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

This weekend’s challenge is perfect for Halloween. You’ll actually need a broomstick, and not for Halloween haunting!

Instead, the Upper Back Toner And Stretcher uses a broomstick to improve posture. It stretches the muscles of the upper back and effectively positions your shoulders back to counteract slouching and forward head posture (FHP), which can lead to kyphosis.

Let’s get started!

Why:

Your upper back is a fascinating network of muscles and specialized joints that allow for a remarkable range of motion. If these muscles atrophy and grow weak, the spine and shoulders can slip out of alignment over time, which results in a hunchbacked appearance and caved-in chest. Tight upper back and shoulder muscles restrict movement and breathing, and skew skeletal alignment.

Here are some of the key muscles involved in posture which today’s challenge specifically targets:

  • The infraspinatus is a rather small muscle group that may sound unfamiliar, but it is very important. It’s a component of the complex rotator cuff, a group of muscles that work together to rotate the shoulder joints. The infraspinatus is made up of three strips, and it lies deep in the upper back between the thoracic vertebrae and the shoulder. It plays a significant role in proper shoulder positioning and rotation.
  • The subscapularis muscles are also part of the rotator cuff. These triangular muscles lie beneath the scapulae, or shoulder blades, and work to stabilize the shoulder joints and rotate the head of the humerus (the bone in your upper arm). Strong subscapularis muscles help prevent shoulder dislocation and misalignment.
  • The latissimus dorsi likely sound familiar to most of you – they are often referred to as the “lats.” They are actually very large muscles that cover most of the back, fanning out in a kite shape and spreading across the shoulders and under the arms. The lats hold the vertebrae in place, running from the cervical vertebrae in the neck all the way down to the sacral vertebrae. Among their many roles, the lats help raise the arms over the head, as in today’s challenge.
  • The trapezius muscles are also fairly well-known. They run along the top of the shoulders, connecting at the neck and spreading out over the shoulder blades. The traps stop where the ribcage stops, connecting to the thoracic vertebrae along the way. They affect the mid-back, and if they are tight, it can cause painful misalignment of the vertebrae and an incorrect arch in the back. Weak traps cause the spine to hunch forward. Toning the traps brings the shoulder blades back and together for proper posture.
  • The triceps are the muscles along the back of the arms, and you may be wondering why they are included in a discussion of upper back muscles. The reason is their role in rotating the humerus bone and stabilizing the shoulders, and as you’ll see in a moment, today’s challenge engages the triceps.

In fact, it engages all of the above muscles and more. Here’s how to do it.

How:

The only thing you’ll need for this exercise is a broomstick…but if you don’t have one, a mop, a dowel or even a yard stick will work. Just make sure it’s the approximate length of a broom.

    1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
    2. Raise the broomstick over your head. Your hands should be far enough apart that your arms make a Y shape.
    3. Keeping your elbows straight, move your arms back and forth – about six inches back and about six inches forward. This is one rep.
    4. Repeat this motion for 10 to 20 reps, then rest and repeat another set of 10 to 20. Remember, if you can only do fewer than 10, that’s no problem.

    It’s amazing how good posture can do more than just help your bones! It makes you feel and look younger too. Talking about feeling younger, I’d like to share with you a survey about aging.

    Survey Reveals Most Adults Think Symptoms Of Aging Are Inevitable

    It’s no secret, and Savers know, that exercise helps keep you young. But remarkably, a new survey shows that most Americans don’t realize this.

    When the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. adults, they found that about half the participants expected their strength and flexibility to decrease as they aged. In fact, an APTA spokeswoman noted that many Americans think they have no choice but to expect surgery and prescription drugs as they get older.1

    Thankfully, you do have a choice! Just because you’re getting older, it doesn’t mean you have to rely on medical and pharmaceutical interventions. What you need instead is bone-healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits that include regular exercise, like the workout program described in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System.

    Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!

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    It’s never too late (or too early!) to adopt a healthful lifestyle and fight the effects of aging. That’s why Densercise™ was developed to be used in conjunction with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program – no matter your age, exercise rejuvenates bones, increases youthful energy, and offers a plethora of benefits.

    And please don’t forget to share your thoughts about this and this weekend’s exercise by leaving a comment below.

    Happy Halloween!

    References:

    1 Shah, Yagana. “Survey Reveals U.S. Adults Are Resigned To The Symptoms Of Aging.” Huffington Post. October 1, 2015. Web. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/survey-reveals-us-adults-are-resigned-to-the-symptoms-of-aging_560d43fee4b076812700eadf?utm_hp_ref=fifty&ir=Fifty&section=fifty

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Aura Montiel

    Myyç doctor recomended me to have calcium because of my Osteopenia, tolde me risk of fracture, I said I do not want calcium because it gives me pain in my stomach, so He said then the one you chew, but I do not want to buy it, because I am not going to use anyway, Please tell me what to do. Thanks in advance.

  2. joan

    not so much a comment but a question.
    I have a compression Fracture, Due to my
    Osteoporosis ,and Im not sure what I can do for Exercises.
    Can you help .Thanks

  3. Janis

    Can you reverse kyphosis with your exercises?

  4. shula

    thanks

  5. Gill Roe

    Hi Vivian I m all set up now …I have my distiller, my dencersize plan , am eating an 80%20%diet ( although I haven t done my osteocleanse yet ) and I have my vitamins including organic calcium tablets . Just wanted to double check that I do take 800 of organic ? Only the place where I got them from said they were twice as strong as the non organic tablets so I should only need 400 . I m not sure that she knew I d got ostioperosis though . My dexa scan showed I was -3.9 so you might think I need even more than 800 ? I must admit i feel a bit scared that i m not taking what the doctor prescibed but having read all the information in your book i really don t want to take it !Thank you for the weekend challenges and the constant contact and updates x

    • live4ever

      Here’s a quote from Vivian about the amount of plant based calcium:

      “TrueOsteo is a plant-based organic calcium supplement that is easily absorbed, and the daily dose is only 800mg. It’s derived from marine algae, and contains additional Foundation Supplements like magnesium, Vitamins D3, K2, and other bone-building nutrients.”
      It should be taken in divided doses as you can only absorb 500mg at a time.

    • live4ever

      Wow! I’m impressed! You should improve by your next scan.

  6. Kathy

    Thanks I’m going to try your excercises.
    I’m 65 have used the drugs in the past. Now I sit in sun when I can get 15 mins on my face for the fit D.
    Prescribed co codamols for pain relief. Doesn’t even touch it. Tried heat pads,ibuleve gel nothing works. I’m going on a journey to Canada for Christmas to visit my son. I’m dreading sitting on the plane for many hours. (We live in England) I’ve got my pain across where I fasten my bra.nowhere else.

  7. Jan

    Thank you for using humor to make our healthy choices nore fun.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Jan. Laughter is healthy!

  8. Marie

    I have osteoporosis. Doctor says it is VERY bad and I am only 68 years old. He put me on Fosomax which upset my stomach. Then I went on Prilosec for a few weeks and eventually got swollen gums and the gums have fallen over my tooth. Now I need surgery. Now my doctor wants me to get a 6 month shot of Prolia. I am trying your exercises. I can’t bend over without pain. But right now…I will continue exercising and trying to eat right. Seeing your messages and suggestions every week help me stay on track. Thanks for all you do. My husband wants me to get the Prolia.???? What would you do?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Maria,
      Only you can make the decision about taking osteoporosis drugs, based on your research and experience. I’m so glad to see you in the Save Our Bones community, where you can get all the information you need to make an informed decision. Remember, no one can make you take any drug you’re not comfortable taking!

  9. bettina cirone

    I tried the broomstick exercise but I didn’t last a minute. I am 82 and after suffering several spine and hip fractures I had to stop bicycling and every movement became torture. i have shrunk from 5’9′ TO 5’4″ O MY VERTEBRAE ARE PROBABLY ENTANGLED. I HAVE THE SUNKEN CHEST, NECK FORWARD, BENT OVER MY ROLLING WALKER AND VERY HARD TO WALK EVEN AROUND MY APARTMENT. MUST LEAN ON EVERYTHING, EVEN MY KITCHEN SINK WHEN CLEANING UP. CAN N LONGER ENJOY DANCING OR EVEN TAKING A WALK. TOO FARIGUED. I WANT DESPERATELY TO REVERSE ALL THIS BUT WHATEVER I TRY PROVES IMPOSSIBLE. I SWIM IN SUMMER MONTHS BUT CAN NO LONGER DO FRONT STROKE OR SIDE STROKE. ONLY CAPABLE OF BACK STROKE FOR 20 MINUTES TO HALF HOUR. ARE THERE ANY MILD RESTORATIVE EXERCISES I CAN DO TO GET EVEN A L;ITTLE OF MY POSTURE AND STRENGTH BACK AS IT WAS IN 2011. NONE OF MY DOCTORS HAVE HELPED MY HEADACHES FROM MUSCLE SPASMS IN MY NECK, BACK, TRICEPS AND SHOULDERS PLUS LOWER BACK AND LEGS. DESPERATE.

    • Linda Miller

      You should seek out a chiropractor who specializes in corrective care, or chiropractic biophysics. Gentle manipulations designed to realign your spinal bones into the proper curves, coupled with postural exercises and good diet can work wonders at any age.

  10. Neelam

    Your articles are good n nice.

  11. Betty

    Must remember that the floor brush is also if used properly to keep my bones flexible. Discipline is the keyword!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Great attitude, Betty!

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