If you have hunched shoulders and poor posture, this easy exercise is going to help you fix it.
It directly targets the postural muscles that help pull your shoulders back into alignment.
This is a great exercise for working the small, postural muscles of the upper back that get easily overwhelmed when using heavier weights on rows and pulldowns. The unique positioning allows you to put laser-targeted focus on those smaller muscles.
You'll set an incline bench under and a little back from a high pulley. Use a wide grip handle and a light weight on the machine...this exercise is all about FEEL, not lifting heavy.
Grab the bar with a wide grip then sit on the bench.
The MOST important thing here is that only your butt and the BACK OF YOUR HEAD will be on the bench. Your entire back and your shoulders should be OFF the bench.
Because as you pull the bar down towards your chest, you're going to be using the back of your head as the base to push your chest towards the bar at the same time.
As you pull down and the bar meets your chest, hold the bar there then focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together HARD.
Remember, this exercise is all about feel...the idea here is to take the BIG muscles out of it and just focus on using the smaller ones (like the teres minor and major, rhomboids, middle traps, etc) rather than the lats.
Pulling your shoulder blades in while keep your elbows out wide and forcing your chest out will do this.
Repeat this for high reps (15+). Since you're going to be using light weight (that's mandatory!), you'll need the high reps to get a good training effect. Using heavier weight will force your body to recruit the lats to a greater extent, which is what we want to avoid with this exercise.
As I mentioned above, it's excellent for the postural muscles that pull your shoulders back into alignment. It's also GREAT for developing the detailed muscles of your upper back that don't get worked effectively with heavier training.
Just remember...NO BACK ON THE BENCH...just the back of your head and your butt...that's it.
Is Your Posture Poor? Do You Have Lower Back Pain? It Could Also Be Your Psoas Muscle
Beyond having weak upper back muscles, the most critical muscle for good posture is the psoas muscle...not necessarily strengthening but UNLOCKING it.
The psoas muscle is a hip flexor (it brings the thigh up towards the midsection). When you're in a sitting position for long periods of time, the psoas is constantly shortened.
Human beings aren't built for sitting for long periods and it can result in the psoas essentially being "locked up" in that shortened position, even when you stand up. It's like a rubber band that gets dried out and loses it's elasticity.
If you've got back pain, it could very easily be a result of your locked-up psoas muscle pulling your stomach forward and pulling your spine out of alignment.
If you find you can't get a flat stomach, no matter how hard you work your abs, the psoas could be a BIG reason why (the shortened psoas constantly pulls the abs forward so your stomach simply CAN'T get flat).
If you have trouble maintaining good posture, your psoas muscles are almost definitely working against you.
And if you want to FIX this problem, I HIGHLY recommend a program (put together by two good friends of mine, Rick Kaselj and Mike Westerdal) called Unlock Your Hip Flexors.
This program is very simple and quick to use...doesn't require in-depth understanding of the physiology of the body. Just do the exercises and it works.
This is very effective stuff that can have a TREMENDOUS impact on your health and well-being (and how your stomach looks!)
More From Fitstep.com
|Daily Specialization Training for Targeting Weak Bodyparts|
|Fat Loss Circuit Training With Dumbbell Crawling|
|How I Got My Butt Kicked By a 68 Year-Old Woman|
|Laser-Target Your Lower Abs With See-Saw Leg Raises|