Is poor posture getting in the way of your acting? By strategically stretching and strengthening specific muscles, actors can improve their alignment, overall health, as well as their work as an actor. After all, a relaxed, strong, dynamic posture is conducive to creating dynamic characters. Improving posture empowers actors to stand more upright; many insist it boosts their confidence level; they can breathe, speak and sing easier; move with greater mobility and deliberateness; and it reduces stress. 

Modern-day habitual patterns erode people’s posture in any number of ways. Individuals frequently slouch at desks and while driving in cars, and they routinely tilt their heads downward while texting. This results in rounded shoulders, hunched backs, forward head posture, and shortened pectoral muscles. These practices also add stress to the spine and strains the bones, muscles, and joints needed to hold the backbone upright. Making things worse, poor posture essentially smashes a person’s organs together, making it difficult for the lungs and intestines to function efficiently. Thus, an unaligned stance interferes with breathing and digestion. 

By taking steps to improve their posture, actors can benefit both personally and professionally. Here are some benefits of good posture for actors. 

A more assured presence and voice

Actors are sure to feel more centered in their instrument and appear more confident entering the audition room when they carry themselves with a strong, upright posture. But for many, correcting postural issues is not a quick fix in which a person simply “straightens up.” For long-lasting results, being able to carry oneself properly often requires a routine of stretching the pectoral muscles in addition to strengthening the back muscles. It allows for the chest to open up fully, enabling one to breathe more deeply and have greater command of the voice. Just as singers understand the importance of maintaining excellent posture to improve their vocal tone, likewise, actors can project their voices with more power and ease whether they’re auditioning or projecting their voice to the furthest seated audience members in the theater. 

Ease of movement

Actors can move their bodies more fluidly and effortlessly when they exhibit good posture. So whatever movement a character is required to perform—dance at a concert, run across a field, lift a child, walk across the street, throw a ball, decorate a cake, text a friend, fall to their knees—it will come across as more physically dynamic when the actor exhibits terrific posture. Over all, strong, agile actors can take on the physicality of their characters and capture their body language more effectively. 

Reduce stress

The manner in which people carry themselves can quickly give away where they carry their tension or pain. A sore neck, tight shoulders or hips—if the actor is feeling it, it will likely transfer to the character. Proper posture stirs up less physical stress. Aligned actors carry their bodies with relative ease, allowing them to tend to the physical and emotional wellbeing of their characters. Also, the deliberate breathing which accompanies stretching and strengthening exercises oxygenates the muscles, helping to relax the body.

Posture-building techniques are varied, tried, and true. Some people prefer to do Pilates; others Yoga. Then there’s always Tai Chi, the Alexander Technique, and the Egoscue Method. On the other hand, taking dance classes, working out at the gym, and playing sports all help to maintain great posture too. 

If you’ve noticed your posture could use some work, whichever technique you choose to use, remember to start off slow. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to push themselves to accomplish too much too soon. So, be realistic and then stick with a routine. After all, many actors insist that improving their posture not only informed their acting but, in fact, changed their lives.