Thursday, December 20, 2012

Overhead Shoulder Raises: Fixing Slouching Two Deltoids at a Time

Today I am going to give you instructions on strengthening some of the upper back muscles that get hyper extended from our overly hunched daily routine. A friend of mine did some aid work in Haiti after their recent earthquake. Something he noticed was the excellent muscle tone of the back muscles amongst every age group, especially the elderly. He mentioned that they were quite adept at carrying things without much difficulty, even though he was there to treat the many other ailments they were suffering after the quake. The point is that they had excellent tone in their upper back from shoulder to shoulder, and as a result were not suffering from some of the common ailments of American society, where 10-15% of adults experience neck pain..

One exercise effective at improving tone is the overhead shoulder raise. The overhead shoulder raise involves holding a medicine ball or other weight in front of your body and then simply raising it overhead.
Front Shoulder Raise
Here are the keys to maintaining good posture:
  • Feet spread shoulder width apart, shoulders pulled down and back, abs pulled in
  • Rotate the weight while keeping arms straight (not locked elbows)
  • Do not shrug or sway. Always keep your body still
  • You should feel this behind the shoulders and along the center of the back
Check out this video as well for more on maintaining form (but he still sways too much) and other modifications:
You can modify this exercise by using bands as well. If you are unsure of the form: talk to your trainer