him to be self-protective rather than open and comfortable.

These behaviors include speaking quietly, putting his hands in his pockets, and taking up as little space as possible.

One of the most important aspects of submissive behavior comes into play with posture. His posture constantly belies his self-confidence.

Guys with unconfident posture fall into a stereotypical pattern.

POSTURETheir posture is hunched and turtled. Their shoulders are rounded. The head is pulled forward.

Babies have perfect posture.

But years of acting submissive and feeling the stress of dominant individuals changes the posture to look more like the guy on the left.

It is made worse by spending years sitting in front of a computer, hunched over a computer screen.

You look at a picture like the one here and it makes you want to stand up straight and look like the guy on the right rather than the guy on the left.

But it’s not that simple.

How to Change Your Posture

When I was a kid sitting at the dinner table, my grandmother used to say “Sit up straight!” And I would do my best to lift my shoulders and sit straight. Literally 30 seconds later I was back to my old position.

If you’ve ever tried to change your posture, you know that it is not an easy thing. Posture takes time to fix. It may take years of practice. But the payoff is well worth it.

Changing your posture is not what most people think it is. Tell your average person to stand up straight, and he usually raises his shoulders when instead he should be pulling them back and lowering them.

Pull shoulders back and down.

One of the first things to think about with changing your posture is pulling your shoulders back and down. This is the main problem people have, and what causes them to “turtle.”

When you pull your shoulders down and back, you are pushing out your chest, exposed to the world instead of acting self-protective.

Good posture is not simply about “holding” a position. It’s as much about relaxation as it is about tension. Good posture will start to feel like your body is in harmony, not like you are trying to hold a position.

At first it will feel awkward, but the more you practice it–and the more strength you get–the more you start to get comfortable with good posture and less comfortable with hunched, turtled posture.

zhuzhu.deviantart.comcGood posture feels like the way you would stretch after a prolonged period in a constricted space, like on a long plane flight or car ride.

You naturally start to move toward that enlarged, expanded body position and feel confined by the previous position.

Corner Stretch. I love this exercise. Over the last year or so it has grown into my favorite exercise. It’s fairly simple.

Find a corner. Spread your arms out like Jesus on the Cross. And walk yourself into the corner. Try to see if I can get your nipples to touch the walls.

Once you’re there, hold yourself in that position for a while. I like to hold myself for 45-60 full deep breaths.

This stretch is amazing in that it really pulls your shoulders back and helps you to practice good positioning. It also strengthens your pectoral muscles because of the counter-tension.

Forward rotation of the head. This is a concept from Alexander Technique and it’s key to good posture.

The best way to understand this concept is to stand with your back against a wall. Be as relaxed as possible.

Now see if you can touch the back of your head to the wall as well, except watch your nose. Keep your nose at exactly the same level when you pull your head back.

What happens is a ‘forward rotation of the head.’ Your nose almost drops a bit and the back of your head raises up.

This elongates the spine and gives your neck more freedom of movement. It counters the head-forward slouch you see in the picture above.

Lift head as high as possible. Another way to visualize good posture is to raise your head as high as possible.

Without rotating your head to look upwards, lift your head or eyes are as high as they can go.

Avoid sitting in chairs for long periods of time. Sitting in a chair is actually not a very natural human position.

One of the biggest culprits of bad posture is sitting at a desk all day in front of a computer. This can easily cause hunched shoulders and bad head positioning. For a lot of people, there may not be another option.

But if you do need to do a lot of computer work some alternate options may be lying flat on the floor or a bed with a laptop, getting an chair with posture support, or standing at your desk at intervals.

Posture Corrector. In my pursuit of perfect posture, I bought this brace from Amazon. It pulls your shoulders back exactly how they should be.

zhuzhu.deviantart.comdFor a while I tried to wear it all the time, but that didn’t work out. It’s too bulky and makes my arm numb.

I still do use it for a few hours a day if I’m hanging out at home, and it really does seem to “train” me to hold the correct position.

Here’s a few more tips for when you work on your posture;

It’s easier to correct posture while walking. One of the best times to focus on posture is when you’re walking around. It’s much easier to change your posture when walking then when standing or sitting.

Focus on your posture first thing. Try to focus on your posture first thing in the morning when you get up, first thing when you leave your house, and first thing when you stand up from where you’re sitting.

Exercise regularly. I find that it’s easier to correct my posture if I’ve been doing regular exericse, like running. This may be because my muscles are a lot less tense.

It may feel awkward at first. At first when you start to change your posture, you may feel awkward.

It may feel like you’re sticking your chest out too far. Keep going with this, it will start to feel less awkward with more practice.

Changing posture changes your breathing. It changes the entire internal structure of your organs and body cavity muscles.

It allows you to breath more freely. But it may feel strange at first.

Once you start to focus on posture more, you notice it everywhere, on men and on women.

A lot of people have bad posture, and you may start to notice consciously how posture affects your attraction for people where previously it was subconscious.

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posted in Body Language, Self-Improvement Strategies

COMMENTS
34 responses
Cameron says:

Hey Eric,

Great article, I totally agree. I used to have muscles (not likw Arnie) but I was pretty big and did TERRIBLE with women, so having big guns is not a chuck magnet (just look at all the HUGE bouncers not getting laid).

But posture is so important. I know I have a lot of work to do on mine before I get it to where I want to go (too much sitting at my computer) but I’m up for the challenge!

swgr says:

Thanks for all the great tips on posture Eric. I also find myself obsessed with posture since I have worked behind a computer for the last 5-6 years and feel that my problem is the forward rotation of the head which I can’t seem to correct. I also hear that women (or people who notice you, I guess)can tell when you’re trying too hard to straighten up and it makes you look standoffish/unnatural. What are your thoughts on that? And did you take personal 1 on 1 sessions on the Alexander Technique or a class with others? Do you think either one will help?

swgr says:

Thanks for all the great tips on posture Eric. I also find myself obsessed with posture since Ihave worked behind a computer for the last 5-6 years and feel that my problem is the forward rotation of the head. I’m working at it and getting better. But I hear that women (or people who notice in general that take notice) can tell when you’re trying too hard to straighten up and it makes you look standoffish/unnatural. What are your thoughts on that? And did you take 1 on 1 sessions on Alexander Technique or a class as a whole? Do you think classes will work just as well?

Eric Disco says:

I think women do notice when you are trying to change your posture. I don’t think its that it looks strange, even though you may feel like it looks strange. It’s because you are more stiff and self-conscious than normal. I don’t think there’s any way around that other than to consciously practice your posture when you’re not around women. But even then you’re going to want to be somewhat conscious of the changes you’re going through.

My Alexander Technique lessons were one on one. Don’t really know how it would work in a class. But part of the point is that the teacher is giving you continuous feedback and directing you. So I’m a bit skeptical. But I’m not really an expert on AT, so I could be wrong.

Eric

swgr says:

Thanks. I agree that the input you’re getting has to be personalized. Otherwise I would feel somewhat neglected. Good tips though..you gave me a good place to start. And sorry for the accidental double post.

Tido says:

The converse is a guy with no confidence. He is shy. He hides. He tries to make himself smaller and less susceptible to public scrutiny.

This protects him from attacks from which he knows he can’t defend himself.

I found that this is the real meat of the article for me. Can you explain the concept of not being able to defend himself a bit more? Is this a matter of winning/loosing or simply having strong enough boundaries to not be affected by peoples opposing views? BTW I also dance a bit of Argentine Tango, good relaxed posture is one of the fundamentals, so I can relate to all the little details you’ve mentioned regarding posture. Funny last class I’ve danced with the teacher, and she felt my body tensions just a fraction of a second before I could. I’ve found this fascinating. I need to work on relaxing my shoulders.

Tido

Cameron says:

Eric means guys with no backbone, who fear confrontation (I’m talking about emotional confrontation). Women are not attracted to cowards.

Tido says:

How does one build a backbone?

Cameron says:

You practice standing up for yourself.

Its really that simple, with your friends, with your family, with strangers.

You speak what you are feeling.

Its easy to do but its not SIMPLE (because you have to face your fear of confrontation) but thats the whole point anyway (to act in spite of your fear).

Tz says:

I think it’s also good to figure out what is important to you, what your principles are, what you will and will not accept. So many guys see vagina as the ultimate reward that they will do anything and accept any behavior from a woman. But if you’ve already figured out in your head what is important to you, you’ll be less likely to tolerate bad behavior from even a gorgeous girl if it violates your principles. And that is a powerful position to be in.

Axel says:

Damn straight.

Problem is having so many principles that 50% of women will violate them anyhow. Sometimes I feel I should abandon some of my lesser principles because I seldom seem to get to know a woman who lives up to them all, but I tend to let that feeling go.

Cameron says:

Maybe your being too fussy………

Axel says:

I think rather the problem is that I don’t get to know enough women. I’m not THAT fuzzy.

I think I should focus on meeting more women, and not accepting my own excuses, such as ‘I don’t like her pants.’ I mean WHAT THE FUCK. :P But my principles are something to stick by.

Cameron says:

I admire that your sticking by your principles.

However I think not dating women because you don’t like their pants IS too fussy.

I get turned off by women by stupid things like that too. I can’t stop mid-approach if I don’t like their fingers or nails or some crap.

I have to get over that, lol.

Cameron says:

You know, I actually do this myself.

Its a misake because it stops me dating anyone.

I mean if I was super cool, super handsome and had women all over me, then I could afford to be so fussy.

But I have to accept that I’m not perfect myself to get somewhere with women.

Axel says:

‘However I think not dating women because you don’t like their pants IS too fussy.’

Um yeah that’s what I meant, man.

On the other hand, a part of inner game is that you’re so bad ass that THEY have to qualify themselves to YOU, and if they don’t match what you want, then they’re out of the game.

We shouldn’t be subject to lame excuses, but having high standards is generally a good thing.

That’s what I think.

Zack says:

I am on the shorter side at 5’4. I have heard all kinds of programs say, well just use good posture and you will stand tall. I stand up straight to begin with so posture really cannot help me at all. To make myself a bit taller I wear shoes with thicker soles or lefts so that can get me around 5’6 to 5’7 without looking ridiculous.

Ok, so improving my posture will not really help me. I have alot of trouble getting dates. Alot. I know tons of single attractive to very attractive women but when I have asked them out or tried to make a move, they have all rejected me and I am put in the dreaded friend zone. I am 40 now and it seems like women look at me like I am a child or something. I have alot to offer but evidently beautiful women would rather date a 6’2 convict then me or something. I have taken a couple of bootcamps, read all kinds of material and even had a one on one with a top “guru” and I still cant get numbers and its not for not trying.

I know, you will say, “well keep on trying and think positive” well that gets real old and does not work in the overall sense. Yes its good to have a positive outlook but a guy needs results for thats the reason we are in this the first place. I know for I have been in this for four years now and have like no dates with attractive women. None.

So if posture cannot help me and professional knowledge cannot help – how do you help guys that are short beyond saying something like improve your posture?

Thanks

Axel says:

If you’re not getting dates, then you’re doing something wrong. It’s as simple as that. What’s not simple or easy at all figuring it out on your own.

I don’t know where you are or what kind of boot camps and gurus and whatever you had dealings with, but I would recommend you try Eric or the other guys associated with Pickup101, you’d be sure to get some good advice.

Tz says:

The height issue recently came up on this thread, so I’d urge you to read all the comments: http://approachanxiety.com/2010/07/now-i-understand/

Zack says:

TZ – I just read that thread. Its interesting but really does not address my problem. Its not tangible or really concrete. I need something that can produce results. Sorry.

I have tried it all and beautiful women just do not seem to dig shorter guys. Same with online and to add insult to injury trying to get your friends to set you up with their wives or girlfriends single friends. I have not been set up in 5 years. Why? My buddies tell me that when they tell the young lady my height they excuse themselves very quickly. I did not believe him at one point and he actually recorded it one time for me. Its very discouraging.

Gurus? Lovesystems. Brad P and a host of others. Mystery Method, Neil Strauss SLA, David Deangelo, Captain Jack and a host of others I have tried alot of guys and now my bank account is drained so now I am poorer and still no dates.

Tz says:

Zack, I understand your frustration, but I’ll say the same thing I said in the other thread. If you’re walking around with the constantly repeating thought, “All women reject me because I’m too short,” I guarantee you are going to miss opportunities. You are creating a false reality. There are too many examples of short guys who do well with women for it to be universally true that all women will reject you because you’re short. Yes, there are women who will reject you right off the bat, but there’s a plethora of others who won’t. Focus on the positive. Not only is that a more beneficial attitude, I don’t see any upside or advantage from holding the view that your height is an insurmountable barrier. All it really does is hurt you and hold you back and that’s never a good thing.

I realize it’s difficult to change your thoughts on your own if you firmly believe them, so maybe consider talking to a psychologist? I’m not saying you’re crazy or anything, but shrinks can help you adopt more beneficial thinking patterns and ways of viewing and talking to yourself. And in the end, that’s the only difference between alpha’s and AFCs. Alpha’s have an internal voice that gives them positive feedback, maybe not all the time, but more often than not, even when they get rejected. AFCs have more negative internal voices. The great thing though is that there is no objective truth out there, so your reality is created by your thoughts. The way you think and talk to yourself is going to change how you relate to others, how you interpret what they’re doing, how you react, etc. A good place to start is some of Albert Ellis’ books.

You could also try the George Costanza approach: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY

Nonstop says:

Two words: Tom Cruise
Women don’t like short guys my ass.

Taking workshops won’t help you if you don’t believe in yourself.

Axel says:

Zack, that’s pretty much what I expected as far as the coaching you’ve gotten. If I was gonna get goaching I doubt I’d ever take my money elsewhere than Pickup101 or Eric.
Feel bad for ya for spending all your money on unrewarding experiences.

MrAntiquity says:

Zack…

I’m 5’3. I’ve done very well (with extremely cute women) when I’m feeling confident with myself. When I’m not feeling confident, I do terribly–and I sometimes fixate on my height to account for it.

But height ain’t the problem–mine or yours.

Yes, if you ask girls what they want, they’ll say taller men. So what? If you can turn a chick on, you can turn a chick on. People say all sorts of crap. She’s got a ‘type’? Who cares? Get her anyway. Or at least try.

I guarantee I’ve never been the ‘type’ of anyone I’ve dated.

Sure, maybe someone’s rejected me because I’m short…but to be honest I’m not aware of it. Average height of the girls I’ve dated is probably 5’6 to 5’8.

Your problem is that you’re aware that your short. Not rationally–of course you know it…but you’re hyper-aware of it psychologically. Gotta work to get rid of that.

I’m going to go against conventional wisdom here.

DO NOT try to make yourself look taller.
LOSE the shoes that make you 5’7.
IGNORE the advice that you have to wear horizontal stripes, or vertical stripes, or throw your chest out..

screw all that. If anything screams NAPOLEON COMPLEX!!!! it’s that type of thinking.

oh…and DO NOT SPEND ANOTHER FUCKING DIME ON COACHING, for the love of god! Your problem isn’t pick-up—your problem is self confidence. If you want to spend some money, talk to a psychologist–or go to YouTube and find self-help for free.

Take it from me man…

and I’m a quarter inch shorter than you :)

MrAntiquity says:

also…

tz has some great advice up there!

MrAntiquity says:

and last thing—

Eric’s got a great site (which helps me a lot) so want to make sure everyone takes my ‘don’t spend another fucking dime on coaching’ the right way!

Point is you need to sort yourself out, not throw money at pickup solutions that don’t effectively address your issues–and those are individual.

Robert says:

Just a quick question, I read the article and totally agree and I want to change my posture as well, but I’m finding it really hard because I’m 6’3 and everyone/thing around me is shorter than me so I, naturally, have to bend down a lot, to pick things up or to give a hug/kiss, and also while I’m just talking with people I have to look down, which causes my shoulders to slouch. Now that you’ve heard my predicament, my question is, what can I as tall person do to improve his posture? (this question is open to everyone) Im willing to listen to any advice anyone has to offer, so please help out if you can.

Thank you,
Robert

Juergen says:

Great article! I’m going to change my posture as well. For me it is not so much a confidence problem, but one of careless behavior towards my body over the last 20 years or so. Now my singing teacher told me the same thing and that it is especially important to achieve right breathing through good posture. I get the point that it is good for your health and good for your mind, but it doesn’t solve the problem of being able to approach women. I as a musiciam am everything but shy when I’m on stage and I talk to tons of people. The problem is, when I’m at a bar and have the intend of finding some girl for sex I don’t approach them for fear of rejection. Because I have an eye-sight of TWO percent many judge me because of that and good posture wouldn’t solve that problem

Axel says:

And when you’re not at a bar?

Also, two percent eye sight? As in legally blind? Why is that bad, do you have gigantic spectacles or something?

Cameron says:

Hey Robert,

I’m fairly tall as well (6″1) and I don’t always stand straight either. I know for me, when I stand straight I get a lot more attraction going, its incredibly simple and effective.

I know your taller than I am, but I want you to consider that its just as easy (or hard) for you to improve your posture as it is for anyone else.

I’m not a pick-up guru or anything though, but as far as I’m concerned unless your 7 feet tall you should be standing straight.

all the best Roger!

The Seeker says:

Eric,

Thanks for this. To be honest posture’s a huge problem for me. I find when I pay attention to my posture people notice, I was getting out of the car the other day when an attractive 40 something woman sized me up and down, and said “Wow, you are so tall, what sport do you play?” I’m like 5’7″ guys.

Funny how ladies can get so cute and “AFC’ish” when they are fishing for compliments :-)

When I was trying to solve my posture problem I did the wrong thing possible.

Basically, I went out and started doing a bunch of deadlifts in the gym. I thought that would help me compensate for my posture by building a stronger back, the problem was that I had weak abs and side muscles, and all it did was make the imbalance worse, and give me a perpetually sore back.

A friend of mine taught me a Chinese taoist exercise that seemed to help but it took too much self conscious “micro calibration” of my posture constantly. What I do now is this.

If I catch myself slouching I pretend there’s a string attached to my head, and I’m dangling like a puppet from it, I pay attention to the tension in my shoulders and relax.

This makes me sort of just straighten out.

At the same time I’m doing a lot of planks, you can read about them at Rusty’s fitness blackbook. They are doing me a world of good in getting my core muscles strong enough to compensate for the undue emphasis on my back I previously put.

My posture is still a point I need to focus on though, I’m reading your post on the Alexander technique and will incorporate this into what I’m already doing.

Carl888 says:

Here is a stunningly obvious example of two men exhibiting bad (beta) posture: http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-67855.html

Rosemary says:

Good article. I just found it while doing a search about anxiety and posture. My husband took a photo of me from the side as I was painting at my stand up easel and I was horrified to see my incipient dowager’s hump. OMG
As of today I am practicing standing, walking and sitting (the hardest) as tall as I can.
I noticed it helped my anxiety, also, when I was out shopping today.

Thanks!

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