Weekend Challenge: Upper And Middle Back Toner - Save Our Bones

It’s no secret that good posture is a key weapon in the fight against osteoporosis. That’s why I love to bring you a variety of exercises that improve posture by flattening the upper back to prevent and correct kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump).

But good posture does more than stave off kyphosis. It also opens up your breathing, decompresses your abdominal cavity, relieves back and neck pain, and gives you an air of confidence.

And now, exciting research reveals that excellent posture can actually boost your confidence and decrease bone-damaging hormones.

Let’s start with a reminder as to why toning the upper and mid-back is so important.


Exercises like this weekend’s challenge work the muscles in the upper back. It’s easy to forget that muscles are vitally important for strengthening bone and aligning the vertebrae.

The action of muscle on bone stimulates the formation of new bone at the site of pressure, increasing density in those areas. The Upper And Middle Back Toner works the muscles in the middle and upper back, putting healthy pressure on the vertebrae, scapulae, and shoulder joints.

The motions involved in today’s challenge are the direct opposite of the slumped shoulders, rounded middle back, and forward head posture (FHP) so prevalent in our modern society. It’s important to counteract these common postural errors that can creep up unnoticed until they become a real problem.

Poor posture and FHP can throw you off balance, which sets the stage for a fall that can result in painful fractures.

And it turns out that the air of confidence that comes with good posture is not just about appearance. A straight, open posture actually stimulates hormones associated with feeling powerful and decreases bone-damaging cortisol. We’re going to explore the data on this topic in a moment, but first, let’s get to today’s exercise.


If you don’t have a carpeted floor, you’ll want an exercise mat for the Upper And Middle Back Toner.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor and your arms extended in front of you, thumbs pointing up.
  2. Lift your head and chest up off the floor slightly, and bring your arms back toward your feet. Keep your thumbs facing up and your hands flat.
  3. Bring your arms back to the starting position, and bring your forehead back down to the floor.
  4. Repeat about 10 times, or whatever is comfortable for you.

I like to follow up this exercise with The Back Flattener, a recent Weekend Challenge that also targets the upper back. And it’s also performed from the same prone position, so you can go right into it!

Study Shows That Good Posture Induces Feelings Of Confidence And Power

A strong, shoulders-back posture is typically viewed as a result of confidence and feeling comfortable and powerful. A fascinating study has shown that feeling powerful or powerless hinges on more than just posture; it also involves the hormones testosterone and cortisol.

Testosterone is associated with feelings of competition, anticipation, and positive action. Cortisol, the stress hormone, actually decreases when you feel accomplished, powerful, and competent.1

Study participants agreed to assume either “power poses” or poses that conveyed defeat and powerlessness. What’s interesting is that the participants did not know why they were being asked to assume these poses; they simply put their bodies in the suggested positions and then completed a neutral “filler task.”

Participants were then given $2 and told they could simply keep it, or roll a dice and take a gamble with a 50/50 chance of doubling the money to $4. They were also asked if they felt powerful (or not), and their hormone levels were evaluated.

Amazingly, the group that had assumed the powerful postures were more likely to take the gambling risk, and they also had higher levels of testosterone when tested. Perhaps even more significantly as it relates to bone health, the “power posture” group had 25% lower levels of bone-damaging cortisol.1

Targeted Exercise Promotes Good Posture

It’s always refreshing to find out that we have control over an aspect of our health that we thought was out of our reach, or automatic. Hormone levels are one such aspect, and it’s simply great news to discover that we can significantly influence our hormone levels and mental and emotional state with good posture.

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Exercises that “teach” your body how to engage those power-posture muscles are crucial. The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System provides a variety of moves that target posture and so much more.

Have you found that exercise and proper posture give you more confidence? Please feel free to share your experience with the community by leaving a comment below.

Have a great weekend, and walk tall!


1 Carney, Dana R.; Cuddy, Amy J.C.; and Yap, Andy J. “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance.” Psychological Science. 2010. 21(10) 1363-1368. Doi: 10.1177/09567976 10383437. PDF. https://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/mygsb/faculty/research/pubfiles/4679/power.poses_.PS_.2010.pdf

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Linda

    Hi Vivian
    I really appreciate your e-mails and the exercises you recommend.
    Thank you.

    • Marla

      Dear Vivian !! Thank you so much for your email and exercise you recommend : I am feeling so much better, my shoulder and back has less pain since I am doing your exercise thank you .I very much appreciate everything . Thank You


  2. June

    Great Taste No Pain that was offered at a discount price recently is not only for people with digestive problems but this is the correct way of combining foods and will prevent many problems from occurring in the future. It certainly works and I am proof of that having had a couple of attacks of diverticulitis I came out of the hospital and searched the Internet for a natural solution rather than having parts of me removed. Thank God I found that site. It is certainly true that prevention is better than cure.

  3. Donna

    Wow, I do this exercise in my Pilates class. Glad I am doing something positive for my spine.


  4. joy markman

    I have been using Spelt flour for all cakes/rusks etc., what I would like to know is, is Spelt flour an alkaline product & is their any fibre in it?
    Maybe Vivian you can answer me.
    Thanks so much for all your hard work.

  5. Mary Anne

    Hi Vivian,

    I really appreciate your emails with great information and the especially the exercises you send out each week, but the format on the exercises is such that it’s really difficult to print them out. I do print out many of them, but it’s such a complicated multi-step process to copy and paste and then spend time deleting all the extra spaces and correct the format on the new copy. I wonder if it’s possible to add a feature that would make printing these out much less complicated? Maybe a print button that only involves a click and print and there it is??

    Thank you
    Mary Anne

    • Customer Support

      Hi Mary Anne,
      If you’ll look to the left of the article, you’ll see a column of icons. One of them is for printing. Simply click the printer icon and you can print today’s exercise easily. 🙂

  6. Moira

    I would not be able to do this exercise is there another one that I could do that would have the same result, unable to lie down on the floor. many thanks

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Moira,
      There are many posture exercises on this site that do not require lying on the floor! Here are links to a couple – feel free to search for more. 🙂



      • Laurie

        Hi Mary, I’m 48 and found out I had osteoporosis after a hysterectomy when I was 41. I am just curious if anything medical contributed to your finding out that you had osteoporosis. My dexi scan keeps getting worse every two years. Just started save the bones program. Hoping for better numbers next year.

    • Mary

      @Moire, I think you could do this by sitting in a chair. I do as I also cannot lie on the floor. I just gave it a try, & it really helps! Just sit on the edge of a good strong straight chair, & continue with doing the exercise as shown. I had shoulder reconstruction a year ago, & physical therapy had me do this exercise like the way I described. Also they had me sit on the edge of the chair, really relax, pull my shoulders up and back then relax in that position I would do that 10 times. It was amazing how much it relaxed the muscles, & how straight I was actually sitting. I have had osteoporosis since I was 40 with many breaks even by just sneezing. Since joining this site, I have learned a lot to combat it, & haven’t had a break now in 3 years! My grandmother, & mother at my age now were very bent over with the dowager hump. I have had several vertebral breaks, but don’t have much kyposis at all from following a good exercise program. Good luck to you, Mary

      • .........Shirley

        This is a comment about a recent artical re Dehydration. I foundout about this later. Recently, my daughter told me her pastor talked to his congregatiion about making sure to drink plenty of water, especcially on warm days. The day before he was askd to visit parishpners who were taken to the hospital.The problem)?_ Dehydration, This happened 3 times in one day,
        I also have a related question. Recently told to take a “water pill” once a a in my legs,day because of edemaShould I drink more water for this?

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