You should now be familiar with breathing using the diaphragm. If not, be sure to read my article on breathing for strength first.
You’ve probably heard that sitting is the new smoking, well there’s at least some truth to this, sitting for long periods can be really damaging.
“Sitting is the new smoking”
With more and more of us sitting at desk all day at work, we’re seeing a large increase in forward head posture and a rounded upper back – a bit like a hunchback, which is not only unappealing but can be very damaging.
‘Yes, I know this but how does breathing play a role in fixing your forward head posture and Quasimodo back?’ you may ask.
By breathing efficiently and bracing the torso we can also lock in the lumbar vertebrae. With this stable trunk we can begin to encourage movement back to our thoracic and cervical vertebrae. Diagrams!
Now it wont happen on it’s own, in order to really work on thoracic extension (straightening up the Quasimodo back) we need to neutralise and stabilise the Lumbar.
How to do this? Here are a couple of simple exercises to help you neutralise and stabilise the lumber.
Foam Roller Breathing
A really easy way to work on straightening out your spine is by laying vertically along a Foam Roller. Focus here on keeping the lower back flat breathing into stomach using the diaphragm. A good trick I use to make sure people are breathing correctly is ask them to place one hand on their chest and the other on their stomach and make sure the hand on the stomach is rising and falling while the hand on their chest is remaining still.
Side Lying Windmill/Thoracic Rotations
Lie in the foetal position with your arms out stretched in front. Place the foam roller between your knees and brace the core and glutes. With the top hand draw a large arch above your head opening the palm of the hand to the ceiling. Return the hand along the same arch back to meet the other hand. Remember to flow your hand with your eye gaze. Make sure you’re keeping your core tight so the upper back is moving while the lower back is fixed in place.
Back Flat Straight Arm Raises
Bracing the back flat against a wall. Straighten your arms to your side with your thumbs facing forward. Raise the arms up to overhead in an arch keeping them straight the whole time. Make sure you keep the core braced so you do not arch the back. (This is also a great test to see if you’ll be at risk of injury doing any over head work eg. Military Press/Hand Stands/Overhead Squats)