Weekend Challenge: The Mid-Spine And Shoulder Stabilizer - Save Our Bones

With so many daily activities requiring computer work and using hand-held electronic devices, it’s really important to target the mid-spine, neck, and shoulders with specific posture corrective exercises.

These are the areas that hunch forward with poor posture, especially when sitting for long periods of time. Exercises that pull the skeleton in the opposite direction build muscle, bone, prevent rounded shoulders, and help to avoid a hunchback posture.

The Mid-Spine And Shoulder Stabilizer does just that. So let’s get started!


Your back muscles are used in just about any movement you do on a daily basis, and you may not even realize it. Each time you bend, twist, turn, lean, and so forth, you’re using your back muscles. Even walking and sitting up use these central muscle groups. So exercises that work the back actually benefit the whole body.

Back exercises often begin with the arms, like today’s move (as you’ll see). That’s because the shoulder muscles are closely connected to the muscles in the upper back, so when you do certain arm exercises, it stabilizes and strengthens the muscles in the thoracic area.

By “certain arm exercises” I am referring to arm circles. This particular type of motion is especially effective at engaging the shoulder blades and upper back.

Below are a few more benefits of a strong back to consider.

Reduced Pain

When your back is in pain, it affects everything you do. Your back is so central to mobility that when your back hurts, it’s hard to do anything requiring movement. Consequently, you could lose your motivation to exercise, making the problem even worse.

Strong back muscles are an excellent back pain preventative for many of the reasons listed below. And if you currently suffer from back pain, make sure you have the go-ahead from your physical therapist or doctor before trying any back exercises. It’s best to go slowly and work with a qualified physical therapist for existing back pain.

Aligned Vertebrae

Your vertebrae – in fact, all of your bones – are held in their proper alignment by your muscles. Weak, tight, or inflamed muscles simply don’t do a good job of holding your skeleton in place. Misaligned bones can bring about a host of problems, such as inflamed, painful joints and pain elsewhere in the body. Misalignment causes wear and tear instead of building strength, and headaches can ensue if the shoulders and cervical vertebrae are not in line.

Greater Flexibility

Strong muscles are flexible muscles. Exercise builds muscle fibers that can atrophy when you stop exercising, and it prevents the muscle fatigue that occurs so easily after a couple of weeks of being sedentary. Flexible muscles are less prone to injury as well, a welcome benefit for anyone who’s ever pulled or strained a back muscle.
And finally, a flexible back increases your range of motion, opening up more exercise possibilities and reducing the risk of falling.

Better Balance

Many back muscles are included in your core, which are central to keeping your torso upright. The more superficial muscles are also important balance factors, because a strong back is a stable back.

Improved Posture

Your posture is not just about your head and neck. Your whole torso is involved in posture, from your head to your hips. And a great portion of that area is your back!


Regularly contracting and relaxing your muscles while exercising is not unlike a massage, especially if you include stretching in your routine. Relaxed back muscles are much more flexible and less painful.

The specific muscles worked in today’s exercise are the back and shoulder muscles that are directly involved in posture, including the following.

The trapezius is a rather large muscle that attaches at the neck, fans out over the top of the shoulders, and then tapers down to the mid-back to make a kite shape. It covers a lot of area, so if your “traps” are tight or weak, the effects could be felt anywhere from your head to the middle of your back. Tense shoulders are often the result of a tight trapezius.

Your chest and neck also gets an excellent stretch and workout with the Mid-Spine And Shoulder Stabilizer. You may not have considered that your chest and neck muscles have anything to do with posture; but the truth is that muscles such as the pectoralis major and minor in the chest and the extensor muscles in the neck are crucial for proper head and shoulder position. In forward head posture (FHP) and slumped shoulders, the chest and neck muscles grow weak and tight, pulling the head and chest downward.

The neck extensors include the splenius capitis, which attaches at the seventh, third, and fourth cervical vertebrae, and the splenius cervicis, which attaches to the first and second vertebrae. As you can envision, FHP and a hunched back stretch and weaken the neck extensors, decreasing their ability to hold your head in the proper position. Today’s challenge is an excellent strengthener for these muscles.

So let’s look at how to do the Mid-Spine And Shoulder Stabilizer!


You’ll be lying on your stomach for this exercise, so use an exercise mat or lie on a carpeted surface.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms out to the side, palms down.
  2. Slowly lift your head and chest up off the floor, bringing your arms up no higher than to shoulder height (think of a “flying” position).
  3. Holding this position, circle your arms backward. Don’t let your hands touch the floor, and don’t bring your arms up more than a few inches past your shoulders.
  4. Do three backward circles, and then switch directions for three forward circles. This is one set.
  5. Bring your forehead and arms back down to the floor, rest for a few seconds, and then bring your chest back up and repeat steps 3 and 4 for a second set.
  6. Perform 3 to 6 sets, or whatever is comfortable for you.


  • Keep your neck “long” when you’re doing the arm circles, trucking your chin slightly.
  • Remember to breathe deeply when you have your head down on the floor, and exhale slowly as you do the arm circles.
  • If this is very uncomfortable for you, feel free to place a slim pillow or folded towel under your chest to cushion the hard floor and to help with lift.

To round off your postural workout, you might like to combine this with two other Weekend Challenges, The Back Flattener and The Triple Posture Corrector.

Postural Exercises Have Whole-Body Benefits

As I mentioned above, postural exercises that work the back, chest, and neck muscles have benefits that go beyond standing up straight. Excellent posture helps with breathing, joint pain, back pain, balance, and builds stronger muscles.

And as you work these muscles and nourish your bones with pH-balanced nutrition, your bones are stimulated to increase in strength and density as per Wolff’s Law.

Postural exercises like this one and the ones in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System work to build bone in the thoracic vertebrae, an area of significant concern for those who want to avoid hunched shoulders and loss of height. In Densercise™, you’ll find many exercises that target the back muscles and shoulders, giving you the confidence and strength you need to stand tall.

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Enjoy the weekend!

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Cynthia Doiglas

    Hi Vivian- Your articles are so informative – Thank you! I would be gratefully and appreciative if you can let me know what is the best exercise for treating “cervical radiculopathy”. Thanks much!

  2. Abigail

    Hi V, I am here letting you know that I continue to be blessed with important information, and help from you. You are such a blessing to many of us. I pray God’s blessings continue to follow you, and your family members. Thanks again.

  3. Liz

    My posture has always been great. For over 3 years now because of damage to my spine causing herniated disc and degenerate disease I had to give up my exercise class, yoga and walking. I can’t seem to find anything or type of exercises that I can do without hurting my spine. I loved following all your exercises before but I can’t do anymore and without my exercises my health is really suffering. What can I do??

  4. Ruth Marudic

    I have low bone density my GP wants to to commence Prolia

  5. Barbara

    Regarding effective drugs for Osteoporosis – Our geriatric doctor suggested Prolia as my 82 year wife has a fractrure M8 that can’t be surgically repaired. She also mentioned a daily nasal spray. Is there a fast way to build bone strength without using either of the above. Also – our bone surgeon told us to see a rheumatologist last year and he suggested Forteo which after 7 months did’nt do very much to prevent any new fractures.Now the problem is – after M7 surgery in Nov. 2014 – my wife still continues to have rib and back pain. Taking 1000 mgs calicum 2000 iu’s Vit.D daily. Our G doctor says it will take a very long time to build bone strength.This is very frustrating as my wife’s bones are very weak. What to do?

  6. habibah

    nice to know I am also suffering same knee problem . Dr. ask me tochange the knee.

  7. Leah

    This exercise looks like the “swan” & “swimming” exercise in Pilates. I do Pilates twice a week and have been told not to curl my back inward when doing “rolling like a ball” and Roll Ups. So I keep my back straight when sitting up solely depending on my abs. I have a high osteoporosis scan reading and do not take the drugs. Posture is great. Have you advice with some of these Pilates exercises? Thank you Vivian.

    • Spine Curling

      I too am interested in the answer to this question. I want to strengthen my core and keep my back supple but ….. pilates and yoga both prescribe curlng and twisting of the spine. How much or how far can we go if we have serious osteoporosis?

  8. live4ever

    What is meant by forward movement of arms in this exercise?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      It means you move your arms forward toward the top of your head. 🙂

  9. Evelyn Oden

    Hi Vivian,
    I am having surgery on August 12th, and I can’t do any exercises for at least six weeks, I drink Solgar whey protein, thirty minutes after exercising, Can I still drink whey protein, and not exercise? I am also loosing muscle mass, PLEASE HELP ME.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Evelyn,

      Drinking whey has many bone-healthy benefits, so there’s no reason why you can’t drink it even if you’re not exercising like you used to. 🙂 I suggest you talk to your doctor before surgery, and if it’s possible, have a physical therapy plan in place for your post-surgery period. I with you a speedy recovery!

  10. Andrea Nolley

    Can you advise on magnesium? I hear it’s good for muscles – is it also good for bones? What type of magnesium is best as there are so many? What amount should be taken every day? Thank you in advance!

  11. Nina Brown

    I love your weekend challenge, I have your book, but seem to not be getting the e mails anymore.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m glad you like the Weekend Challenges, Nina! And I’m sorry you’re not receiving our e-mails – that could be due to a number of reasons, but I do suggest you check your e-mail’s spam folder in case the messages are ending up there.

      If you’d like to sign up again to receive e-mails, please go to this link:


  12. bsganorkar

    Dear Vivan,
    I must appreciate your timeless work towards generating awareness of bone strengthening. I must thank you & give warm regards for this noble social work you are doing. My humble request to you is try to give details of medicines which are effective for osteoporosis.
    With thanks & regards.

    Yours Sincerely

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I do appreciate your encouraging words. It is my mission to expose myths and share the truth about bone health! And one of those truths is that there is no such thing as a 100% safe, effective drug for osteoporosis. You will, however, find a great deal of detailed information on various drugs on this site – simply search for the drug you’d like to learn more about using the Search feature at the top of the page. 🙂 Keep learning!

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