Scapula Retraction Exercise
- Sit upright on a chair or bench. Gently lift the top of your head and gentle drop the tips of your shoulders.
- Take a hold of a figure 8 style band with each hand. Hold the band at your lap with your elbows by your sides.
- Open your forearms out to the side – keeping the elbows stuck to your sides – while simultaneously drawing your shoulder blades together and slightly down your spine – the effort should be about a 6 out of 10 as you squeeze down and together with the shoulder blades and open the arms.
*if you do this correctly it should feel like your chest gets slightly bigger at the front.
- Slowly and with lots of control bring your arms back toward your centre – as you do let your shoulder blades relax and let your chest drop slightly but do it under control – this completes 1 rep.
- Repeat the process 10-20 times depending on how you feel – it is okay to push this exercise a bit until you get a bit of a burn. The more effort you put into the muscles activating the strong you will get.
*really focus on the shoulder blades moving in the upper back – don’t let it just be about the arms.
*use the exercise the create slightly exaggerated good posture – stick your chest out a bit.
*focus just as much as the arms return to your side and the shoulder blades relax as you do on the initial contraction !!!!
Correct Seated Row
Seated rows are not about bending your elbows or strengthening your arms.. they can be if you want but that won’t improve your shoulder pain or your posture. Improvements in pain and posture come when:
Seated rows are about developing the muscles that surround your shoulder blades, these are the muscles that hold us upright and they are always well developed in people who have good posture. The secret to activating them is focus to follow the instructions very carefully.
- Use a narrow grip option on a seated row machine, grasp with both hands and make sure your shoulder blades are allowed to come wide and forward.
- Bring the handles back towards your chest as you would with any seated row. There are 2 keys to success here – instead of arm bend focus on shoulder blades back – make your chest as big as you can as the handles come towards you. When you have comes as close to your chest as you can, hold for a moment.
- Slowly let the weight forward. Focus on controlling the forward movement of the shoulder blades and the slight dropping of the chest. Control the weight very slowly all the way back to the start position.
- Repeat this row somewhere between 5-12 times with great care. Observe the almost overwhelming temptation to work with the arms instead of the upper back.
*start of with lighter weight and higher reps – as you get stronger and more coordinated you can build more strength with heavier weight and fewer reps.
*focus on ‘controlling’ the weight from start to finish – slow movements.
Postural Correction Exercise – Anytime / Anywhere !
The conscious part of your brain can only really do one sustained thing at a time.. even in women to some degree although they won’t admit it. That’s why you may have noticed it’s hard to write an email and consistently sit up straight as well… once in a task the posture is easily forgotten. This little exercise rewires your posture at a subconscious level of you do it consistently enough.
- Sit in an upright chair away from the back of the chair. Let your posture completely slump forward so that you have the worlds worst posture.. embrace it. Even let your head tilt back so you become the worst of the worst.
- Focus on the little notch at your throat where you breast bones (clavicles) meet. Very gently and very slowly lift this notch toward the ceiling until it has come UP as far as it can without you straining.
- Once you are upright hold the postion for about 2-3 seconds then very slowly and surely start to drop the notch back down to its original position… so you become hunched again. The trick is to do this really really slowly with great control. Relax into your hunched position.
- Repeat this process 15 to 20 times. You are not trying to correct anything. You are just repeatedly showing that back of your brain all the postural options that are open to it.
*once you have finished all the repetitions return to focusing on whatever task you have in front of you, don’t attempt to sit up straight or slump, just be natural and forget the exercise.