Guest Post By Mike MacKinnon of FITin20
"Sit Up Straight!"
I can still hear my Great Aunt Evelyn telling me to "Sit up properly!" whenever I was hunched over at the kitchen table. Most kids in my time slouched, but today the problem is exacerbated by computers and personal electronic devices like smartphones and tablets. All of these electronics help us to stay connected and be more productive for sure, but they also leave us prone to poor posture.
"Thoracic Kyphosis," or "Upper Crossed Syndrome" are the fancy names for having internally-rotated shoulders coupled with a forward-lean of the neck, and a hunched back. This causes our Thoracic spine to round forward too much, and if left unchecked, can become a permanent condition.
There are things you can do to correct it. I've worked with many clients who have varying degrees of Kyphosis, and I find that two exercises, if practiced regularly, can help attenuate the symptoms. And, you can do them in your home, no equipment necessary!
To figure out how to correct poor posture, we should look at what we do when we try to "sit up straight," and stop slouching. Generally speaking we first extend our spine (arching the back, thus decreasing the forward-curve of our Thoracic spine), and we retract (bring together) our shoulder blades. So, an exercise for each of these ought to fit the bill. Here they are:
Rear Delt Flye (unloaded, i.e. no weights): Standing upright while trying to maintain a neutral position in the spine, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Keeping your arms straight, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your arms back until you are standing in a "T", like a scarecrow, thumbs pointed to the ceiling. Do not let your shoulders "hunch"; keep them down. Repeat 10 to 12 times, then move to the Back Extension below. Watch the video here.
Back Extension (using an ottoman in this case): Lie over the ottoman with your pelvis approximately in the middle. Your arms should either be straight beside you, or your hands can be near your ears. Feet wide apart and touching the ground, bend forward allowing your face to approach the ground, then contract and extend your spine so that your back arches and your face and chest move away from the ground. Repeat 10 to 12 times, rest for a minute, then return to the Rear Delt Flye above and repeat for 2 more sets of each exercise (2 more times doing 10 to 12 reps of each exercise). Watch the video for the Back Extension here.
Mike is the founder of Fitin20, certified personal trainer, life coach, and training to become a Psychotherapist.
Mike MacKinnon is one of the successful weight loss sustainers considered ‘one-percenters' featured in Follow Me The Film. In his case, 85 Pounds of body fat going on 16 Years.