4 Exercises to Improve Upper Body Strength and Posture

Why Stretching is Just as Important as Strengthing

Do you find yourself continually struggling with upper back pain after sitting at a desk working, carrying your kiddos, or any other daily routine activities? You are not alone!! So many people struggle with upper back discomfort but think of it as a normal part of life. Well… it’s not! And we’re here to help you find ways to alleviate the aches and pains, and then build some strength! 

Here are 2 stretches and 2 strengthening exercises you can add to your routine to help along your journey of finding relief. 

Stretch 1: Wall Angel

  • Start with feet 1” away from wall, butt against wall, rib cage flat against wall, then keeping ribs against the wall, open your chest to bring shoulders to the wall by squeezing shoulder blades down/in. Draw chin straight in towards spine to elongate neck.
  • Then, keeping this posture, open arms into ‘W’ position on wall with goal of elbows and back of hands onto the wall and NOT losing original rib, shoulder or head positioning.
  • If you can sustain this position with proper trunk posture, then slowly slide hands/elbows up and down the wall like a snow angel.

Stretch 2: Foam Roller Thoracic Extension

  • Start sitting on ground and position foam roller horizontal at lower rib cage height. Support neck with hands and bend back over foam roller.
  • Feel the stretch and pressure through this segment for as long as you feel comfortable, then slide your buttock away from foam roller to slowly move the foam roller up a segment.
  • Repeat this throughout your mid- and upper-back.

Strength 1: Rows with Exercise Band

  • Start with your band at breast height, connected to a stable surface. Begin with arms out straight, palms facing center, and slight tension through band.
  • Exhale as you begin to draw hands in towards the small of your waist. Keep elbows hugged into your side, core drawn in, neutral posture in spine and ribs, shoulder blades down and together, and squeezing mid-low back muscles.
  • Inhale and relax out into starting position and before going into next rep.

Strength 2: Quadruped Push-Up 

  • Starting in hands-knees position with hands under shoulders, knees under hips, and shoulder blades down/in. Inhale and relax/open core, then exhale and draw in core appropriately.
  • Keeping core control and upper body posture, lower down (imagine rocking on knees to drop collar bone between your hands).
  • Ensure you are not holding your breath throughout this push-up or straining at any point; let the breath help you.

Beginning with these stretches and strengthening exercises can help improve flexibility, mobility, strength and your likelihood of having a stronger, pain-free upper body. You deserve a life with less pain, let Breathe. help you along that journey!