Her personal assistant, Rachel Tavel, is a Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), so she knows how to get your body back on track when it gets out of whack. In this weekly series, she gives you tips on how to feel better, get stronger, and train smarter.
By now everyone knows that it's bad for your body to sit all day. Unfortunately, many jobs require countless hours to spend stretching your neck over a computer at a desk to get things done. High productivity and good body positioning do not always belong together.
All of this sitting can lead to a bowed torso that has a forward head and rounded shoulders. Maintaining this position for several hours may result in upper back pain and discomfort. If you spend days, weeks, months or even years in this position, this stress can lead to more chronic pain and weakness.
Although upper back pain is common in today's society, it does not make it more comfortable. Do something about it before this pain becomes part of your life.
Your Train : Continuous forward movement and rounded shoulders can stress the upper back. Turn this curve around with some exercises that help mobilize the thoracic spine and activate the muscles of the upper back and shoulders.
Start by using a foam roller to gently stretch your upper back. Start with the foam roller on the floor. Put your upper back over it. Lift your hips as you gently roll your body up and down on the foam roller, or just keep your hips on the floor and slowly stretch the hips up with your hands behind your head (face up) Back to the back over the foam roller to arch the back and open the ribs.
Combine this mobilization with a recumbent scap squeeze, an exercise designed to strengthen the scapular muscles for better alignment. Begin to lie on your stomach, with your forehead resting on a small rolled towel or pillow, with your arms at your sides and your palms facing down. Gently squeeze the shoulder blades and stretch your fingers toward your toes as you lift your head and chest off the floor (keep your eyes down).
Spend about 1 minute with the foam roller (alternatively, if you do not have a foam roller: work 10 times a few kitty camel stretches) and do 2 sets of 10 repetitions of the scapula retraction (or "Prone Scap Squeeze") , Exercise on the stomach. Do both for a few weeks daily and see how you feel.