Better upper back posture
TOO often lately, I am seeing clients with upper back posture issues.
More often than not, this is due to a lot of time spent in a hunched forward position, such as when using the computer or tablet.
Often the thoracic extension can be improved through postural awareness and specific exercises.
Postural awareness, both in golf and in daily activities is important for maintaining optimal function.
Exercises, which activate and strengthen shoulder blade (scapula) retraction as well as regular stretching of the muscles of the chest and the front of the shoulders (anterior deltoids), will help with alleviating the roundedness of the shoulders and developing better posture.
Maintaining the postural awareness can be difficult without constantly being reminded to keep the shoulders back and down.
It is all too easy to slump and round the shoulders while performing activities such as driving the car and working at the computer.
To help with developing better postural awareness, try this.
Take two tennis balls and tape them together, so they end up looking like a peanut.
To help with postural awareness, when sitting at the computer or in the car, place the tennis balls either side of the spine just below the shoulder blades.
Retract or drop the shoulder blades down and back and extend the spine.
This simple postural adjustment will help with activating the scapula depressor muscles and removing some of the roundness in the upper spine.
The two tennis balls can also be used to assist with thoracic extension.
Place the tennis balls on the floor. Lie on your back on the floor with the tennis balls positioned either side of the spine.
Start at the lower end of the thoracic spine ( just above where the ribs join the spine) and relax, letting the spine extend.
Every few minutes, move the tennis balls up the spine by one or two vertebra and stay there for a few minutes.
Adding in a few exercises, such as the stretch band reverse fly exercise, which activate the muscles between the shoulder blades, will also help.
To do this exercise:
Stand in a golf posture, holding the stretch band in both hands (as shown).
Keep the shoulders down and back, activate the muscles between the shoulder blades to take the arms outwards and backwards.
Hold at the extended position for a moment and return to the start position.
Repeat for 12 repetitions.
If you have thoracic stiffness, which is affecting your golf swing or any of your other daily activities for that matter, then it may require more investigation.
In some cases, upper thoracic stiffness and posture problems may require therapeutic manipulation by an allied health professional. There are a variety of methods and professionals which offer different methods, all of which can help.
Some of the choices include; sports physiotherapists, masseurs and osteopaths.
It is best to speak with the allied health professionals first and decide just what is the best option for your particular case.