When it comes to posture, the upper back and shoulders play a very crucial role. Strengthen the muscles in these areas, and you can help prevent and correct kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump), and experience many other benefits.
This weekend’s exercise, the Triple Posture Corrector, is highly effective at strengthening upper back and shoulder muscles in every direction.
So let’s get started!
There’s no doubt that posture is a major concern for Savers, and this is understandable. When bone density decreases in the spine, the vertebrae can collapse and bend forward, creating the hunchbacked appearance associated with kyphosis. In addition, poor posture habits, such as forward head posture (FHP), can exacerbate and even cause kyphosis.
To prevent this from happening, it’s vital to strengthen the muscles of the upper back. Not only does this help with holding your vertebrae in place, but working these muscles also increases density in the shoulders and upper back, as per Wolff’s Law.
Let’s take a look at some of these muscles that keep you “standing tall.”
- The Trapezius muscle is arguably the most important muscle when it comes to posture. It fans out across the upper back and shoulders in a wide diamond shape, covering a lot of area. It even goes up into the neck where it stabilizes the cervical vertebrae and helps hold your head up.
Weak traps allow the spine and shoulder blades to roll forward. And of course, weak muscles are not putting bone-stimulating pressure on the bones around them.
The position of the shoulder blades (scapulae) is of utmost importance when it comes to healthful posture. No movement of the shoulders takes place without involving the trapezius, so exercises like the Triple Posture Corrector will affect more motion and movements than I can even list here!
- The Rhomboid is named for its rhombus shape, and is a rather deep muscle that connects your shoulder blades to your thoracic vertebrae. As you might expect, this small muscle has a big job – aligning the shoulder blades with the thoracic vertebrae is foundational to proper posture.
- The Latissimus dorsi, or lats, are very large muscles (“latissimus” actually means “broad”). They lie along your sides and back, running under your arms, and along your ribs and spine. They are so long that they attach from the thoracic vertebrae all the way to the very base of your spine, at your sacral vertebrae. So these muscles are comprehensive when it comes to posture, helping you sit up straight from the “bottom up.”
Interestingly, the lats have an inverted attachment at the insertion point, which is under your arm. This means when your arm is hanging by your side, the muscle has a twist between your side and your arm. When you raise your arm, the muscle untwists. Today’s exercise stretches and works these large, important muscles.
Tight lats can cause a forward arch in the back and a “pooched out” lower abdomen. Working these muscles not only strengthens them; it also lengthens and makes them suppler, allowing you to keep a proper arch in your back.
As you can see, the Triple Posture Corrector covers a lot of postural ground! Here’s how to do it.
You don’t need any special equipment to do this exercise, but if you like more of a challenge, you can use hand weights.
- Kneel down on the floor, carpet, or exercise mat. If this is uncomfortable, you can do this exercise while standing; just “hinge” at your hips. (You’ll see what I mean in a moment.) Your knees or feet should be shoulder-width apart.
- Lean forward at your hips, keeping your back straight. Your tummy should be “tucked” and your spine straight.
- Bring your arms out and down in front of you. Position your hands in the “thumbs-up” sign, and spread your arms outward, slightly past your knees.
- Slowly raise your arms up above your head, making a “Y” shape. Your arms shouldn’t go past your ears.
- Bring your arms back down, and then bring them up and out by pulling your shoulder blades back and together, making a “T” shape at shoulder level.
- Bring your arms down again, and then bring your hands back behind your hips and bottom, squeezing your shoulder blades. This is called the “I” shape, because you’re making a straight line with your arms and back.
- Repeat steps four, five, and six for eight to 10 times. If you can only do a few at first, no problem.
To tackle posture from yet another angle, I recommend you follow this exercise with The Anti- Sloucher.
And if you’d like more exercises that are specifically designed to increase your bone density and improve your posture, you can get all the information here.
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Have a great weekend!