When talking posture, it is helpful to look at what is commonly known as Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS). This terminology simply refers to the description of what happens to the muscles of the neck and upper back when poor posture is maintained for a length of time. Muscles may be categorized in this syndrome as one of two characteristics: tight or inhibited. An inhibited muscle is one that does not work in the way it was designed to work. This usually means the muscle is kept at a lengthened position and is therefore usually unable to contract or be used with as great of efficiency as if it was not stretched, thereby presenting as being weak. With Upper Crossed Syndrome, the idea is that the diagonal, opposite muscles act in the same way regarding being activated or inhibited. As such, and as you can see by the picture to the right, the neck flexors, rhomboids and serratus anterior are classified as inhibited, and the upper trapezius, levator scapula, and pectoral muscles are classified as tight.
To improve the utilization of the inhibited muscles and decrease the tightness of the opposition muscles, here is a list of exercises to make the most out of your breaks throughout the day. We recommend taking a 10 minute break every 2 hours to allow for 5 minutes of movement and 5 minutes of at least 3 of the following exercises.
Check out our video here to see the exercises in action.
And, as a quick refresher or time-saver, you will find pictures and desired repetitions of the exercises from the video below.
*Note: if any of these exercises seem to aggravate you more or cause pain, stop performance and feel free to call or schedule an appointment so that we can help you further! We would also love to help you with some of our hands-on techniques to further improve your motion and performance of activities.
Upper Crossed Syndrome specific exercises (as seen in video above):