The fight against slouching
The Blackroll Posture is a type of rucksack, only without the bag, which promises to give my lazy bones a jolt and improve my posture. It tugs at my shoulders every day, reminding me to put those shoulders back and get rid of that hunchback.
There are two crossed straps on your back, which wrap around your shoulders with an adjustable clip fastening – and that’s pretty much it. No smart features, no space technology. It’s a bit dull compared to all the gadgets that are flying around the office. Despite this, there’s a quite lot of interest in it. I’d hardly got the posture trainer on before my colleagues started to pester me with questions. We’re not all Quasimodos here, but some of us are clearly unhappy with our postures. Curiosity was mixed with scepticism. Do these «back straps», christened by our photographer Thomas Kunz, actually do anything? Answer: yes and no.
The posture trainer is an easy to use and at the same time extremely effective aid. Already at the first application the belt provides for a clearly improved body awareness.
What can and can’t it do?
If you’re expecting the Blackroll Posture to perform miracles, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. You have to put the work in. It doesn’t pull your shoulders back, it’s just a constant reminder to actively adopt a better posture and trick the creature of habit in you. If you’re only a little tense every now and then, that might do. But a genuine posture issue, caused by years of lounging and lolling around, won’t be resolved without additional training. A hunched back is mostly characterised by shortened chest and upper neck muscles, while parts of the back musculature are too weak. This is only corrected over months of targeted stretching and strengthening. This contributes to your posture, but your best bet is to get yourself a trainer or therapist to create an additional training plan. If you have serious issues, your first stop should be the doctor’s surgery.
How do you wear the Blackroll Posture?
Not too tight: you should be able to fit two fingers underneath the straps.
I bought a similar posture trainer a few years ago. To start with, I used it a lot, but then it became too uncomfortable. The problem: pinching under my armpits. The material was just too thin and twisted itself into one strand. As a result, the comfort level of the Blackroll Posture was particularly important to me, and it’s considerably better. It has wider cushioned sections like a rucksack. At the top, an elastic strap runs over your shoulders to your back. If your shoulders roll forwards, you will feel slight resistance and pull them back again. If you sit or stand straight, you can hardly feel it, but you shouldn’t wear it all day.
Not slouching in front of the screen can be really tiring.
- Only wear it for short periods to start with. If you can’t hold the correct position anymore and are sagging while wearing the Posture, give your musculature a break
- Then build up to wearing it for one to three hours twice a day
- Stop as soon as it becomes uncomfortable
- Not suitable for children under 12
I mainly wore the Posture while I worked at the computer. I always wore it over my t-shirt or jumper so that I could adjust it and – bonus – no-one in the office would look at me weirdly because I was wearing a rucksack without the bag. Piled up behind me are soft toys, a Lego Bugatti, various Nerf guns, a steam iron and a frying pan.The unusual is nothing new here. My colleague Myrtha Erni tried out the posture trainer too and can easily see how it would be hidden under a jumper or jacket. She also found it comfortable, so there was a consensus there.
Fits like a glove. Myrtha had no comfort issues either.
Even during exercise, the Blackroll Posture didn’t bother me. However, I did find it less helpful, as I pay more attention to my posture when I’m active than when I’m at my desk. While we’re on the subject of sport, you can support the effect of the Blackroll Posture with a few simple exercises, which require neither a gym nor a trainer. For example, you can do regular «wall slides»(video in German), which physiotherapist Melissa Stickel showed me in the article below to focus on shoulder movement. You will feel that there are muscles between your shoulder blades that need to be regularly engaged.
Der Beweglichkeitscheck durch drei kleine Tests
Appearance and finish
The Blackroll Posture is available in two different sizes: S/M/L and XL upwards. I wear the smaller version and the main thing that bugs me is the incredibly long Velcro strap that hangs over my shoulders. There is a tab to tidy away the ends neatly, but I think 10 centimetres less would have been fine for this size range. Other than that, the finish is solid and practical, without any wow factor. There’s a bit of light material, two elastic straps and a plastic buckle. There’s not much else to it. You have to watch out for anything that could catch on the Velcro, so you should probably keep it away from hats, scarves and wool jumpers.
For what it is, it isn’t cheap, but the comfort level of the Blackroll Posture is worth the price tag. My first posture trainer cost considerably less, but was quickly resigned to a drawer. If you persevere and wear it regularly, it’s worth the money, but a few hours a day in the office won’t work wonders. Nevertheless, it does work. The result is a better feeling in yourself and less tension, which is the first step to a better posture.
These articles might also interest you
Roller goals: the benefits of fascia training
Getting the Blackroll humming
Upright Go: Sit up straight!