Weekend Challenge: The Hump Straightener - Save Our Bones

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:

    1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold one weight in each hand.
    2. Bend forward at the hips to an approximate 45-degree angle. Extend your arms down in front of you.
    3. Squeezing your shoulder blades, lift both arms up and out to shoulder level. Elbows should be slightly bent.
    4. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position. Repeat 8 times for 1 set.
    5. 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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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Shaff

    I have had this hump for some many years I have also been in the gym for over 12 years I learned to live with this hump but the back of my neck just did not look normal it’s like I had no proper neck and this was Horrible also I have noticed my upper body is big but my legs and wrists ankles are thin it learnt to live with it but it’s only after my marriage when my wife started to high light this issues to me I started to feel bad and I am 38 naw and realy want to sort this out

  2. Janette

    What weighted vest do you suggest and how often should it be worn to correct the problem?

  3. Mac

    I am 15 and I have what looks to be dowagers jump and I don’t know what to do. I am very embarrassed by it and I want it to go away what are some options that can make it go away.

    • Theresa Wilkerson

      I have it as well but I’m 46 but I’m sorry that you have it I think that the best thing we can do is do these exercises in my case up my calcium but in your case probably not because that’s for women that have already passed menopause stage so for you to keep your head forward and your posture straight and your shoulders back and I hope that it’ll be reversed. Good luck.

  4. Cheri Bickley

    I have degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. Can I benefit from doing these exercise?

  5. Annette

    I have large breast and I am sure that this has caused my back to become quite round, wearing bras to keep them in shape I feel that they are causing this problem. what do you think?.

    • Dan

      Call me

    • Sonia


      I read your post on wearing a weighted vest…did this really work? Where can I get this vest?

    • macey

      I had dowagers hump and was so embarrassed by it, always making sure my clothing reached the top of my back to hide it, however as I have Ostopenia I have been wearing a womens weighted training vest, I only noticed the other day the hump has completely gone and I only started the wearing the weighted vest for an hour a day for 3 months, it also makes you walk taller and straighter, job done much more confident now.

      • Dorothy Resseguie

        Where can I purchase a weighted vest?

        • Madeline

          I have dowager’s hump and scoliosis, so my back is quite misaligned. I would be very interested in learning more about the women’s weighted vest and where it can be purchased. Thanks

        • Yvonne

          Looking for help to save my bones thru your webcite

      • Shekinah

        Hi Macey,

        I am very interested to hear about this weighted vest. I too am very self conscious. Could you please give me more information? Which weighted vest do you wear and do you have to do anything special while wearing it? I would greatly appreciate any help. Thanks!

        My email is shekinahfischer@yahoo.com

        • Gloria

          Did you order the women’s weighted vest?? did it work?
          Thank you

  6. Deborah Hatchell

    Do you have any videos to show what you explain in the steps about posture? Thanks!

  7. simon levy

    hi, can you tell me who times per week you recommend the exercise routine fo dowagers hump..?
    Many thanks

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Simon,

      While each individual is different, generally speaking a good place to start is with three times a week. 🙂

  8. Minal Kushwaha

    Hey Vivian,
    I am Minal , 20 years old , I have a heredity of dowager’s hump from maternal side, what should I suppose to do to reduce it though it’s just a slight hump but still recognizable. Please suggest some exercise to reduce it or maybe any sleeping posture.

    • Rose Dailey

      Please give me a phone number so I can order over the phone with my visa card

  9. Coleena

    I am 54 yrs old. I have a herniated disc in my T6-T7. I have always had very bad posture. My upper back hurts so bad everyday from muscle spasms or extreme tightness and I am just about at my wits end. I ordered your DVD and am waiting for it to come in but I guess my question is this: I’m afraid to do to much exercise because I am scared of causing more damage to the herniation (I had a neurologist tell me a few years back that I could wake up one day and be paralyzed by this herniation)
    Do you believe exercise will help the muscle pain I experience everyday? I hurt so bad most days (although I push through) that I am thinking everyday about I’m ready to go so I may get out of this pain.

    • Lana Smiley

      Herniated disks tend to heal over time; hope this has been the case with you. If not go to a pain mgmt. MD and get the relief you need – and stay physically active. Also talk to Father God!

  10. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Afternoon Vivian,

    I’ve Done A Similar Exercise To This One, And I Does Real Well.
    I Have Always Been Posture Conscious, Because Of Things Like The Dowager’s Hump.
    Thank You For All You Do To Help Us Save Our Bones.

    Until Next Time – Take Good Care Of Yourself, And Stay Well!


  11. Loy

    Dear Vivian,
    my hunch could probably be due to the long hours I spend each day doing desk bound work like using the computer and paperwork. My back muscles tend to get tired and I think I develop a hunch gradually. I wonder if the hunch is a problem with my bonny frame or the weak muscles.

  12. Beryl

    Dear Vivian
    A recent X-Ray shows that I have an almost complete collapse of T8, partial collapse of T7, T11 and L1. consequently I have an exaggerated Dowagers Hump and have lost 2inches in height. Is it possible for these vertebrae to heal and give me back at least 1 inch? Your constant informative emails really motivate me and are a great reminder of how ones body can fix itself if only given the chance. I am a very active 70 year old and do not take any medication.
    Regards Beryl

    • Mary Tozer

      Hi Beryl, I just read your post, but I didn’t see a reply from Vivian or anyone yet. Your story reminds me of myself a little bit. I will be 75 next month and at age 70 I was a very active person, even doing my own yard work……weed eater and everything! Went to the gym 5 days a week and worked out for 30 min’s. Always had projects going, etc. Then I tripped on the vacuum cleaner and went straight back and down to the floor. I fractured T-11. The doctor I had at the time said I did not have a fracture! I did not know about the procedure, Kyphoplasty. So the fracture healed on its own and now I am 2 1/2″ shorter that I was and am terribly hunched over. If it wasn’t so uncomfortable and painful I could “probably” live with it (as I’ve been told by several spine surgeons!) I am uncomfortable 24/7 and in pain to try to walk even to the mail box, and to do household chores is terrible!! Every day since the fall has been painful and completely changed my life………now I am not active because it is too painful. Let me know if you get a reply from Vivian ok? Thanks Mary Tozer in Sun City, AZ

      • Lana Smiley

        Bless your heart…Go to a pain mgmt. MD and get some relief! AND tap into the healing promises God has for His people.

  13. sarah

    just realized yesterday i have that awful dowager hump. going to start this protocol for some improvement thank u very much

  14. Mary Sapp

    Dr. Vivian, You are a godsend. I have been reading your material (Save Our Bones etc)
    for quite some time. I can always count on you to cover the subjects least covered by
    other medical journals. Thank you for your exercises for balance and back hump and your posture DVD.
    Keep up the good work. Mary S.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      So glad you can use the info and exercises, Mary!

  15. Janet J

    Thank you Vivian for this Info on this condition. I’m 72 and am working to avoid the Dowager’s Hump. please continue with these emails because I need them . I’m doing yoga. Thanks to the all the comments also too. very helpful.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Of course we all want to avoid or correct the hump, so I’m thrilled to be able to help everyone in the Save Our Bones community do that 🙂

  16. LynnCS

    Thanks so much for this start at getting my back and shoulders in shape. I’m 75 and do have osteoporosis, so exercise is a must. I have that dip in the back of my upper arms/shoulders and wondered what exercises might be right for that. I’ll get right on it and glad to find out about Posture Confidence. Perfect.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Lynn!

  17. Carol Harter

    Does the DVD on Posture Confidence have closed captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing? Since I do not have DVD in my iMac computer, can it be downloaded thru your website if paid? Please reply and thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Carole, unfortunately Posture Confidence doesn’t have closed captions nor can it be downloaded. You might want to get the Densercise Epidensity System instead, which is in downloadable format and contains many postural exercises. You can read more about it here: https://saveourbones.com/densercise/

      • Carol Harter

        Thank you for your response. Please understand that Deaf and Hard of Hearing and hearing people have EQUAL accessibility to get the same information, according to the American with Disability Act. If there is no closed captions, it is considerably discriminated. There is no exception. Thank you for reading this message.

        • Shut Up Carol

          Carol – Shut uuuuuuuuup.

          • VL

            Very rude to tell her to shut up. No need for that comment.

  18. Jim

    Hi Vivian,
    Liked the look of the Hump Straightener. Unfortunately it comes too late for me with advanced Ankylosing Spondylitis, however I shall continue with this particular exercise to maintain muscle strength. Thanks.

  19. Marguerite Tulett

    I have scoliosis and am wondering if there are exercises I could do to stop it from getting any worse—-it’s quite bad now. I am 85 but in quite good condition as I do yoga and stretches 5 times a week.
    The last time I tried lying over a small rolled up towel I had excruciating pain across the upper back and couldn’t move at all from the floor for the pain….had to call the paramedics. I don’t know why that happened .

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I suggest you consult with your health practitioner about the exercises that could best improve your condition. But remember that moves that strengthen your back muscles helps improve your posture. And as I mentioned earlier, in Posture Confidence there is a complete set of posture exercises you can practice while sitting down 🙂

  20. Elizabeth Matulich

    Hello Vivian. I like your articles I am 90 yrs. young, and am using a walker, can’t walk without it, so a lot of your exercises I cannot do, is there an exercise I can do sitting I have arthritis and osteoporosis. can you suggest something thanks. Elizabeth

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m so proud of you, Elizabeth! You can practice the Hump Straightener while sitting down, and you might want to check out Posture Confidence. Dr. Cordova offers a complete sit-down workout to improve your posture 🙂

  21. Marlene Villar

    Hello Vivian,
    Thank you very much!
    Take care always. Marlene

  22. Linda

    You are amazing and so inspiring, Vivian….

  23. June Dunlea

    You are the best love all your e-mail’s so helpful in taking care of our bones, thanks so much from June Dunlea

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are most welcome, June!

  24. Julia

    Hi Vivian, my knee hurts going down the stairs. The dr says it’s normal wear n tear. I’ve been doing physio for about three months now but it doesn’t seem to help. What else can I do? Thank you. Julia

    • Dee

      Hi Julia, Had the same problem. My PT suggested stationary bike. It takes a while but definite improvement.

      • Julia

        Thanks very much, Dee. Would try that. How long must I do per session?

        • Dee

          Hi Julia, Start out with 5 or 10 minutes and work up to 20 or 30. I have a reading rack on my bike and it helps the time go by.

          • Julia

            Thanks, Dee. Really appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

  25. L.D.

    Hi Vivian, How timely. As I prepared to shower I happened to catch my side view. I just wanted to sit down and cry. The Dowagers is very pronounced now and this morning was going to see if you had already given an exercise for this very thing. My arm muscles are bad right now so I’ll stick with the food cans until I can progress to the heavier weights. Thankful I can also do this in a chair on the not so good days. I very much look forward to the weekend challenges, each one gives me hope. Oh yes, I would most likely be kissing my knees by now if I hadn’t seen a news segment a couple of months ago showing a person with a cane and very exaggerated hfp. I had been using a cane for stability and realized I was going that way also. I’m doing this one today. Thanks so much!!!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      How wonderful that this information is right on time for you, L.D.! You can also do this exercise lying out your stomach on a bench if that makes it easier for you. 🙂

      • L.D.

        Thanks for the tip but, I have an ostomy and hernia so stomach is excluded from any exercise and me being cautious whatever I do. Good to know in case others would need that position… Thanks so much….

      • Carol Harter

        Does the DVD on Posture Confidence have closed captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing? Since I do not have DVD in my iMac computer, can it be downloaded thru your website if paid?

  26. Carla Riffel

    I am very interested in the posture confidence DVD but am unable to play DVDs anymore since everything is now a download. Is there someway to purchase a download of this?

    • Customer Support

      Hi Carla,
      At this time, Dr Cordova only offers DVDs. But Densercise has many posture-boosting exercises as well, and it’s a download. That might be an acceptable alternative for you. 🙂 You can check it out here:

  27. Sharon Davidson

    Could you pl;ease show us a picture of these muscles you are talking about (posterior deltoid, rhomboid muscles, and middle trapezius muscle)? You did a great job describing them, but I am a visual person and learn a lot more when I can actually see what’s being described.
    Thanks a lot.

    • Christine

      I know what you mean but it’s easy to just google them. And you can get lots of images that way too. And a good education!

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