Back stooping is the excessive curvature of your upper spine and tucked pelvis that cause your spine to appear like a letter C rather than the normal S-shaped curvature. This causes tight chest and outer abdominal muscles, hunched shoulders, and weak legs and hips. Corrective exercise training, which addresses the cause of poor posture rather than its symptoms and tight muscles, can help either correct the stooping posture or prevent your posture from getting worse, explains fitness professional Anthony Carey, author of "Pain-Free Program."
Standing Doorway Stretch
This exercise not only stretches your chest cavity, but also helps you retract your shoulder blades and to increase a taller posture. Stand between a doorway with one foot in front of the other and with both feet pointing forward. Place your forearms on either side of the doorjamb with your arms bent at 90 degrees. Shift your weight toward your front foot and lean your body slightly forward until you feel your shoulder blades naturally pull together, stretching your chest. Hold this position for five to six deep breaths, switch leg position and repeat the stretch.
Passive Scapular Retraction
This exercise uses gravity to help you relax your back and to pull your shoulder blades together. Dr. Stuart McGill, author of "Low Back Disorders," recommends that you perform this exercise first if you have chronic back pain and cannot stand or sit for a long period of time.
Kneel on the ground on your hands and knees with your shoulders above your wrists and your hip joints above your knees. Relax your abdominal muscles and allow your belly to naturally distend to the ground. Relax your neck and allow your chin to drop to your chest. As you exhale, relax your back more, and your shoulder blades should naturally pull together while keeping your arms straight. Hold this position for one minute, and perform three sets of this exercise.
Tabletop Wall Stretch
This stretch elongates your posterior muscles and fascaie in your back, buttocks and legs and pulls your shoulder blades together to reduce upper back flexion. Put your hands on a wall with your arms straight and your feet about hip-distance apart. Bend your torso forward at your waist and shift your weight to your heels slightly until you feel a stretch radiating from your armpits and down to the back of your legs. Keep your legs and arm straight. Hold this stretch for five to eight deep breaths. Perform three sets of this exercise.
Standing Wall Press
This exercise strengthens your posture by teaching your body where your head, spine, pelvis and legs should be aligned with each other. It strengthens your core muscles that maintain proper posture and balance. Stand with your head, shoulders, back and buttocks pressed against the wall with your arms slightly out to your sides. Press your arms and the back of your hands against the wall. Hold this position for five to 10 deep breaths. Perform this exercise three to four times.
- "Pain-Free Program"; Anthony Carey; 2005
- "Low Back Disorders"; Stuart McGill; 2007