Weekend Challenge: Upper Back Strength Booster
This Weekend Challenge targets the thoracic vertebrae in the upper back to improve your posture. And you can do it right on your bed. All it takes is a little positioning and a bed edge that’s away from the wall.
So let’s get to it!
Savers know that the upper back is where kyphosis, or Dowager’s Hump, first manifests. The upper back also reveals postural errors such as Forward Head Posture (FHP), rounded shoulders, and slouching. The latter, milder manifestations can progress into kyphosis if steps are not taken to counteract the slumped position of the thoracic vertebrae.
Additionally, the bone density of the thoracic vertebrae needs to be preserved and increased through targeted exercise in order to prevent compression fractures, which drop the upper spine into even more of a forward arch. Working the upper back muscles stimulates bone density increase of the thoracic vertebrae, a concept that traces its origins to Julius Wolff, a German anatomist who lived in the latter part of the 19th century.
According to Wolff’s Law, healthful stress on bones from muscle pressure and gravity stimulates the bone to build in response to the pressure. This is why astronauts lose bone density in space – there is too little gravity to give their bones the weight-bearing pressure they need.
It is therefore vital to keep the upper backbone strong and functional to prevent slumping and a hunchbacked appearance. However, misaligned thoracic vertebrae affect more than just your appearance.
You see, kyphosis and its cousin, FHP, have tremendously far-reaching health effects that go beyond bone health. From internal organ function to arthritis to your ability to take a deep breath, whether or not the thoracic vertebrae are aligned can have a significant impact on your health.
For more on the health effects of FHP, kyphosis, and poor posture, please read this article:
In our modern world, with ever-increasing use of computer screens, keyboards, desk jobs, and smartphones, it’s all too easy to succumb to a little slouch here, a small slump there, and before you know it, your posture is terrible, and your health is in decline.
The good news is that you can counter this “war” on your posture and come out victorious!
All you need is your bed to do the Upper Back Strength Booster. If you are more comfortable using a bench or even a table, that’s fine too.
- Lie on your stomach across your bed. Your chin should be off the edge of the bed, and your arms should be hanging down in front of you.
- Make your hands into loose fists and bring your elbows up toward your mid back. Your fists should be knuckles-down.
- Hold for a second or two, and then rotate your lower arms upward so that your knuckles are facing forward (as if you are going to punch something in front of you). Your elbows should stay at about the same level.
- Straighten your elbows and push your fists forward (think “Superman” position).
- Bring your fists back by bending your elbows, and then rotate them downward again as in step 2. Let your fists drop down to the starting position.
- Repeat steps 2 through 5 for eight to 10 repetitions.
We suggest you continue your bone-building workout with these previous Weekend Challenges that also target the upper back:
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.
With these and other exercises for your bones, you can counteract the daily assault on your posture from lifestyle factors that promote FHP and other postural compromises.
Stand tall and have a great weekend!