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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Mobility Log #1: Effective Quad Stretch on Foam Roller

Most people benefit from healthy muscle tissue in the quadriceps.

If you’re going to stretch, there’s no point in half-arsing it. Make it a quality stretch, take the time to do it and you will reap the benefits for injury prevention, recovery, and mobility.

Quite frankly, you feel better when you aren’t bogged down by tight muscles everywhere.

Potent Quadriceps stretch with simultaneous Foam Rolling action

Stay tuned for more mobility improvements

What REALLY causes Joint, Lower Back and Shoulder pain?

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The root of the problem is always the most important.

If the problem doesn’t get fixed, you may require major joint surgery down the line.

Our bodies are completely interconnected through dynamic movement.

Let’s take the activity of walking as an example. At your first step, the way your foot lands will determine how your knee compensates for balance. If your foot lands at a kinetic disadvantage at each step for 1,000 steps, then your kneecap may track inefficiently over the knee joint — scraping your cartilage and connective tissue into deterioration.

If the knees continue to be messed up from poor walking form, the pain will relate higher up on the chain. Your hips may be stiff, and the front muscle at the knee may become weak or even inactive.

Tight hips can cause your back to have an excessive arch — known as lordosis.

Leaning back might not be the best idea

Leaning back might not be the best idea

People who have lordosis of the spine typically have ‘inactive’ glute or butt muscles. Inactive glutes generally lead to improper lifting form (especially lifting from the ground) and can lead to serious lower back injury.

Moving on…since the spine is shaped in an S curve, then the curve at the bottom will largely determine the curve at the top. That means your shoulders could become hunched over, and now you’re at risk for shoulder joint degeneration and back pain from your upper back to your lower back.

Continuing the chain, if you have shoulder dysfunction, it can contribute stress on the elbow joint — increasing your risk of tendinosis like Tennis elbow, or even permanent damage.

You CAN Protect your Joints for Life

  • Exercise each muscle group equally. If you work out your chest, you BETTER be working out your back too. If you don’t keep your body in balance, your body will assume faulty recruitment patterns and lead to joint degeneration.
  • Stretch your tight muscles, strengthen your weak muscles. Most weight lifters don’t like to stretch. Heck, a lot of people can get away with NOT stretching…but do you want to take the risk (especially if you’re already in pain)?
  • Foam roll your muscles for active Myofascia Release. The idea behind this is to roll out the scar tissue in the muscle, and to stretch the fascia — which covers your entire body.
  • Lose weight. Obese people generally put FAR too much stress on their joints — leading to complications much sooner than general population.

This is information that every person should be aware of. A little anatomy goes a long way…

Stay healthy, all.