It’s no secret that most of us spend more and more of our time sitting in front of a computer, at a dinner table, in the car, etc.

On top of that, we tend to sit with poor posture. Typically, shoulders get slouched, and the head sticks out forward. This slouched posture puts a lot of strain on the neck, shoulders and upper back – which eventually can lead to:

  • Painful trigger points in the upper back area
  • Loss of normal range of motion
  • Pain between shoulder blades
  • Low back pain
  • The look of a Hunchback of Notre Dame – Yikes!

Can this be fixed?

The good news is that with simple exercises, stretches and posture habits one can fix their slumped shoulders and gain back mobility.

Stretch #1 – Door Chest Stretch

Stretch #1 – Door Chest Stretch
Why is this helpful?
The Chest muscles (Pec major and Pec minor) tend to be very tight on people with a slouched posture. When these muscles are tight, they tend to pull the shoulders forward. Due to this, releasing the chest muscles becomes essential.

How to do it:

  1. Put one hand on the door frame at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Bring one leg in front and slightly press your whole body forward.
  3. Feel the stretch in your chest muscle and hold it for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Stretch #2 – Child’s Pose

Stretch #2 – Child’s Pose
Why is this helpful?
The Child’s pose is great for releasing many tight muscles in the mid and upper back including the Lats and Erector Spinae. This pose is also great for increasing the shoulder range of motion.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a child’s pose, and sit back into your hips, while stretching the arms in front.
  2. Slowly breathe as you sink deeper into your hips, feeling the stretch in your spine.
  3. Hold it for at least 30 seconds.

Stretch #3 – Upper Back Extension

Stretch #3 – Upper Back Extension
Why is this helpful?
The upper back extension over a chair is an excellent stretch for increasing the range of motion in the thoracic spine (aka upper back) and opening up the chest and shoulders. The great thing about this stretch is that you can do it at the office at any time.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on a chair with your back fully touching the back of the chair, with your knees at 90-degree angle, and your arms behind your head.
  2. Breathe as you extend your upper back up and over the chair.
  3. Hold your breath for at least 10-20 seconds and do 3-5 sets at a time.

* Be sure NOT arch your low back as you do this extension.

Lastly, Correct Your Posture

It’s important to understand that no matter how many stretches and exercises you do if you don’t fix your posture, you will end up at square one all over again.

Our muscles and connective tissues adapt to the postures which we habitually form over the years.

That is why it’s imperative for you to be aware of your posture when sitting and standing.

3 Posture Tips For Sitting

  1. Be sure to elevate your computer so that it’s roughly at your eye level. If you always have to look down (at your computer), you will most likely round your shoulders and get into a slouched position.
  2. Get low back support. To maintain a good posture, you want to have a neutral spine position at all times. To do so, you can place a towel in the “small of you back” area, or get a lumbar cushion to support your low back.
  3. Take Breaks every 30 min. Our bodies are naturally designed not to sit too much in the same place. Because of this, we need to move around, stretch and change positions regularly so we can ensure that our muscles stay limber.

For more posture and back pain tips visit

Author Bio: Leon Turetsky

Leon is a corrective exercise specialist (NASM-CES), certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT) and professional dancer.

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