5 Exercises To Open Your Shoulders And Strengthen Your Upper Back

Nowadays, people spend so much time leaning forward on their computer and phone. Unfortunately, is a necessity for most of us, but it puts a lot of tension in our whole upper body. Our posture changes, our shoulders and neck are leaning forward–our body is simply closing itself. We need to reopen it to avoid lower back, neck and shoulder pain. In this article, I will describe some essential exercises to get a stronger upper back and get rid of these pains. Try to repeat these exercises at least once or twice a week and trust me, in less than a month you will feel a huge change. An open posture will not only relieve you from pain, but it will also show others your confidence and power.

 

Upper back strengthening program 

 

Wall overhead shoulder stretch

 A good warmup and stretch for the shoulders and the upper back.

Goal: Strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades and improve shoulder mobility. 

shoulder lat raise.jpg

wall overhead shoulder stretch ( can you notice the lack of mobility I have in my left shoulder?)

Key points: 

  • Position yourself with your back against the wall and shoulder blades, tucked behind you, flat against the wall.
  • Maintain the shoulder blades against the wall while you slowly raise your arms overhead. 
  • Slowly lower them as low as you can.
  • Don’t over bend your back to get your arms higher.

 Recommendations: 3 sets, 12 reps, 30 seconds rest.

 

Lat pulldown overhand wide grip 

Classic always work!

Goal: Strengthen your latimussimus dorsi and stick your shoulder blades to your back.

Lat pulldown.jpg

Lateral pulldown

Key points:

  • Keep your core tight during the exercise.
  • Pull your shoulder blades down and back while bringing the bar to your chest.
  • Chest up and shoulder back during the concentric phase.
  • Slowly bring the bar up.

 Recommendations: 4 sets, 12 reps, 30 seconds rest

Wide grip pull-up: 

my favorite, you better have a strong upper body to start doing this one but don’t worry I can help you to get there. Keep reading for my rock climber secret to do your first pull up.

Goal: Strengthening  the whole upper back

IMG_8582

Pull up medium grip, try to get wider to work hard your lats.

 

 

Key points:

  • Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine.
  • Pull your shoulder back and down to start the motion.
  • Bring the shoulder blades together and bend the elbows on your side.
  • Always finish the movement to the top, with your chin above the bar.
  • Control the way down.

Recommendations: 3 sets, 8 reps, 1min30 rest

 

Bent over reverse fly: 

A good full body exercise. 

Goal: Strengthen your entire back and pull the shoulder blades together.

Bent over row reverse fly.jpg

Bent over reverse fly

 Key points:

  • Always keep your back straight.
  • Keep your core tight.
  • Raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides until your arms are almost level with your shoulders.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top position.
  • Lower the dumbbell slowly.

Recommendations: 3 sets, 12 reps, 30 seconds rest.

 

Cable rear delt fly: 

 Goal: Open the chest and strengthen your rear deltoid.

IMG_8643

Cable rear fly (load it light)

 Key points:

  • Keep your core tight, do not lean too far forward or back.
  • Your arms should move almost parallel to the floor.
  • Keep your arms slightly flexed throughout the motion

Avoid bending your elbows, shrugging your shoulders, and changing the plane of your arm movement.

 

Shoulder external rotation

Goal: rearrange the shoulder blades  position  and strengthen the shoulders external rotators.

Shoulder external rotation

shoulder external extension on the cable machine.

 Key points:

  •  The elbow should be kept at the side throughout the exercise.
  • Arm rotate externally against resistance.
  • You should feel the burn behind your shoulder blade.

 

https://www.acefitness.org/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301231/

http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_2014_09_Shoulder_Long3.pdf

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