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Weekend Challenge: The Hump Straightener

weekend-challenge

Today I’m going to show you an exercise to help you correct and prevent Dowager’s Hump, a concern for all of us in the Save Our Bones community.

Dowager’s Hump (aka kyphosis) begins with forward head posture and rounded shoulders, and culminates in an unattractive “hunchbacked” appearance. More often than not, it results from poor posture, and not necessarily from osteoporosis. The good news is that it is correctable with targeted exercise.

The Hump Straightener is an  example of how by strengthening the right muscles, you can prevent and correct this dreaded condition.

Why: The Hump Straightener uses your body’s own resistance to strengthen and tone key muscles in your upper back. When these muscles are strong, they hold your vertebrae in alignment and prevent you from slumping forward. And the exercise itself stimulates bone growth and density in the vertebrae.

The Hump Straightener works the posterior deltoid, rhomboid, and middle trapezius muscles. Let’s take a closer look at how these important back muscles help you stand straight.

  • The posterior deltoid is located right behind the rounded top of the shoulder. When you do shoulder rolls, these are probably the first muscles you engage. They attach to the scapular spine, a portion of your scapula (shoulder blade) that is raised. They are crucial in holding your shoulders back and straight.
  • The rhomboid muscles are in pairs, the major and minor rhomboids. The minor rhomboid runs from the top inside edge of the scapula up to the last vertebrae of the neck. The major rhomboid is wider and runs from the inside of the scapular to 4 thoracic vertebrae. Both the major and minor rhomboids attach to key vertebrae that are involved in kyphosis (and the prevention thereof).
  • The middle trapezius muscle is the middle portion of a large and complex muscle known as the trapezius. The middle “traps” lie across the back of your shoulders and neck, running along the back of the collarbone and attaching to the first few thoracic vertebrae.

    Getting these muscles toned, flexible, and strong will be your safeguard against bad posture and Dowager’s Hump.

  • How: For the Hump Straightener all you need are two light weights, such as 2-5 pound dumbbells or cans of food. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold one weight in each hand.
    2. Bend forward at the hips to an approximate 45-degree angle. Extend your arms down in front of you.
    3. Squeezing your shoulder blades, lift both arms up and out to shoulder level. Elbows should be slightly bent.
    4. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position. Repeat 8 times for 1 set.
    5. Do 3 sets of 8 or as many as you comfortably can.

    Tips:

    • Do not lift your arms any higher than shoulder level.
    • You can do this exercise while sitting down if you prefer; just keep your back straight and lean forward at the hips, bringing your chest out over your knees.

    These and other specific muscle groups are vital for correct posture. Dr. Natalie Cordova, chiropractor and posture expert, knows which muscles need to be targeted to give you the best posture and protection against Dowager’s Hump.
    In her DVD, Posture Confidence, Dr. Cordova shows you exactly what to do to achieve a beautiful straight posture to prevent and even reverse the unsightly Dowager’s Hump.

    Through a series of carefully designed exercises, Dr. Cordova gives you the confidence you need to stand tall. She also shows you how to sit, stand, and move in everyday life so as to promote optimal posture.

    You’ll notice a flatter upper back, reduced back and neck pain, and better posture while practicing the moves in Posture Confidence. And it’s very customizable – you can do the 4 complete workouts every day, or just several times a week. It only takes a few minutes, and the rewards are well worth it!

    Broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, Posture Confidence also includes a sitting workout so you can do the exercises anywhere, anytime.

    Normally, Dr. Cordova sells her DVD set for $37. But Save Our Bones community members who use the coupon code VIVIAN at checkout will be able to purchase Posture Confidence at a discount, for just $29 plus free shipping for Savers!

    And if you’re not satisfied, you can return the DVD within 60 days and get your money back. Guaranteed.

    Please click here to get your copy of Dr. Cordova’s Posture Confidence DVD →

    Till next time,

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36 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) June 11, 2014, 4:05 pm

    Good Afternoon Vivian,

    I’ve Done A Similar Exercise To This One, And I Does Real Well.
    I Have Always Been Posture Conscious, Because Of Things Like The Dowager’s Hump.
    Thank You For All You Do To Help Us Save Our Bones.

    Until Next Time – Take Good Care Of Yourself, And Stay Well!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

  2. Loy June 9, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Dear Vivian,
    my hunch could probably be due to the long hours I spend each day doing desk bound work like using the computer and paperwork. My back muscles tend to get tired and I think I develop a hunch gradually. I wonder if the hunch is a problem with my bonny frame or the weak muscles.

  3. Beryl June 9, 2014, 1:38 am

    Dear Vivian
    A recent X-Ray shows that I have an almost complete collapse of T8, partial collapse of T7, T11 and L1. consequently I have an exaggerated Dowagers Hump and have lost 2inches in height. Is it possible for these vertebrae to heal and give me back at least 1 inch? Your constant informative emails really motivate me and are a great reminder of how ones body can fix itself if only given the chance. I am a very active 70 year old and do not take any medication.
    Regards Beryl

  4. sarah June 8, 2014, 11:29 pm

    just realized yesterday i have that awful dowager hump. going to start this protocol for some improvement thank u very much

  5. Mary Sapp June 8, 2014, 3:00 pm

    Dr. Vivian, You are a godsend. I have been reading your material (Save Our Bones etc)
    for quite some time. I can always count on you to cover the subjects least covered by
    other medical journals. Thank you for your exercises for balance and back hump and your posture DVD.
    Keep up the good work. Mary S.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 8, 2014, 3:52 pm

      So glad you can use the info and exercises, Mary!

  6. Janet J June 8, 2014, 2:36 pm

    Thank you Vivian for this Info on this condition. I’m 72 and am working to avoid the Dowager’s Hump. please continue with these emails because I need them . I’m doing yoga. Thanks to the all the comments also too. very helpful.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 8, 2014, 3:50 pm

      Of course we all want to avoid or correct the hump, so I’m thrilled to be able to help everyone in the Save Our Bones community do that :)

  7. LynnCS June 8, 2014, 1:20 am

    Thanks so much for this start at getting my back and shoulders in shape. I’m 75 and do have osteoporosis, so exercise is a must. I have that dip in the back of my upper arms/shoulders and wondered what exercises might be right for that. I’ll get right on it and glad to find out about Posture Confidence. Perfect.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 8, 2014, 3:48 pm

      You’re very welcome, Lynn!

  8. Carol Harter June 7, 2014, 6:09 pm

    Does the DVD on Posture Confidence have closed captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing? Since I do not have DVD in my iMac computer, can it be downloaded thru your website if paid? Please reply and thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 7, 2014, 7:01 pm

      Carole, unfortunately Posture Confidence doesn’t have closed captions nor can it be downloaded. You might want to get the Densercise Epidensity System instead, which is in downloadable format and contains many postural exercises. You can read more about it here: http://saveourbones.com/densercise/

      • Carol Harter June 8, 2014, 1:41 pm

        Thank you for your response. Please understand that Deaf and Hard of Hearing and hearing people have EQUAL accessibility to get the same information, according to the American with Disability Act. If there is no closed captions, it is considerably discriminated. There is no exception. Thank you for reading this message.

  9. Jim June 7, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Hi Vivian,
    Liked the look of the Hump Straightener. Unfortunately it comes too late for me with advanced Ankylosing Spondylitis, however I shall continue with this particular exercise to maintain muscle strength. Thanks.

  10. Marguerite Tulett June 7, 2014, 2:42 pm

    I have scoliosis and am wondering if there are exercises I could do to stop it from getting any worse—-it’s quite bad now. I am 85 but in quite good condition as I do yoga and stretches 5 times a week.
    The last time I tried lying over a small rolled up towel I had excruciating pain across the upper back and couldn’t move at all from the floor for the pain….had to call the paramedics. I don’t know why that happened .

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 7, 2014, 3:30 pm

      I suggest you consult with your health practitioner about the exercises that could best improve your condition. But remember that moves that strengthen your back muscles helps improve your posture. And as I mentioned earlier, in Posture Confidence there is a complete set of posture exercises you can practice while sitting down :)

  11. Elizabeth Matulich June 7, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Hello Vivian. I like your articles I am 90 yrs. young, and am using a walker, can’t walk without it, so a lot of your exercises I cannot do, is there an exercise I can do sitting I have arthritis and osteoporosis. can you suggest something thanks. Elizabeth

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 7, 2014, 3:27 pm

      I’m so proud of you, Elizabeth! You can practice the Hump Straightener while sitting down, and you might want to check out Posture Confidence. Dr. Cordova offers a complete sit-down workout to improve your posture :)

  12. Marlene Villar June 7, 2014, 1:07 pm

    Hello Vivian,
    Thank you very much!
    Take care always. Marlene

  13. Linda June 7, 2014, 9:57 am

    You are amazing and so inspiring, Vivian….

  14. June Dunlea June 7, 2014, 8:26 am

    You are the best love all your e-mail’s so helpful in taking care of our bones, thanks so much from June Dunlea

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 7, 2014, 9:26 am

      You are most welcome, June!

  15. Julia June 7, 2014, 8:19 am

    Hi Vivian, my knee hurts going down the stairs. The dr says it’s normal wear n tear. I’ve been doing physio for about three months now but it doesn’t seem to help. What else can I do? Thank you. Julia

    • Dee June 7, 2014, 1:13 pm

      Hi Julia, Had the same problem. My PT suggested stationary bike. It takes a while but definite improvement.

      • Julia June 7, 2014, 8:06 pm

        Thanks very much, Dee. Would try that. How long must I do per session?

        • Dee June 8, 2014, 12:45 am

          Hi Julia, Start out with 5 or 10 minutes and work up to 20 or 30. I have a reading rack on my bike and it helps the time go by.

          • Julia June 8, 2014, 2:24 am

            Thanks, Dee. Really appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

  16. L.D. June 7, 2014, 7:25 am

    Hi Vivian, How timely. As I prepared to shower I happened to catch my side view. I just wanted to sit down and cry. The Dowagers is very pronounced now and this morning was going to see if you had already given an exercise for this very thing. My arm muscles are bad right now so I’ll stick with the food cans until I can progress to the heavier weights. Thankful I can also do this in a chair on the not so good days. I very much look forward to the weekend challenges, each one gives me hope. Oh yes, I would most likely be kissing my knees by now if I hadn’t seen a news segment a couple of months ago showing a person with a cane and very exaggerated hfp. I had been using a cane for stability and realized I was going that way also. I’m doing this one today. Thanks so much!!!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 7, 2014, 7:56 am

      How wonderful that this information is right on time for you, L.D.! You can also do this exercise lying out your stomach on a bench if that makes it easier for you. :)

      • L.D. June 7, 2014, 8:29 am

        Thanks for the tip but, I have an ostomy and hernia so stomach is excluded from any exercise and me being cautious whatever I do. Good to know in case others would need that position… Thanks so much….

      • Carol Harter June 7, 2014, 8:11 am

        Does the DVD on Posture Confidence have closed captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing? Since I do not have DVD in my iMac computer, can it be downloaded thru your website if paid?

  17. Carla Riffel June 7, 2014, 7:22 am

    I am very interested in the posture confidence DVD but am unable to play DVDs anymore since everything is now a download. Is there someway to purchase a download of this?

    • Customer Support June 7, 2014, 7:58 am

      Hi Carla,
      At this time, Dr Cordova only offers DVDs. But Densercise has many posture-boosting exercises as well, and it’s a download. That might be an acceptable alternative for you. :) You can check it out here:
      http://saveourbones.com/densercise/

  18. Sharon Davidson June 7, 2014, 4:50 am

    Could you pl;ease show us a picture of these muscles you are talking about (posterior deltoid, rhomboid muscles, and middle trapezius muscle)? You did a great job describing them, but I am a visual person and learn a lot more when I can actually see what’s being described.
    Thanks a lot.

    • Christine June 7, 2014, 7:08 am

      I know what you mean but it’s easy to just google them. And you can get lots of images that way too. And a good education!

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