Weekend Challenge: Upper Back Straightener And Rib Cage Expander
This exercise employs spinal extension to flatten your upper back and expand your ribcage, helping you to correct and prevent kyphosis, which is an exaggerated outward curvature of the spine. It also strengthens your core muscles so you’ll achieve better posture and balance.
The research is clear that exercises like the Upper Back Straightener And Rib Cage Expander really work to correct kyphosis. Today, we’re going to review some of that inspiring research, and then we’ll look at how to do the exercise.
Let’s get started!
Fortunately, kyphosis can be corrected with targeted exercises that flatten the upper back and extend the vertebrae. This is a fact that has been proven with ample scientific data.
For example, a study published in Osteoporosis International showed that extension exercises are very effective in reducing kyphosis. Extension exercises counteract the state of chronic flexion, or flexed posture, that occurs with Forward Head Posture and kyphosis.
The study involved 250 women aged 30-79 years who were given spinal extension exercises to perform for one year. The women who failed to comply with the exercise program experienced a much greater progression of kyphosis than the compliant women, with the difference in cervical curve and thoracic curve changes noted as “highly significant.”1
Interestingly, the greatest difference was observed in women between the ages of 50 and 59 years:
“Exercises which strengthen the extensor muscles of the spine can delay the progression of hyperkyphosis in the group included in this study, i.e., women 50-59 years of age.”1
In another study, twice-weekly exercises performed for 12 weeks reduced participants’ kyphosis, increased strength, and improved range of motion.2 The 21 participants were described as older women with “thoracic kyphosis of 50 degrees or greater.”2
This is good news and further confirms that, as mentioned earlier, extension exercises like the Upper Back Straightener And Rib Cage Expander do work to reduce and prevent kyphosis. And, of course, it’s been well-documented that regular exercise builds bone strength and density per Wolff’s Law.
So here’s how to perform this challenge.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend forward at your hips at an approximately 45-degree angle. Don’t lock at your knees. You will stay at this angle throughout the exercise.
- Hang your arms down in front of you with your thumbs facing inward and your fingers slightly curled (think “thumbs up” position, but your thumbs are horizontal).
- Bring your arms out and up behind you, rotating your thumbs up and out as you do. Your thumbs will be pointing toward the ceiling and your arms will be at an angle slightly higher than straight out to the side. (If straight out to the side is all you can do, or even if you can’t get them up to that level, don’t worry; just bring your arms up as far as you can.)
- Rotate your thumbs inward again as you bring your arms back down to the starting position. Repeat the motions described in steps 4 and 5 for 30 seconds (or as long as you are able).
In addition to the many kyphosis-corrective exercises found in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, the following Weekend Challenges address the upper back as well and make a great follow-up to this weekend’s move:
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Performing these types of exercises regularly is an excellent way to improve your posture and prevent a hunchbacked appearance. Please note that if you already have compression fractures of the vertebrae, we recommend you check with your doctor or physical therapist before performing these or any spinal exercises.
Have a great weekend!
1 Ball, J.M., et al. “Spinal extension exercises prevent natural progression of kyphosis.” Osteoporosis International. 20. 3. (2009): 481-9. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18661090
2 Katzman, W.B., et al. “Changes in flexed posture, musculoskeletal impairments, and physical performance after group exercise in community-dwelling older women.” Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 88. 2. (2007): 192-9. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17270517