Today we’re going to focus on the shoulders and how to stretch and work them to prevent kyphosis (more specifically, hyperkyphosis), also known as Dowager’s Hump.

I’m also eager to share with you a startling just-published study on kyphosis that will give you yet more reasons to want to avoid it.

The Forward Shoulder Corrector flattens the upper back, stretches the chest, and brings your shoulders out of the rounded-forward position characteristic of kyphosis.

Don’t let the simplicity of The Forward Shoulder Corrector fool you – I really felt my shoulders and back muscles working when I did it! And it feels really good to stretch and work this often-neglected part of the body.

Why: Kyphosis is not only unsightly and uncomfortable (even painful). It’s recently come to light that this condition is associated with some really serious health problems.

Scientifically Proven: Kyphosis Is Associated With Increased Fracture Risk And Early Death

Yes, you read that correctly. Kyphosis actually raises your risk for non-spinal fractures and may shorten your life.

A brand-new study, just out this month, shows that kyphosis increases your chance of sustaining a fracture.

“Greater kyphosis is associated with an elevated non-spine fracture risk independent of traditional fracture risk factors in older women. Furthermore, worsening kyphosis is also associated with increased fracture risk…”1

In other words, not only does kyphosis put you at greater risk for fractures; the risk increases if the kyphosis worsens.

Other studies from 1983 to 2009 reveal more ominous findings. They have shown a disturbing (but rarely mentioned) association between kyphosis and early mortality.

The study concludes. (emphasis mine):

“After adjusting for age and other predictors of mortality including osteoporosis related factors such as low bone density, moderate and severe prevalent vertebral fractures, and number of prevalent vertebral fractures, women with greater kyphosis were at increased risk for earlier mortality.”2

But this is not intended to frighten you! This is valuable information that will inspire you to take action and motivate you to stay the course. Because there’s good news: kyphosis can be prevented and even corrected.

And The Forward Shoulder Corrector is a great place to start.

How: This exercise is the ultimate do-anywhere move. You can do this standing or sitting. I have tried it both ways, and I find both to be equally effective. As an aside, though, if you’re sitting down you don’t have to worry about losing your balance.

  1. Hold your arms out to make two 90-degree angles: one with your shoulders and the other with your elbows.
  2. Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds (feel free to work up to this, of course).
  4. Relax the shoulder blades (keep your arms at the same angles).
  5. Repeat 3 to 5 times for one set; do 2 to 3 sets per day.

Tips:

  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together, not moving your elbows back.
  • Resist the temptation to poke your head forward as you do this. Forward head posture, or FHP, contributes to kyphosis. (The Forward Shoulder Corrector also corrects FHP if done correctly.)
  • Make sure your back does not arch forward.

Combining Exercises Makes Them More Effective

Just as the body’s systems do not work in isolation, no one exercise will cover every aspect of a condition or muscle group you want to target. An excellent exercise to combine with The Forward Shoulder Corrector is a challenge from a previous weekend: The Posture Enhancer.

Get The Most Effective Posture Exercises!

Learn the 52 exercise moves that improve posture and jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.

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Enjoy your weekend!

References

1 Kado, Deborah M., MD, MS, et al. Hyperkyphosis, Kyphosis Progression, and Risk of Non-Spine Fractures in Older Community Dwelling Women: The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF).” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. October 2014. 29(10): 2210-2216. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177348/
2 Kado, Deborah M., MD, MS, et al. “Hyperkyphosis predicts mortality independent of vertebral osteoporosis in older women.” May 19, 2009. 150(10): 681-687. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2711520/

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  1. Betty

    Thank you Vivian for today’s exercise. Its exactly what I need so must discipline myself to keep at it. Its sure to help my FHP
    which causes me pain round the neck area. This one is so simple as well and I can sit at the computer and get on with it. Sounds like a plan and a winner! Discipline is the key word.
    You bring encouragement to so many of us. God bless.

  2. Sam

    Dear Vivian,

    Thank-you for all your advice. Do you have a link for any info on how to turn on the fat-burning switch? Whatever I eat does not seem to help with weightloss!

  3. kristie keith

    I never knew there were soo many proactive things I could do to strengthen my bones improve my posture. Thank you soo much .

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Isn’t it empowering to discover that, Kristie? I know it was for me!

  4. diane diehl

    Have your manual and so enjoy your emails. You are doing so much for us women Cannot thank you enough Vivian! Bless you!

  5. Susan stough

    Hi I just tried to log into the video access for 15 minutes a day. I bought it about a year ago and wanted to follow it while on t trip coming up but the access was denied. Please send how to log in again. Thank you. Sue stough

  6. Feona

    This is the very first exercise that begins my Pilates routine, but I do it lying flat on a slope and incorporate slow breathing. It opens your lungs up, as well as helping to keep your shoulders where they should be.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sounds like a great start to your workout, Feona!

  7. Annabelle

    Another great tip – thank you!

  8. LynnCS

    Fabulous!

  9. Marlene Villar

    Dear Vivian,
    This weekend exercise looks simple and easy to remember but very effective. Thank you very much
    Vivian for sharing it. Have a wonderful day. Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Marlene. I like the easy to remember aspect of this exercise, too!

  10. Elizabeth

    This is one of the exercises we do at a class at the local leisure centre. Now I know it can prevent kyphosis, I’ll be practising at home every day. I’ve been practising the exercises you describe in your articles, as well as taking yoga and pilates classes. I went for a second DEXA scan recently and there was a slight improvement in the spine area, I feel sure the exercises and the healthy diet have all helped with this. Thanks.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am so glad to hear of your improvement, Elizabeth! Keep up the good work!

  11. Rita Clemans

    I already have the Hump, fracture T7 vertebrate, now am suffering from Sciatica back pinched nerve. The fracture was repaired with bone cement, which eased the pain.
    About 12 years ago I took Fosamax for 2 years, Bone density test Normal after that. I blame all my problems on this drug. Now they want me to take FORTEO, which I have refused.
    I was exercising for 12yrs. at Fitness center and enjoyed it until Sciatica pain started and had to stop.
    Will continue to follow your program and pray to get better and heal. Thank you for all you help. Rita

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you for your feedback, Rita! I am sorry to hear about your current health challenges, but I want to congratulate you for taking responsibility for your health. I wish you a speedy recovery!

  12. Carol

    I’ve been doing this exercise both ways, with arms relaxed by my side and holding them up. I found with each one I feel different areas of muscles being stretched, some are very subtle. I like isometric exercise a lot because I’m able to do them and they work best for my condition. Vivian, thank you for all the great information!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s a good idea, Carol – as I mentioned to Rosemary below, the positioning of the arms move the shoulder blades to different positions, changing the targeted muscles slightly. 🙂

    • kathy

      Yes, the level of the hands definitely makes a difference in muscles used and stretched.

  13. kathy

    My chiropractor also suggests doing this as “pushups” in the corner, or in a doorway.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Great tip, Kathy!

  14. Rosemary

    Just been trying this.Why does one need the arms out like that? I seem to be able to pull my shoulder blades together as much with my arms just relaxed.

    I’m sure there’s a reason though! Thanks for all your help Vivian.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Rosemary,
      When you hold your arms at that angle, it positions your shoulder blades for optimal benefit from the exercise. 🙂

      • LynnCS

        Vivian. I don’t know how to go back to see if you responded to my inquiries on Forteo. It’s getting harder to hold off my Dr. who wants me to take it. Anything more about it than what you said about the black box warning?

        • Liane

          About 12 years ago a DEXA scan showed over a 20% bone loss in my spine and hips. I took Fosamax for about a year until I researched it and decided to stop. I started taking D-3 and a K supplement. I now take a product called Revolution D from the Stop Aging Now institute. I also do many stretching and isometric exercises daily and am very conscious of the foods and other things I put in my body. I’m now 64 and finally got around to having another DEXA scan done (I’m not a fan of x-rays) The new scan showed an incredible change! I now have the bones of a 30 yr. old with a less than 1% chance of fracture. I am proof that you don’t have to line big pharms pockets by taking questionable and dangerous drugs. Stick fast to your decision! Yours truly, a “non-compliant” and much better lady.

        • Customer Support

          Lynn, since your question is regarding a topic that is not covered in the blog post, feel free to use the Search feature at the top of the page. Simply type in “Forteo” (or anything else you want to read about), and all the posts Vivian has written on that topic will be listed. I hope this helps!

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