I tried this 30-minute Pilates routine to improve my posture and it provided immediate relief for my tight shoulders

Desk job workers, you need to try this workout

Woman looking at laptop and practicing Pilates on bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pilates is a great way to develop strength, muscle, coordination, and increase mobility. But another benefit, and one that is often overlooked, is that it can improve your posture.

Certified Pilates instructor Nicole McPherson from Move With Nicole recently shared a routine designed to do just that. The 30-minute session focuses on stretching and strengthening muscles in your upper body.

As someone who spends a lot of time hunched over my desk working at a laptop, I'm always keen to try anything that might improve my posture, so I decided to give it a go.

How to do Nicole McPherson's Pilates routine

McPherson's routine is 30 minutes and you can follow along as she takes you through each movement. You don't need any equipment to do it, just a yoga mat if you have one.

What happened when I tried Nicole McPherson's Pilates routine for posture

I carved out time during my lunch break to try McPherson's routine. My upper body was not only feeling stiff from doing push-ups and pull-ups the day prior, but from a morning of sitting at my desk too—so I was hopeful this routine would provide some relief.

We started with some dynamic stretching followed by some strengthening exercises. One of these was the scapular push-up, which involved drawing the shoulder blades together while in a tabletop position and then pushing them apart. I have very tight shoulders, so this exercise immediately relieved some tension. It's also a great way to stabilize and strengthen the shoulders.

The rest of the workout featured Pilates moves that mobilize and stretch the back through flexion, extension, and rotation. As I'm used to lifting weights this routine didn’t challenge my strength, but I appreciated the mobility and flexibility-boosting elements. I felt looser as soon as I'd finished the routine.

Returning to my desk, I felt more conscious of my posture than usual and made an effort to sit up straight and avoid hunching my shoulders.

Although this workout wasn't a miracle fix for my posture, it encouraged me to be more aware of it and helped relax my upper-body, which made working from home far more comfortable.

Need something to support your home workouts and Pilates routines? Our guide to the best yoga mats can help

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.