Good Morning and Happy Friday to you!
This week has been super fun for me, challenging myself in different ways - bike riding, training like a boxer. I can tell you more about this another time.
Today we are talking about posture.
Most of the women...really, most of the people I encounter are slouching forward, shoulders rotated forward and heads protruding forward.
It's really quite fascinating.
One of our VIP Transformation members just joined our Platinum Success Program, and when looking at her pictures, I am both proud and saddened.
Proud of how far she has come, hands down! But saddened that there are so many like her prior to her transformation.
What's the cause of this? Some of it is being sedentary, sitting at a desk all day. But what are athletes' excuse? I've caught my shoulders rolling forward plenty of times and I'm far from sedentary. I had to switch up my program to correct them.
The answer is all the time we are looking down at our phones, computers and a slew of other mobile devices. We train properly, leave the gym with everything we've just learned and throw it out the window. We forget how to stand upright and stop using our shoulders (the most mobile joint in the body).
It's a very easy trap to fall into and you are not to blame. However, if you are beginning the journey of a hunchback, now is the time to get that in check before it gets away from you.
I've personally helped men and women reverse this condition, and while it does not happen instantly, it does still in fact become a reality. With consistency, patience, and diligence we can get you upright and mobile again, ready to enjoy life without restriction.
I'm going to list a few movements/active stretches and strengthening exercises you can implement in your day to day life to rectify this problem and never look back. These are not the end all be all, but an excellent way to start. Manual therapy and assisted stretch (I'm a stretch therapist) can also drastically make a difference in your posture and works well with the movements below.
ACTIVE STRETCH (daily)
Standing Chest Through Shoulders
1 set of a 2 minute hold, breathing deeply and drawing armpits to the floor
1 set of 8 repetitions with a 2 second hold
I'm doing this on a pole because no counter was available, but you can do it on your kitchen counter, on the back of your office chair, or any surface that's about chest level.
This position will promote thoracic extension, which is usually hunched over and rounded.
1 set of 8 repetitions
The goal here is to keep your entire back flat on the wall and externally rotate your shoulders so that your forearm and hands are on the wall as well, the entire time. For most people, this will be difficult. It is ok if your forearm and hand can not touch the wall today, that is what you're working toward. Just keep aiming them backward and fully extend those arms at the top.
This is for your shoulder external rotator, the Teres Minor.
1 set with a 2 minute hold (knees will have to be down for this one)
1 set of 8 repetitions
In a plank position, stack your shoulders above your wrists. While maintaining an engaged core, meaning do not drop your hips, retract your shoulder blades. Imagine there is a quarter in-between your blades and try to grip it.
STRENGTHENING EXERCISES (2-3x/week)
Target Muscles: Posterior Deltoids, Rhomboids, Mid and Lower Traps
2-3 Sets of 6 repetitions
These right here hit so many different angles, therefore making an excellent exercise to begin pulling those shoulders back. The key here is to only go as low as you can pull yourself back up and to keep those abs TIGHT! Do not let the hips sink to the ground and do not compensate for movement you may not have access to right now by super arching your back and pushing your chest forward.
Target Muscles: Rhomboids, Mid and Lower Traps
2-3 Sets of 15-20 repetitions
In this video you will see two different grips. If you have a severe hunchback, I suggest focusing only on the wide grip, which is demonstrated at :24. If you're only kind of there or trying to be preventative, use both grips in your program.
Target Muscles: Posterior Deltoids Rhomboids, Mid and Traps
2-3 Sets 15-20, light to medium resistance
Watch this video carefully because form is everything. If you have low back issues, do this exercise seated to avoid a flare up. Make sure your chest is parallel to the floor and lift your arms straight out to the side, slightly bent.
Ok, so there you have it! Now it's up to you to take action. Apply what you've just learned and be consistent. That is the only way to fix this.
Dedicated To Your Success,
Strong 4 Pole, Owner
P.S. Check out Hillary and Eric! Hilary is with us still working diligently to complete her transformation, training 2-3x a week with stretching throughout. Eric is a former client who did daily stretches, trained with me twice a week and had a stretch session once a week.