Weekend Challenge: 

The Hump And Collapsed Vertebrae Preventer - Save Our Bones

I know you’ll want to get started right away with this weekend’s challenge, because it prevents the Dowager’s Hump (kyphosis) and collapsed vertebrae.

Both conditions are considered by the Medical Establishment to be inevitable aspects of aging, but that’s just not true.

In fact, the The Hump And Collapsed Vertebrae Preventer is just one of many ways you can overcome the effects of age on your bones, achieve a more youthful posture and prevent the pain associated with collapsed vertebrae.

When I tried this weekend's exercise, I was surprised at how challenging this seemingly simple move turned out to be!

Why: This exercise works key muscle groups in the upper back to strengthen and support the thoracic vertebrae. Strong, toned muscles keep your vertebrae in alignment, thereby allowing the “good stress” of muscle and gravity on bone to build mineral density.

Specifically, this week’s challenge works the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboid, and teres major muscles.

The trapezius muscles are the ones that run across the tops of your shoulders. When we ask for someone to “rub our shoulders,” the “traps” get the most attention. But these muscles also spread out over your upper back, attaching on either side of the thoracic vertebrae. Strong, supple traps are essential for flattening the upper back and preventing a hump.

You use your latissimus dorsi whenever you bend, raise and rotate your arms, or even sit upright. This week’s exercise actively works the top part of this large muscle group. The bottom part of the lats attach to the sacral vertebrae, making this an essential muscle for sitting upright and maintaining good posture.

The rhomboid is targeted in the The Hump And Collapsed Vertebrae Preventer. It is a rather small muscle that connects the scapula to the vertebrae, and it’s vitally important in avoiding kyphosis. It’s one of the main muscles you use when you “pull your shoulders back,” and you’ll see below how it’s used in this week’s challenge.

On the outside of the shoulder down to the scapula, you’ll find the teres major. This is another muscle that holds the shoulder blades in the right position for correct posture.

How: A light weight or dumbbell is needed for this exercise. A can of food will work fine, too – whatever feels moderately challenging and comfortable for you.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Pick up the weight and bend your elbow at a 90º angle. Your upper arm will be against your body and your lower arm will be pointing forward, parallel to the floor. Your thumb should be facing up as you grasp the weight.
  3. Without changing the angle of your arm, bring the weight back so your lower arm is now facing out sideways.
  4. Bring the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 8 times, or as many times as you comfortably can.
  6. Switch sides for another 8 reps on the other side.
  7. You can increase the number of repetitions if you want.

Always stand tall!

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Evening Vivian And Commenters,

    I Agree With Angela, It Was Confusing About The Thumb Position. But After Your Answer To That, I Re-Read The Whole Thing Again Several Times And Finally Saw What You Meant. Thank You Very Much For Sharing These Weekend Challenge Exercises With Us.

    Well Got To Go Now. Take Good Care Of Yourselves, And Stay Well!


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you, Leslie! Sometimes it’s difficult to convey subtle positions of the body when describing exercise! 🙂

  2. Mari

    What is good weight bearing exercises? Is walking 2 miles good? However, could the walking affect your knees if you have thin bones? Thanking you in advance for the answer.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Walking is an excellent weight-bearing exercise, Mari! You’ll find many articles on that topic here on our site. 🙂 Whether or not walking 2 miles a day will hurt your knees is entirely an individual issue – there are many factors, such as your health history, the shoes you wear, the terrain, etc. that influence the effects of walking on your joints. 🙂

  3. Angela

    “Your thumb should be facing up as you grasp the weight.”

    Vivian, on the demo her thumb isn’t facing up. It is facing sideways.

    Is this important?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sorry for the confusion, Angela! The thumb “facing up” was a description of the arm and hand position as shown in the illustration. 🙂

  4. Annabelle

    Thank you once again for your timely encouragement.

  5. Goldie

    Thanks for this e mail I am 84 and have kyphosis for some time now I will certainly try the exercise do you think it will help even at this age?
    Please,please, what can be done all your e mails are going into scam and I have to keep looking for them.
    As always your emails are so helpful and I do share them with others.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am so glad you enjoy the informative e-mails, Goldie! I don’t know what e-mail you have, but most e-mail programs will allow you to change the settings so messages you want to receive don’t end up in the spam folder, but in your inbox instead. 🙂 And there’s no reason that age should hold you back from improving your bone health through exercise!

  6. Bo Dela Haye

    Dowager’s hump can be caused by osteoporosis and by trauma that changes the thoracic spine;
    but more frequently, this hump is a culmination of lots of stress to the lower cervical vertebrae as the middle back bones – the thoracic spine – that flex foreward ( perpetually ).
    the most common cause is a subtle fracture of the spine, called a “wedge fracture “.
    this happens in older adults.
    sitting all day, slouching and also lots of screenwork compresses the front portion of your spinal bones which alters your posture and even straightening up will not get the facet closed !
    I won’t get into the rest of what i would define as the dowager’s hump, but that is all about the body protecting itself by laying down fibrous material in the layers of connective tissue which finally leads to a stiff spine, resulting in ( amongst others ) an ache in your lower neck.
    get hydration back into the cells in your neck ; start foam rolling your upperback, every day ! and improve on strengthening your upperback muscles and structures around it.

    as far as i’m concerned this looks like a sort of subscapularis activation exercise; one muscle of the four rotator cuff, with the role of dynamic stabilisation of the humeral head and , specificaly creating anterior stability with it’s posterior pull,
    and assisting in internally rotating the humerus, together with the pect.major, the lat.dorsi, anter.deltoid and the ters major.
    why movement from the upperbody in the video?
    looks like an activation of the lowerback stead of the needed stability in that area .

    with kind regards,

  7. LynnCS

    Just what I’ve been looking for. Thank you. Lynn


    Thanks so much for all your wonderful advise, you have helped me in so many way, I appreciate so much everything you send to me. From June Dunlea

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are most welcome, June Dunlea! I thank you, too, for being a part of the Save Our Bones community and expressing your appreciation. 🙂

  9. Karen Neuroth

    Does vigorous bicycle riding have any bone strengthening aspects?i have been told that it is not resistance exercise but when climbing hills I find this hard to believe. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Karen, bicycle riding is a bone-healthy activity – while it’s not weight-bearing per se, it is excellent resistance exercise! In Densercise, you’ll find weight-bearing, resistance, and postural. So bicycling fits right in. 🙂

      • Karen Neuroth

        Thank you so much. I can now keep bicycling as part of my exercise routine. And thank you for these posts-and the Zsave Our Bones program.

  10. suseela Dasari

    Long time since I made a comment.I used to do all these exercises when I had compression fracture in 2005 with
    band, lying down with both hands same time & with tubing one hand at a time arm at 90 degrees.Now the fracture healed,lost 2″ of height,not doing any exercises regularly as I am more involved in taking care of children,I love the most help- especially with .ADHD. I am amazed at the progress & guidance & service to the world you are offering in diet,exercise & making the world aware of the disabilities & to prevent.
    Showering you with love & blessings of the ones get benefited

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Suseela, thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your admirable work with children. I am so glad to hear your fracture has healed, and that you were able to keep moving during the healing process! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  11. Pat

    My 17 year old granddaughter’s doctor told my step-son and his wife (they adopted her from India when she was a baby) that she has the potential for dower’s hump as she has no arms and cannot be fitted with prosthesis. She does everything with her feet. Is there a way she can exercise to prevent the hump?

    • Ann

      Your granddaughter should work on core and posture exercises. The stronger she keeps her core muscles the less likely she will stoop over. One simple, yet effective exercise is to lie on the back on the floor or exercise mat with the knees bent, feet flat. Keep the shoulders relaxed and simply press the shoulder blades down. Start by holding about 5 seconds and do 8-12 times. You can vary the hold time and number of reps. Breathing is important and I like to hold the contraction for a long exhale. The exercise can also be done against a wall. Have the head in neutral and rear agains the wall with the feet a couple of inches from the wall. Once the movement becomes easy, practice doing it away from the wall and hopefully it will become a habit.

  12. Ann

    As a personal trainer I want to point out that while this exercise utilizes the muscles indicated, holding weights does not increase its effectiveness. Gravity is pulling downward and that is causing the forearm muscles to work harder, not the back ones. To gain more from this exercise, simply lie on your side with a straight spine and bent knees and do the same motion with a dumbbell or use resistance bands or tubing while standing, holding the end at a 90° angle to the hand. If you are working the right side the resistance will be coming from your left.

    • diana

      what is tubing?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you for the input, Ann!

  13. Marlyn pruder

    I would like the Cauliflour Bread Recipe PLease

  14. carla riffel

    Once again, vivian, I offer you many, many thanks for all your help! I just want to re-ask Maria’s question – can we do both arms at the same time?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Carla, it’s best to do one arm at a time so you can focus on the muscles of each side separately 🙂

  15. diana

    Sorry for going to another subject…bones loss in the jaw…at age 63 I had lost my first tooth so I wanted to get a tooth implant and was advised that I had bone loss in the jaw.Is there any way to get that back?

    • Trudy

      Hi, I am in the same situation. I built up my bones again with Vivian’s diet advice (80/20), but obviously it did not work for my jaw, only for my spine so far.
      I would like information on this issue as well.
      Many thanks!

  16. Pearl

    Thankyou Vivian, as I already have the collapsed vertebrae, will this exercise help me to improve my posture & stop my back from sagging?
    I’m looking forward to trying it, as I need to strengthen that part of me.
    Would a 500gram weight be too heavy ? as that is the smallest I have.

  17. Marie

    Can we do both arms simultaneously? Yes, it looks deceptively simple, but is not. I find I can’t open my arm a full 180 degrees, may be this is not even the aim, rather slow and steady stimulating and developing the area?

    As always, Vivian, thank you very much for all tour guidance, help, for your time and patience.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      It’s no problem if you can’t move your arm all the way out, Marie! Just do the movement the best you can, and you’ll still be activating those key muscle groups. 🙂

  18. Polly

    Is it the complete Posture Confidence System with the DVD, two ebooks and interview, or the DVD only that is being offered?

    • Customer Support

      We’re offering the complete package, Polly, so the ebooks and interview are included. The download info will be on the inside sleeve of the DVD. 🙂

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