Watching athletes transition from cycling to running during a triathlon, you can always spot the competitors that will have a successful race even 100 yards into a run, says Earl Walton, the Tampa, Fla.,-based global director of training and coaching for Ironman. “The runners that are able to come off the bike and run tall are ready for the challenge ahead. Your run will be more successful if you can carry your upper body weight in an efficient manner.”

After hours hunched over a bicycle, or a laptop, it is easy for muscles like the hip flexors to tighten causing the core and glutes to become inactive, says Mr. Walton. “You see a lot of triathletes running with their shoulders hunched because their core is turned off,” he says. “Their upper body looks like a sack of potatoes. You can get the same look after a day of conference calls or computer work.”

Mr. Walton calls this his standing tall workout. It helps train his triathletes to transition from a hunched cycling position to prime running posture. It also works for transitioning from your desk to a workout. “At the end of the work day we want our body to go from a question mark shape to an exclamation point,” he says. “These exercises will help activate your muscles to get you back into that strong posture so you don’t pull or strain a muscle as you go from work to coaching your kid’s Little League practice.” Perform these exercises as a workout to build better posture or use them as a warm-up for your workout, he says.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com

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