Why your sorry-a** posture needs thoracic spine/upper back extension today: one simple stretch to help you out

People say they just love me because I am so positive.

I can still write headlines that aren’t so fuzzy and friendly though! See above. Bahah!

Do you suffer from poor posture, pain in your spine, pain in your upper back, pain in your shoulders?

I’m only writing this because I care. Most of your friends and family won’t tell you that your posture sucks. Okay, maybe your mom will tell you to sit up straight, but most people believe that posture is your own responsibility.

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Upper back/Thoracic spine extension and stretching at home on a foam roller

I’m here to help.

Be aware of the stability-mobility continuum.

In general, the neck should be stable, the upper back should be mobile, the lower back should be stable, the hips should be mobile, the knees should be stable, and the ankles should be mobile.

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Mobility/Stability continuum

The above statement is definitely a generality, but it applies to most people in the general population so it does have use.

By following these basic principles, a fitness professional can prescribe targeted exercises and stretches for an individual in need of optimal function.

Some people need to cure their bad posture, others are already wrecking their joints by exercising with poor form.

Here’s an example. If you are constantly performing back exercises with shrugged shoulders, over time it will probably end up stressing your joints. You need to be able to control the scapula by retracting and depressing the shoulder blade when appropriate.

Exercising with poor posture is like driving a car with axles and wheels out of alignment: it’s only going to work for so long until it breaks down.

Aside from the fact that good posture promotes a healthy self esteem and people respond better to you when you exhibit good posture, you also need to perform your exercises with good posture otherwise you’re not making the situation any better.

Our joints have a lifespan and you can increase the lifespan of your joints by exercising in good posture. Additionally, you can increase the lifespan of your joints by having training that promotes muscular balance and offers enough time for recovery.

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The healthy spine solution:

It CAN be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s the general idea to support a healthy spine…

  1. Train your glutes hard (glute bridge, weighted barbell hip bridge, single leg glute bridge, rear foot elevated split squat aka bench static lunge aka bulgarian split squat, single leg deadlift, barbell deadlifts, dumbbell deadlifts, barbell squats, goblet squats, etc.)
  2. Train your abdominals hard (TRX Pike, TRX knee tuck, ab dolly knee tuck, ab wheel rollout, reverse crunches, turkish get up, etc)
  3. Mobility in the upper back (upper back extension on the foam roller, upper back stretches on your chair, upper back stretch on the stability ball, upper back bends in yoga, etc)

These three keys will do WONDERS for your body. Moreover, you can also go ahead and stretch your hip flexors and other tight areas that relate to the hip. On top of that, perform some ankle mobility drills and strengthen your tibialis anterior and posterior and then you’re good to go!

Say hello to good posture forever

EVERYBODY has seen an elderly person with a horrible kyphotic posture that just makes you wonder how that even happened. Well, the truth is that they probably never performed upper back exercises and upper back extensions. As a result, their backs became hunched, which can lead to damages down the chain.

Upper back rigidity can lead to lower back pain

Everything in the kinetic chain is linked. You really need to address your posture from a holistic standpoint. If you have chronic lower back pain, it’s quite possible that it is linked to tightness of the upper back. Obviously I can’t prescribe for you through this blog, but it is worth being aware of for when you visit with a healthcare provider or fitness professional.

Take care of your body so that you can life a long, healthy and high quality life.

I don’t think you get more than one life, so make it count. You’d be surprised what happens when you start taking care of yourself.

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If you’re convinced, then buy a foam roller on Amazon today.

 

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Glute-Ham Raise: Unmatched Lower Body Exercise… injury-prevention, power, and aesthetics.

The Glute-Ham Raise is a superior exercise for the posterior!

If you are in search of awe-inspiring hamstrings, then this article speaks to you.

The average person neglects the importance of strong hamstrings and tendons...don't be average.

Have you ever…

  • wanted to prevent an ACL knee injury?
  • plateau’d in your fitness program?
  • gotten bored of the obsolete hamstring-curl machine?
  • had tight hamstrings?

Don't be this guy.

Are you…

  • An athlete?
  • A professional who relies upon a strong physique?
  • A normal person who desires AMAZING hamstrings and glutes?

If you answered yes to any one of the questions above, then perhaps you are up to the challenge of one of the BEST lower body exercises known to man.

Benefits of the Glute-Ham Raise

  1. Simultaneously lengthen and strengthen hamstrings.
  2. Strengthen hamstrings at both the knee joint and the hip joint.
  3. The strength will carry over to other primary exercises (like squats or deadlifts)
  4. INJURY PREVENTION: Glute-Ham Raise can prevent ACL tears, especially in female soccer players.
  5. INJURY PREVENTION: Glute-Ham Raise strengthens the lower back and fixes imbalances in the lower body.
  6. You will have the best looking hamstrings out of all your friends, isn’t it almost beach time?

I appreciate the hamstring.

How to Perform the Glute-Ham Raise

If you go to a commercial gym, you will probably have to improvise. While athletic training facilities often have a specialty Glute-Ham Machine, most commercial gyms lack the proper equipment.

The good news is that you can utilize a Lat-Pulldown Machine to perform the Glute-Ham Raise exercise.

Cues:

  • Lock your ankles in tight as possible to the pads of the Lat-Pulldown Machine
  • Keep your body tight by contracting your abdominals
  • Lower your body as straight as possible and focus on keeping tension in your hamstrings
  • At the bottom of the movement, use a platform to push yourself back up
  • At the top of the exercise, squeeze your glutes tight and then repeat

THIS IS AN ADVANCED EXERCISE, prior training experience is suggested.

If you can’t do a single full repetition, then just do the downward (or negative) part of the exercise. Warning, you may gain significant strength and muscle tone in the area in the back of your knee. It looks and feels great.

Demonstration Video: Glute-Ham Raise on a Lat-Pulldown Machine

and… slightly more advanced here.

Are you ready to take it to the next level?

The Glute-Ham Raise is an almost unbeatable exercise for the hamstrings and posterior chain. Some of the strongest Olympic athletes in the world have performed several dozen repetitions…and it paid off!

For football, soccer, and rugby, this is an exercise you should be doing for both raw power and knee injury-prevention.

And for the rest of us Fitness Enthusiasts, you will gain strength, injury-prevention, and a beautiful pair of legs. Just sayin’…