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.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the rolled up towel.
  2. With the tops of your feet on the ground, lightly touch your big toes together and let your heels relax outward.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

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16 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. claire March 4, 2018, 1:54 am

    exercises are so on target

    very effective
    thank you

  2. Gillian February 24, 2018, 11:01 pm

    Hi vivian
    I was just looking at my back and noticing the slump which stressed me out. Then i received your email just when i needed it thank you for your research and excellent program i have the densecerise matrrial too. So doing the exercises to make the change to my health. Thanks again. Keep up the great work.

  3. Rita Clemans February 24, 2018, 11:51 am

    You always seem to hit on the problem area I have, when I need it. Thanks so much, will do the exercise starting now.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 24, 2018, 12:39 pm

      Wonderful, Rita! I love that these exercises are timely for you. Let us know how it goes!

      • Sheila W. Griffith February 24, 2018, 5:53 pm

        Thank you Vivian; I plan to get started with this exercise: very timely and so helpful.


        • Muriel February 25, 2018, 10:04 am

          I thought this exercise was similar to one that Vivian sent us sometime back where the head is lifted (hence the reason I’ve been doing it for months) but perhaps Sally is right, the head does not need to move in this particular version of it.

  4. Muriel Brown February 24, 2018, 6:18 am

    When I first started this exercise, I could not raise my nose from the mat. However, after doing it daily for some weeks/months, I can raise my nose 4.5 inches from the floor. Surprisingly, it also pulls on the stomach muscles which is a good thing. Perhaps one day I’ll manage what Vivian does! My advice to anyone is, just persist in doing the exercise and it does get easier.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 24, 2018, 10:49 am

      Absolutely, Muriel! Practice makes perfect 🙂

      • Sally Timmins February 25, 2018, 8:10 am

        I didn’t think the head was to be lifted in this exercise, just the arms.

        Thank you,

  5. Norma February 24, 2018, 5:55 am

    On step #4,when do you inhale?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 24, 2018, 11:28 am

      Eileen is right, Norma. You inhale when you’re in the starting position (step 3), and then exhale when you bring your elbows up.

    • eileen February 24, 2018, 6:06 am

      you inhale in step 3

  6. Christine February 24, 2018, 5:05 am

    Is this exercise safe for those with osteoporosis of the spine?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 24, 2018, 10:47 am

      You should ask this question to your health practitioner, Christine.

    • eileen February 24, 2018, 6:03 am

      can this exercise be done lying on a bed?

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 24, 2018, 10:48 am

        If you have a firm mattress only, otherwise, you’re better off doing in on a floor mat or carpeted area.

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