Most of us have the memories of a parent or teacher reminding us to sit up straight—some of us didn’t. Either way, your mother may have been onto something. For one, whenever we sit, we place a lot of pressure on the spine. Short-term this may cause us to shift into ergonomically-incorrect positions, altering the delicate balance of our natural curves of the spine. Muscles shift, imbalances occur, and a host of uncomfortable situations arise (ex. tight lower back, shortened hip flexors, medially rotated shoulders, etc.). Long term, these effects can become more “permanent” so to speak—as in, you may no longer be able to sit up straight because your body has conformed to the years of slouching.
Even though you may be severely hunchbacked, there is still time to get to work—on those posterior muscles that is. There are many options available to those with mild issues and for those with more restrictions, a qualified trainer will be able to assist you with a customizable workout plan. There are also a couple of options as to which route you will take with strengthening these muscles; for instance, will you be working with weights or Pilates?
Some excellent weight-lifting options are: standing/seated back rowing with a cable pulley or machine, standing/lying posterior delt. flyes with dumbbells or cable machine, seated wide grip/narrow grip lat pulldowns with machine, back extensions on the floor/stability ball/machine, and one arm dumbbell rows to name a few.
With Pilates, any of the breast stroke preps or full exercise are great, as well as: swan dive, chest expansion, back rowing preps, back rowing full exercise, arms pulling straps, double leg kick, etc.
Just make sure that you have excellent form, or are being supervised by a knowledgeable trainer when in doubt. Make sure to give your muscles adequate rest and recovery time for optimal results and to avoid injury. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected]
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes.” To send in a question, email [email protected], go to www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and (239) 333-5771.