Let’s jump right to it! Today, is all about your shoulders and chest when it comes to posture.
What I want you to do, is relax your body and bring your arms down to your side. Now, look at the position of your hands hands. Are the palms turned so they’re facing backwards? Probably! ” But Dylan, what does this have to do with my shoulders??” You’re probably thinking. I’m getting there!
If your palms are positioned backwards, and you travel up your arm, towards your shoulder, you’ll find that your shoulders are rolled forward!
Go ahead and turn your hands, so your palms are facing out. Do you feel a difference in your chest? Maybe even a stretch? That’s because you just moved your shoulders from internal rotation – or that hunched forward look- to external rotation. Who knew such a simple a movement could open up your chest!
So, in a perfect world, how would we like to see the chest and shoulders positioned? Chest opened, and shoulders in slight external rotation. However, this is hard to do, when most of the jobs we do throughout the day require us to be in internal rotation. This is when taking breaks becomes very important! If you stay in one position for long enough, you’re body is going to stick like that. And that hunched forward look, it’s not what we’re going for.
Other than the hunched look, why else do we care so much about opening up our chest? Well, if the muscles in the chest/ anterior neck area are short and tight, they can compress on some important things. Such as arteries, veins and nerves. This is called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. There are many different types, however so as to not bore you, I’ll go over only one. And that one is associated with the pec minor muscle. So, if this muscle is shortened too much, its going to cause some compression on the Axillary Artery and the Median nerve. This can cause:
- Arm weakness
- Tingling down arm
- Numbness in hand
So let’s OPEN UP YOUR CHEST!
What happens when you open up your chest? First, the chest muscles are going to lengthen and say “THANK YOU”, but also your upper back muscles are going to start to work again. More on that next week!
How do we keep our shoulder and chest posture happy, when we do the exact opposite throughtout the day? I’m so glad you asked.
- Take breaks from work, set a timer or remember to stand up every hour and just shake out your body
- Rotate your palms from facing backwards to forwards, slowly 5 times throughout the day
- At the end of your workday, stretch your pecs. Whether it be on the ground with a yoga block under your back, or against a door frame
- Do simple every day activities, with your shoulders in external rotation. Picking up a plate? Do it with your palm upright, carrying some laundry? Palm upright.
Just those four points alone will open up your chest.
That’s all I have for you today, tune in next week when I go over the importance of your upper back strength and posture !
Remember to wash your hands and wear a mask,