Weekend Challenge: Shoulder Blade And Back Strengthener
If you tend to slump forward and round your shoulders during the day, if you experience pain, stiffness, or discomfort in your shoulders, or if you are fighting the “hunchback” condition known as kyphosis, this weekend’s exercise is for you.
The Shoulder Blade And Back Strengthener works key muscles in your back and shoulders to pull your shoulder blades back into a balanced position that’s optimal for your bone health and posture. And as you perform this exercise regularly, the muscles will become stronger, and your shoulders will begin to correct their position.
And all the equipment you’ll need is a rolled up bath towel. So grab a towel and let’s get to it!
At the Save Institute, we often receive emails from Savers requesting exercises for kyphosis. This hunchbacked condition tends to be associated with osteoporosis and thoracic fractures, although kyphosis does not necessarily mean you have osteoporosis or fractures. However, kyphosis is a bone health issue, and low bone density can certainly contribute to it.
Additionally, some Savers are not sure if they have the beginnings of kyphosis or not. It often manifests as poor posture, but it can be quite subtle at first. If you’re not sure about your posture, take this quick test to find out:
Even if you “passed” the test, your daily habits may be silently undermining your posture. Office work and computer work, for example, promote rounding of the shoulders and forward head posture (FHP). Other aspects of modern life, including the sedentary nature of daily living, result in slumped shoulders and imperfect posture.
Without exercises designed to address these important areas, the muscles that hold your shoulder bones and vertebrae in place become weak and/or tight, so even if you try to “straighten up” later in the day, you’ll slip back into the slouched position your muscles have become accustomed to. Exercises like the Shoulder Blade And Back Strengthener are the perfect solution because they tone and “train” these muscles to hold your bones in the right position.
As mentioned earlier, an ordinary bath towel is all you need for this exercise. You’ll be lying on your stomach resting your forehead on the towel.
- Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the rolled up towel.
- With the tops of your feet on the ground, lightly touch your big toes together and let your heels relax outward.
- Interlock your hands behind your head near the top of your neck; your hands will stay in this position throughout the exercise. Take a deep breath.
- As you exhale, lift your arms up until your elbows are pointing straight out to the sides, not angled up or down. Hold this for a few seconds, and then exhale as you slowly lower your elbows back to the floor.
- Repeat the lifting and lowering of your elbows 10 times (as long as you are comfortable). Feel free to take a break, and then do another set of ten.
This exercise might look familiar to you if you have the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System. There are various exercises throughout the Densercise™ system that address postural muscles, such as Flying Snow Angels on page 45 and The Spine Strengthener on page 14.
Isn’t it good to know that you can be proactive about preventing or correcting a hunched back? Even if you find yourself slumping frequently, you can take action to prevent that postural habit from damaging your spine.
How did you like this weekend’s challenge? I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment below.
Enjoy the weekend!