In the last blog post- I wrote about an e-cise routine that used my favorite postural exercise- the Static Back- to help reduce tight rounded shoulders with winged scapulas. While passive exercises can be very effective (why not use gravity to your favor?) ACTIVE e-cises are also excellent.
My favorite all-in-one active exercise in this case is Active Cobra.
Active Cobra Creates extension in the upper back, active work externally rotating the the shoulders. On your belly, press yourself up into a cobra position with your elbows on the ground. Hands should be in golfers position, with thumbs up. Keep head neutral, sink between shoulder blades, actively pressing out with hands (but not going anywhere- like you are pressing against a wall. You will feel the work happening in the shoulder, while the head remains neutral. The final part is to frog the legs, bending the knees and pressing the feet together. This E-cise, (minus the neutral neck) is a full body extension E-cise! (Given that gravity is a constant pull into flexion, getting our muscles into extension is great for them AND our posture!)
Ways of adding this in to a routine, would be static back, then the active cobra, finishing with standing arm circles...
For KIDS- flexed over their computer devices, have them switched from
Be in the cobra position to read a book or play a video game. This dramatically reduces the negative posture. I like to read books on the beach this way.
For more information or to schedule an appointment: contact Rachel Dixon at email@example.com
Many people complain of knots and tension between their shoulder blades…
Why is it so common?
While every person is individual, many people have similar posture and movement habits. (Thanks computer devices!)
*Most* people with the tension and knots in their shoulders have a rounded upper back and shoulders more forward. We do a lot of movement from this forward, rounding area!
The joint by joint purpose of the rib cage is supposed to be SLIGHTLY mobile and the scapula (your "wing bones") stable. In movement dominant shoulders when our scapulas wing out-and become unstable, the rib cage tends to get rounded and TIGHT!
If this area is really tight and rounded, go slowly so you don't get muscle spasm's. PASSIVE E-cises that use gravity to reduce the tension and makes a big difference here are:
Egoscue Static Back The entire back relaxes in the static back e-cise, but gravity reduces the thoracic rounding. It’s passive- we lie there and gravity does the work.
Directions: Lie down and place your lower legs on a chair. Your hips and knees should be at right angles. Your arms can rest by your side. Your head should be level- if your chin is pointing to the ceiling, place a small pillow behind your head to level it off. (And breathe!)
Egoscue Static Back Reverse Presses: After we reduce the thoracic rounding (a few minutes in static back) we add active reverse presses (pressing into the ground). This produces active work between the shoulder blades, further reducing the thoracic rounding.
Directions: In the static back position, put your arms straight out to the side, elbows on the ground and hands up the the ceiling like goal posts. Press your elbows down into the ground. (Note: you won’t go anywhere, but you will feel work happening between the shoulder blades.)
Do this daily or as needed to reduce rotation and passively align the upper thoracic area and scapula for a stress-free upper back!
Standing Arm Circles: This creates a more stable scapula so you can avoid the rounded thoracic area.
Stand with your arms out to your side- active gophers grip. With arms level, and thumbs pointing forward, make small, fast circles in one direction. Stop, point thumbs towards the back and repeat the arm circles in the other direction. If you feel your shoulders creep up to your ears- STOP.
Other things you can do to help:
Foam roller: Reduce tension using a foam roller on the upper back. First lie vertical on it- from head to tail bone. Allow your hands to go out to the side, stretching your pecs. Breathe. Then change positions to lie horizontal on it, rolling the upper back to release tight upper back tissue. Stretch back (only the upper back- not the lower.)
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Rachel Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org