Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TheraBand Routine for Improved Posture, Upper Back Health

This holiday, I gave TheraBands.  These are the bands you get at PT – they come in a roll and are cut.  I cut 5′ lengths.  But the main gift was the routine I designed for using it to improve posture and activate upper back muscles.  So much of our lives are spent in the forward posture that pulls us into dis-ease.  These gentle strengthening movements are the opposite of computer work, driving, forward everything.  Form is important!

How you hold the band sets the stage.

  • Choose the color band that allows light work to start.
  • Hold loosely with the thumb on the same side as your fingers (overhand grip).
  • As you have a slight tension on the band, look at your wrist.  Make sure it’s STRAIGHT.  This is the biggest mistake people make.  In order to straighten your wrist, you actually have to push your hand outward.

1. Straight Arm Pull Apart

  • Arms straight out in front at a slight angle
  • Start with gentle tension of the band
  • Pull the band outward keeping arms and wrists straight.
  • As you pull the band back towards you, it will come closer to your chest and you should feel the muscles behind and between your shoulders
  • This is an activation movement, not a body-building exercise.  Use only the tension you need to feel the shoulders pull together behind you.
  • To protect your low back, put one foot slightly in front of the other into a stagger stance.  Notice how this softens your knees and helps you maintain a neutral spine.
  • Do 8 to 10 reps
  • The light tension means you can do this once a day just to activate the upper back muscles.

2. Wrist Work

  • Do exactly the same movement as above, but when you get to about 45 degree outward with your arms (about half way), push your wrists outward and slowly return.
  • The arms stay still, just the wrists move
  • Do 5 to 10 of these

3. Anchor Series

  • One arm is STRAIGHT out in front (not angled off to the side or up) and holds the band
  • Holding arm – thumb up (this is better for your shoulder)
  • Relax both shoulders down
  • With the other straight arm, pull the band downward and behind the body – this engages the latissimus dorsi
  • do each side 5 to 10 times
  • You can also pull outward (similar to #1).  Notice how the holding arm works very differently in this movement
  • Another variation that I love is to do slow circles.  I prefer circles backward (clockwise on the R, counterclockwise on the L)

With all of these movements, if there’s any discomfort AT ALL:

  • slow down
  • make the movement smaller
  • stop doing it

Remember to walk with attitude, swagger and walk young!

 

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