Part four of the upper body posture is here! Woo! And for the finale we are looking at the upper back.
From the previous weeks, we learned that poor posture is usually associated with tight and short chest muscles, causing the shoulders to become internally rotated, but what’s happening on the other side of your body? Your upper back muscles are becoming weak and long! Not helping your case.
Let’s dive deeper. The three main muscles I’m going to be talking about are the Trapezius muscle the Rhomboid Major and Rhomboid Minor. They all somewhat attach from the spine to the scapula. Now, imagine if your shoulders are rolled forward, where are your shoulder blades going to be? Also rolled forward. Now what does that mean for the muscles attached to the shoulder blades? They are going to become long and fatigued.
And what does this mean when the muscles become long and fatigued??? TRIGGER POINTS! The body tries to correct itself by creating muscle knots in an attempt to make the muscles shorter. This leads to pain and not an overall good time. You’ll find these trigger points mainly along the rhomboid muscles and the middle fibers of the trapezius muscle.
Moving on, the lower fibers of the traps and the upper fibers of the traps work against each other. The upper fibers elevate the shoulder blades and the lower fibers depress the shoulder blades. How are you sitting right now? Shoulders rolled forward and probably elevated. This is causing the upper fibers of your traps to be turned on ALL THE TIME. This can also lead to fatigue and trigger points! This also means, the lower fibers of the traps are NOT turned on and are becoming weak. Try and depress your shoulder blades right now. I imagine you find it more challenging than elevated your shoulder blades, and that’s because they are weak.
Okay, so quick recap. The rhomboids and middle fibers of the traps become long and fatigued, leading to trigger points. The upper fibers of the traps are being activated all the time, leading to high resting muscle tone, muscle fatigue and trigger points. The lower fibers of the traps aren’t being activated at all and become weak, which could lead to trigger points. HOW DO WE FIX THIS???
Start with shoulder blade retractions, any time you remember. Bring your shoulder blades together, hold for 10 seconds, ten times. This will help to activate your rhomboids and the middle fibers of your traps.
Next, work on shoulder blade depressions. Grab a resistant band, hold it over your head and slowly lower it down until you feel your shoulder blades moving down your rib cage.
Finally, stretch the upper fibers of your traps by bringing your ear to your shoulder.
Posture is not a static thing. It’s very dynamic, and that’s why it’s important to move, strengthen and mobilize.
That’s all I have to say on that! Stay tuned for the lower posture series coming soon!