Hunched or rolled shoulders can result from long days sitting in front of the computer, but a good workout can help you open up your chest and the front of your shoulders, and strengthen your back. Stretching can keep your shoulders and back limber. Strength training can encourage good posture, especially if you work your upper body. Core exercises are important too, as they will improve your general posture and keep your spine straight.
Stretching Your Back
Warm up by rolling your shoulders. Before you start stretching, warm up your back muscles by rolling your shoulders. Start with a set of ten forward shoulder rolls followed by ten backward shoulder rolls.
- You can also do arm circles. Stretch out your arms to either side at shoulder height, and make small circles for about ten seconds.
- Reverse the direction of the circle, and repeat for another ten seconds.
Do a goalpost stretch. For this stretch, you will need a jump rope, yoga strap, belt, or other rope. Stand or sit up straight, and hold one end of the strap in each hand. Perform the stretch as follows:
- Stretch your arms out in front of your body, keeping them at shoulder height, with your palms facing down. Hold your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart.
- As you inhale, lift your arms above your head with your elbows straight, still holding the strap. Keep your palms facing out and your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart.
- As you exhale, bring your elbows down to shoulder height and lower the strap behind your head, with your palms still facing out. At this point, your arms should be in a “goalpost” position (upper arms straight out to the sides, forearms bent up at a 90° angle). This should push your shoulders back and open up your chest.
- Inhale and stretch your arms up again.
- Exhale and bring your arms back to the starting position, straight out in front of you at shoulder height.
- This stretch can be repeated three to five times.
Perform a T-stretch. Lie down with a foam roller propped along your spine; your head, shoulders, and upper back should all be touching the roller. Your knees should be bent with your feet flat on the ground. Stretch your arms out to the side to make a “T” shape. Your arms should form a straight line with your shoulders. Hold this pose for one minute
Clasp your hands behind your back. Hold your hands behind your back, keeping your arms straight. Pull back on your shoulders with your arms. You should feel your chest open and stretch as your shoulders squeeze.
Make angels on the floor or wall. Lie down on the floor, and prop a rolled towel or foam roller under your spine. Place your arms on the ground above your arm, and gently sweep them down towards your side, as if you were making snow angels on the floor. Do this for two or three minutes.
- If the foam roller makes it too difficult for you, you can remove it for a simpler exercise.
- You can also do this exercise against a wall. Stand with your spine flat against the wall. Hold your arms above your head but pressed against the wall. Bring your arms down slowly to your side and back up again.