The more we sit, the more our posture is at risk. Simple. Today’s post takes a careful look at a new posture exercises product aimed at helping users fight back – the StandUpStr8.
Posture Exercises versus Posture Brace
If you have read our posts before, you’ll know that we treat anything that acts as a posture brace with a lot of caution. The reason? Well, a posture brace does exactly that – it holds some aspect of your posture in a rigid position. The risk here is that the muscles that should have been doing the supporting become weaker and less flexible through lack of use. (There are exceptions to this, for example if a wearer needs to protect an injury, or they have specific repetitive lifting tasks to do safely.)
The StandUpStr8 does not work as a brace, rather it aims to strengthen potentially weak muscles – it is an exercise device. This is a crucial piece of information to keep in mind, as if you are looking for a product to act as a brace, this is not it. However, if you understand the importance of keeping key muscle groups strong to maintain a healthy posture, the StandUpStr8 begins to make a lot more sense.
What’s In the Box?
Our test sample came neatly boxed with a simple instruction sheet included. Our initial impression that the product is well made has been reinforced over the weeks that we have been testing it. It should prove durable and give the user considerable service before wearing out.
Photo 1 shows the device adjusted to fit a fairly small framed person. As you can see, there is plenty of adjustment to cater for larger builds, and because of this, the StandUpStr8 only comes in one size. The buckle system that is used to make size adjustments is simple to use and secures the straps with no hassles.
Photo 2 is in the same orientation as when a wearer has it on and shows how the arm loops are joined to the resistance band that provides the exercise aspect of the device.
Photo 3 is a close up of the central rubber band. The durability of this part will be crucial to the long term performance of the posture exerciser. We believe that it is a quality part, but as with all rubber composite materials, it is probably a good idea to store your StandUpStr8 away from direct sunlight to avoid any damage by the ultraviolet rays.
How it Works
The StandUpStr8 is designed to provide resistance training to your upper back muscles in general and the trapizeus muscles in particular. Amongst other duties, these muscles are designed to stabilise your upper back and to provide a balance with the pectorals on you chest.
Getting started – to use the device, you first need to adjust it to fit the width of your shoulders. We found that this step is crucial. If the StandUpStr8 is adjusted too wide, you won’t be able to stretch the band properly. If it is too narrow, there will be too much tension. However, we found that it was very easy to get right if the wearer stood normally and a friend snugged the straps up to match. Once adjusted it stays that way.
The instructions explain how to pull your shoulders down and back against the tension of the central elastic band, hold the tension for 5 seconds, then relax. This is called one rep in their system.
You are also given a suggested posture exercises programme to follow. It starts very conservatively suggesting 5 reps every second day and progressively increasing the number of reps to 12 per session over time. We suggest that most people could accelerate that progress. However, we are sure that the manufacturers are simply being mindful that some potential users will have a very low level of muscle fitness and need to start slowly. If you find the exercise very easy, we suggest that you slightly tighten the straps so that more tension is present.
Did it Work?
In a word, yes. Over the weeks we trialled the product it noticeably helped strengthen the postural alignment of our tester’s shoulders. They also reported feeling a positive “tension” in their upper back muscles.
We need to make a couple of additional points though. Firstly, our tester was also committed to a range of other exercises (including pushups, planks, and stretching). This may have had a bearing on their success. Also, we increased the intensity of the training programme after the first week (still including rest days) as they were finding it very easy.
Ken Belveal is the man behind the StandUpStr8. As a personal fitness trainer for over 20 years, Ken became increasingly interested in the negative postural impact on people who spend a lot of their time sitting.
In his trainer role he started to look hard at the way shoulder alignment and upper back muscle tone effected overall posture.
His solution, the StandUpStr8, was developed to counteract, rather than brace against, these negative environmental factors. This is a point that Ken makes strongly.
At just under $50usd the StandUpStr8 is good value. Our medium term test showed that it made a noticeable difference to our test user ( who intends to keep using it). Ken offers a 90 day money back guarantee to encourage interested people to try one – a better offer than you get with just about any other product that we know of. Keep in mind that it provides posture exercises – not a bracing effect. If you want to try one yourself, you can get one here.