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Building the Foundation to a Better Upright Posture

Developing a strong upper back helps to prevent shoulder joint and capsule injuries, especially for those people, who are performing pushing and pressing exercises, such as the bench, incline and decline press, dips, or overhead exercises like the military press. Muscles of the upper back include the trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and posterior serratus.

In addition, a strong upper back can provide mid-thoracic support—giving the appearance of being taller—the result of having the shoulders back.

Two excellent upper back exercises include Scapula Retraction and Prone Pull.

Scapula Retraction:

Assume a prone position on a mat with the head facing down & the forehead on a folded towel. Clasp the hands together at the base of the head—with the elbows out to the sides. Lift the head up slightly, then raise the elbows toward the ceiling, until a contraction is felt in the upper back area. Perform 5-10 retractions.

Prone Pull:

Assume a prone position on a mat with the head looking down, arms are outstretched, palms down like Superman. Pull the arms back toward the side of the body bending the elbows to 60-degrees, while simultaneously contracting the scapula (upper back). Perform 5-10 reverse pulls with scapula retractions.

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

Mackie and April share exercises every Wednesday on WWL-TV