10 Exercises to Strengthen the Upper Back and Improve Posture

10 Exercises to Strengthen the Upper Back and Improve Posture

Do you often find it difficult to work long hours because your neck, shoulders, and upper back start hurting? Your inactivity and poor posture are finally beginning to catch up to you, aren't they?

Growing age and prolonged work hours can take a toll on your upper back health, leaving you crippled in pain. You might be familiar with a well-known back problem associated with bad posture – the Hunch Back.

But according to Better Health Channel, long-term effects of bad posture include complications like back pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, rounded shoulders and potbelly. 

Nobody loves to move around carrying a walking cane, so why not fix these problems before they start turning into your nemesis?

Below, we have gathered 10 exercises to strengthen the upper back and improve posture. Let’s dive deeper into these best back exercises for posture.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article.

  • 10 Exercises to Strengthen the Upper Back and Improve Posture
    • Child’s Pose
    • Chest Opener
    • Scapular Squeeze
    • Reverse Dumbbell Fly
    • Lat Pulldown
    • Superman
    • Levator Scapulae Stretch
    • Cat & Cow Stretch
    • Doorway Stretch
    • Upper Trapezius Stretch
  • How To Strengthen Back Muscles For Posture Easily?

10 Exercises to Strengthen the Upper Back and Improve Posture

This series of exercises strengthens the upper back muscles, improving posture and reduces any pain or discomfort felt in these regions.

Starting with our favorite upper back exercises for posture! 

Child’s Pose

Woman doing a child's pose position of yoga on a yoga mat on a deck by the water, on the top right it says "great for resting and relaxation".

As a person who loves to perform strenuous exercises to strengthen your body, the Child’s Pose may not seem like an intimidating exercise. But in reality, this forward bend pose is extremely restorative for your neck, upper back, shoulders, thighs, hips and ankles. 

According to research, child’s pose exercise is a form of yoga that is great for resting and relaxation. It also works wonders in managing psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression. [1]

This exercise helps to lengthen your spine, open your hips, stretch out your ankles, and relax your back muscles and pelvis. Stretching exercises like these are superb in surging blood circulation throughout the body.

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Trapezius, Erector Spinae, Latissimus Dorsi, Obliques, Gluteus muscles, and Hip Flexors (Iliacus, psoas major, rectus femoris, and sartorius muscle)

Check out this video to see how to perform Child’s Pose.

Chest Opener

Young woman doing a chest opening stretch on a yoga map and to the right of her it says "loosen the chest muscles".

Have you ever heard of an exercise that releases sadness, anger, grief, and frustrations? Chest Opener stretch is popular for its anti-sadness benefits.

This exercise is particularly important in loosening the chest muscles, increasing flexibility, enhancing posture, preventing back and neck pain and increasing range of motion. It also reduces upper back spasms and is great for people spending prolonged office hours. 

These exercises increase blood circulation, which ultimately enhances the movement of oxygen in your body, making you feel refreshed and invigorated.   

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Trapizeus, Pectoralis Muscles, Rhomboids, Deltoids,

Check out this video to see how to perform Chest Opener Stretch.

Scapular Squeeze

Scapular Squeeze, also known as Scapular Retraction, is a simple yet crucial exercise for everyday movements like pushing, pulling, or holding items.

This exercise works wonders in people with rounded shoulders and people prone to developing rotator cuff imbalance or potential dysfunction. It makes it super hard to perform day-to-day tasks. For some, upper back posture exercises are a great way to alleviate tension and increase flexibility. 

Scapular squeeze strengthens the shoulder blades, improves postures, and increases upper back stability while reducing upper back pain. According to a study, Scapular Stabilization based exercises increased shoulder range and decreased forward head bending and pectoralis minor flexibility. [2]

If you want to intensify this exercise, try it out using resistance bands.

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Rhomboids

Check out this video to see how to perform Scapular Squeeze.

Reverse Dumbbell Fly

Woman doing a reverse dumbbell fly to strengthen her lower back to avoid having back pain, to the right it says "refining posture".

When visiting a high authority person, the first thing that entices you about them is their upright stance, which represents sheer confidence and poise. However, the same cannot be said for someone with hunched or rounded shoulders.

Reverse Dumbbell Fly or Posterior Deltoid Raise is terrific for refining posture and strengthening the upper back and posterior shoulders. It also prevents upper back and shoulder injury.

All you need for this exercise is a set of dumbbells heavy enough to work your muscles. You can also perform this exercise at home or in the gym.

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Posterior Deltoids, Rhomboids, and Trapezius

Check out this video to see how to perform Reverse Dumbbell Fly.

Lat Pulldown

Woman doing a lat pulldown at a gym setting and at the bottom of the image it says "spinal stability".

The Lat Pulldown may suggest strengthening only the Lattisimus Dorsi. But if done right, it can be an all-rounder back workout for posture by stimulating the biceps, shoulders, and upper and lower back muscles. Moreover, it also activates your core, covering almost your entire upper body. It aids in movements like opposite arm swings, and rotational movements like swinging and throwing.

This exercise is especially important for spinal stability, posture correction, relieving back pain, preventing injury, and strengthening your entire upper body. According to a research paper, the Lat Pulldown is especially important in supporting the musculature of the glenohumeral joints. [3]

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Lattisimus Dorsi, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Rear Deltoids, and Biceps.

Check out this video to see how to perform the Lat Pulldown.

Superman

The Superman exercise, as the name suggest, does not equip you with Superman's powers. Rather, it strengthens the spine, the core, and the glutes. This position allows you to reinforce the stability of your shoulder girdle and back musculature. It provides spinal support by strengthening the Erector Spinae muscles. This movement also improves the stabilization of lumbar and hip extensors. The major function of this exercise is to improve posture and prevent postural deviations like Kyphosis.

Keep in mind that this exercise can easily become painful if not done right, so make sure to go slow and let your body adjust to the pace. However, the Superman pose does reduce the chances of injuries by bracing your core and back muscles.

P.S. Do not perform this exercise in case of any acute muscle injury.

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques), lower and upper back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings. It mostly targets the erector spinae muscle of the lower back.

Check out this video to see how to perform the Superman Pose.

Levator Scapulae Stretch

Constantly working or staying under stress can instigate neck and upper back pain. Mostly the muscle that gets sore due to stress and overworking is the Levator Scapulae. Tightness of this muscle can cause an inability to move your head or neck properly and causes pain during extension and flexion of the neck. 

But, if kept stretched for longer, this muscle can reduce neck pain and relieve the tension in your neck. Hence, the levator scapulae stretch is great for reducing the strain on the neck, improving posture, and reducing muscle tension.

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Upper chest and shoulders

Check out this video to see how to perform the Levator Scapulae Stretch.

Cat & Cow Stretch

If you are looking for exercises to help posture, the cat and cow stretch is your answer. 

No doubt, the cat and cow stretch does sound like an absurd exercise to perform. But the benefits of this exercise for your spine, neck and upper back are remarkable. These two back exercises to improve posture are a mixture of Cat and Cow Stretch. 

The cow stretch aids in opening/relaxing your spine, strengthens it, and regulates your breathing. While the cat stretch helps in liberating the tension built up on your neck and upper back muscles.

Both of these moments, when combined, can support your posture and improve mobility. An 8 weeks study on yoga-based intervention for chronic pain proved that yoga appears to be effective in reducing chronic pain. [4]

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Trapezius, Spinal Erectors, abdominal, lower back muscles, and hip flexors.

Check out this video to see how to perform Cat & Cow Stretch.

Doorway Stretch

Doorway stretch is another simple and easy-to-perform stretch with amazing benefits for upper back and neck pain. This exercise is great for increasing the range of motion, which is often decreased in patients with rounded shoulders. Hence, this exercise can help eliminate any slouching or rounded shoulders.

study proved that doorway stretch changes the scapular resting position and increases the abduction internal rotation angle (ABIR). It also increases the length of the pectoralis minor muscle and the range of motion of the glenohumeral internal rotation. [5]

It also improves breathing and blood flow to the upper body. If you are someone who spends a big chunk of your day sitting and reclining, this stretch can help you open your body and release muscle tension.

Muscles Worked In This Exercise: 

Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoid, coracobrachialis, and pectoral fascia.

Check out this video to see how to perform the Doorway Stretch.

Upper Trapezius Stretch

Have you noticed that most upper back problems are associated with excessive time spent in front of the computer, television, or smartphone? In most instances, neck, shoulder, and back problems are caused by this constant hunching.

Among all these back posture exercises, the last one is extremely simple yet too effective, that is the Upper Trapezius Stretch. This movement helps loosen up Trapezius tightness and soreness, leading to decreased neck mobility and constant ache. 

It improves blood flow in the neck muscles which increases oxygenation. 

Muscles Worked: Trapezius

Check out this video to see how to perform the Upper Trapezius Stretch.

How To Strengthen Back Muscles For Posture Easily?

In today’s world, we are blessed with numerous shortcuts that reduce the time and effort required to reach certain goals. 

Today at SUPMOGO, we present you with an easy way to upscale your exercises to strengthen your upper back and improve your posture with the revolutionary SUPMOGO Regenerative Wearable Belt!

You might be wondering how this belt can help your back muscles for posture. 

So listen up! The SUPMOGO belt strengthens the spine and alleviates muscle tension from your entire upper and lower back and the core. This feature allows the belt to eradicate the odds of developing upper back problems.  

The SUPMOGO Renegerative Wearable Belt is the first rehab and strengthening belt that uses Advanced Targeting Technology. 

Pair up your SUPMOGO belt with the above-mentioned exercises to enhance its effects by directly targeting the deepest layers of muscles through its water-activated EMS technology. This one-of-a-kind technology increases blood flow and oxygenation to the muscles which speeds up the recovery process as soon as you finish your workout. The rehab and recovery phase eliminates the possibility of developing muscle fatigue and soreness. 

The Smart App Control enables you to target the deepest layers of muscles for ultimate recovery.

Still not convinced? Read this to find out why SUPMOGO is the ultimate relief for all your problems!

 

SUPMOGO logo on the left with QR code for Linktree, in the middle is a picture of the blog author Huma Khurshid, to the right of her it says "Huma Khurshid" "Health Nutrition & Fitness Copywriter" "(877) 900-6646" "info@supmogo.com" "www.supmogo.com"

 

[1] Kwok, J. Y. Y., Kwan, J. C. Y., Auyeung, M., Mok, V. C. T., & Chan, H. Y. L. (2017). The effects of yoga versus stretching and resistance training exercises on psychological distress for people with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials18(1), 1-13.

[2] Moezy, A., Sepehrifar, S., & Dodaran, M. S. (2014). The effects of scapular stabilization based exercise therapy on pain, posture, flexibility and shoulder mobility in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome: a controlled randomized clinical trial. Medical journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran28, 87.

[3] Snarr, Ronald & Eckert, Ryan & Abbott, Patricia. (2015). A Comparative Analysis and Technique of the Lat Pull-down. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 37. 21-25. 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000173.

[4] Schmid, A. A., Fruhauf, C. A., Sharp, J. L., Van Puymbroeck, M., Bair, M. J., & Portz, J. D. (2019). Yoga for people with chronic pain in a community-based setting: A feasibility and pilot RCT. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine24, 2515690X19863763.

[5] Higuchi, T., Nakao, Y., Tanaka, Y., Sadakiyo, M., Hamada, K., & Yokoyama, S. (2021). Acute effects of doorway stretch on the glenohumeral rotational range of motion and scapular position in high-school baseball players. JSES international5(6), 972-977.


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