Last week, we talked about improving posture by stretching and opening tight chest muscles. This week, we focus on simple exercises to strengthen the upper back.
For proper posture, roll shoulders back and relax them down. Align ears with shoulders. Imagine a string pulling your head directly upward. In contrast, when we slouch, the shoulders round and the head protrudes forward. This strains our muscles, can cause pain, and zaps our energy.
Strengthen your upper back muscles by performing these exercises.
BENT OVER ROW – Dumbbell or Resistance Tubing
Start Position: Stand with feet hip-width distance apart. (If using tubing, stand on the tubing and cross handles.) Soften knees. Brace abs. Roll shoulders back and down. Hinge at the hips. Keep chest lifted and head in line with the spine. Hold weights or tubing handle in each hand with straight arms.
Dumbbell End Position: Pull elbows upward with a 90-degree bend at shoulder height. Squeeze shoulder blades together. Lower to start position and repeat. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Resistance Tubing End Position: Pull elbows wide and upward. Squeeze shoulder blades together. Lower to start position and repeat. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Dart – Various Arm Positions
Start Position: Lay prone (belly to floor) on a mat. Engage muscles in the abs, glutes, and legs. As you inhale, slowly lift torso keeping head in line with the spine. Squeeze shoulder blades together. Hold for a few breaths then gently lower. Repeat, building up reps over time as strength increases.
Arm Options: Extend arms behind, to the side, or to the front. Another option is to reach forward in the start position. Then draw elbows into sides forming a “V” with your arms as you lift. Upon lowering, reach arms forward to start position.
Note: The farther your arms are from your body, the more challenging the exercise will be.
Next week… how sitting can sabotage your posture!