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