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5 Exercises to Correct Poor Posture – Upper Cross Syndrome

So you have poor posture…what can you do to fix it?

What comes to mind when you think of poor posture? 

Your head and neck jut out in front of your body like a vulture. Your upper back has rounded into a sculpted hump with your shoulders rolled forward and internally rotated like a zombie. Your pelvis has tipped forward letting your stomach spill out exposing your burrito baby.

Here are 5 exercises to correct poor posture

1. Resisted Cervical Retraction – Strengthening your neck flexor muscles helps to bring your head back to a realigned posture relieving tension from the base for your neck and skull. Allowing your head to be stacked over your shoulders. Perform this movement by placing your interlocked your fingers at the base of your skull, resisting your own pressure as you tuck in your chin to create a double chin. You can also perform this exercise using a Theraband to provide resistance. Repeat this exercise for 10 repetitions at least 2 times a day.

Watch Katie perform this exercise below!

2. Pec Stretching – Lengthening through the pectoral muscles opens through the chest and allows the shoulders to relax back. To perform this stretch place your forearm along a doorway with your elbow at 90 deg. Rotate your body away from the doorway and lean forward, feeling a stretch through the pectoral muscles. To target the different fibres of the pec muscles you can slide your forearm up and down the doorframe and repeat the stretch sequence. Hold each position for 30 seconds.

Watch Katie perform this exercise below!

3. Thoracic Extension  – This exercise will help mobilise through the thoracic spine allowing it to lengthen from its rounded position. Perform this exercise by lying with a rolled towel or foam roller down the length of the spine with the hands’ palms up near your hips. Take a few deep breathes allowing your chest to open around the foam roller then move your hands slowly upwards along the floor like a snow/sand angel to 45 deg, 90 deg and 140 deg taking a few deep breaths at each position.

Watch Katie perform this exercise below!

4. External Rotation through the shoulders – Strengthening the external rotators of the shoulder pulls them back opening up through the chest. Perform this exercise by sitting up nice and straight with your elbows at a 90 deg angle close to your side. Maintaining your elbows in this position, rotate your forearms outwards squeezing between your shoulder blades for a breath before releasing to the starting position. Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions at least 2 times a day.

Watch Katie perform this exercise below!

5. Scapular Stabilising – Strengthening through the lower trapezius, serratus anterior and latissimus dorsi will allow the shoulder blades to be set down and back. This stabilises the shoulders keeping them from rounding forward. There are many different exercises to target shoulder blade stabilisation, here are 2 options that will help improve your scapular stabilisation!

Wall Push-ups: Stand about a foot from the wall with your hands on the wall and your elbows close to your side.  Slowly lower yourself towards the wall feeling your shoulder blades sliding flat against the rib cage, holding at the end of the movement for a breath before pushing back up to the starting point. Perform this exercise for 10-15 repetitions at least 3 times a week.

Scapular stability with a ball: Place a ball at shoulder height and arm’s length from the wall. First, push your hand into the wall and feel your shoulder blade flatten to the rib cage, holding for a breath before relaxing. Perform this exercise for 10 repetitions at least 3 times a week. Once you are comfortable with the feeling of the shoulder blade flattening to the rib cage you can then incorporate small circular motions or trace the alphabet to further challenge and strengthen your scapular stability.

Watch Katie perform this exercise below!

Call the Hands on Health Care team at (02) 9949-3017 or book your next appointment online. Ask how we can help correct your posture.


July 9, 2018
Katie MacRae