Great posture is something everyone would like to achieve. But it’s difficult for many because they haven’t been properly taught how. We’re generally instructed to:
- strengthen our back muscles
- work on core strength; primarily abdominal exercises
- stand up straight
- draw shoulder blades together and down your back
All of these (except possibly #4 if done too aggressively) are beneficial. But one thing that isn’t always emphasized is how integral the muscles that support our scapulae (shoulder blades) and rib cage are for our posture. Having these muscles both strong and flexible can tremendously help support proper alignment, spinal support and shoulder health.
The scapula, is the flat hand shaped bone that sits on top of the rib cage. It creates the shoulder joint where it meets with the head of the humerus-the bone of the upper arm. The scapula is an incredibly mobile bone that can move in six different directions. It’s nestled in sheaths of muscles that act alone or work together to create these movements.
In several different sections of my classes I like to teach a variation that is a functional movement of the scapula to draw attention to this part of your posture and help my students stand tall more effortlessly. Recognition is the first step to deeper strengthening and support of our muscle groups. The primary focus should be to keep your shoulder blades flat on your ribcage and move your shoulder blades around in circles on your ribcage. Try not to use your arms or the muscles of your neck to do the work.
- stand in neutral spine
- jawline drawn back
- ribs back to confirm thoracic curvature
- keep your shoulder blades wide and flat on your back
- arm bones held in goal post position
- slowly rotate your shoulder blades around in a circle 8 -12 times up/back/and around. You can do this with or without weights depending on your strength. Your arms will move but only because you’re moving your scapulae.
Now click to see it in action