This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in July of 2023. For the original video go to https://youtu.be/fXSYDzbJAck
Brad: Unfortunately, as we age, gravity takes over often, causing this hunched forward and painful posture.
Mike: We're going to show you the five best fixes to correct this hunched-over posture and one big mistake you may be making.
Brad: You need to first take that initial test to find out where your posture is. You simply take a yardstick or a 12-inch ruler. A wooden one is better, of course, and a second person to help you out. You need a wall and you're going to place your hips or your belt line up against the wall and then see if you can touch your shoulders on the wall. Most people can get their shoulders back to the wall. The part that can be difficult is bringing your head back, you may be a little contracted (stuck) if you've been this way for years. Most people cannot get their shoulders back into perfect posture. So we're going to measure how much our body is actually stuck. A second person will come in with the ruler and measure the back of your head to the wall. At this point, I believe we're at approximately nine inches.
Brad: One common mistake I must show you is when you're at this point, your eyes have to be level. If you tilt your head up to try to get your head closer, that would be cheating, you can't do that. Have your eyes level and your chin actually needs to come in for that perfect posture which we're going to get to.
Brad: It's important that you write down the number of inches your head is away from the wall. We're going to use that in one week to look at your progress. There are two specific exercises you're going to do every day between now and one week from today. The first one is very simple. Lying down in your bed before you get up, you're going to reach up behind your head and pretend that you're going to extend your body. Reach your hands up as far as you can, then reach your feet down and stretch out your body. It's a great way to start that stretching posture and really get that hump relaxed and ready for the next exercise. Do this three or four times. Mike, do you have any extra tips?
Mike: Breathing is the first tip. Second tip, if you can't lift your shoulders up or you have one bad shoulder, clasp your hands together and then lift them above your head and stretch. If your head can't even touch the bed, you can grab a pillow and put it there for comfort as well and just do it this way.
Brad: Yes, and we're going to do this three to five repetitions and five times per day. Now the next stretch. The second exercise is extremely easy to do and you can do it throughout the day. Every time you walk through a door, you're going to use the door frame for a stretch.
Mike: You're going to put each arm on either side of the doorway and you're going to lean into it as comfortably as you can. Make sure your head is in a good position, not forward or looking down. Again, straight up, try to do a chin tuck. If gravity and your hunchback are causing you to learn forward, it's okay. Over time, try to work on getting a good posture with this stretch.
Brad: Good job, now you're going to see how things pull back and with the posture, the head is coming back. You can do this maybe twice and every time you walk through a doorway, give it a stretch. It’s extremely easy, and the door is your friend for posture.
Brad: All right, after week one, you've been doing these exercises, you’ll want to retest and see your progress. However, if you are experiencing any pain, especially any sharp pain while doing these exercises, you’ll want to stop that exercise and go on to the next one. So let's do the retest and see where we're at now. That second week, we're going to do the same test from the first week and get the measurement. Let's say we made good progress on this one, about four inches. You may not make this kind of progress and that's okay. We have two more exercises if that is the case. So let's go on to the next two exercises. We'll re-measure in one week. Okay, we're starting week two, new exercises. Continue the ones you were doing and add this simple one. For this one, you will be lying down. Take a towel roll, wrap it up, and tape it, or use rubber bands. It's going to be placed right between the shoulder blades. This stretch is easy because gravity does all the work.
Mike: To perform this stretch, you can either do it on the bed or the floor. The floor will be a little more aggressive. Place a towel roll in the spot Brad had shown before and do that W stretch again, but while you're lying down. You are going to want a pillow behind your head for this, otherwise, your head's going to be way down. This is going to be a good stretch. You can hold it for 15 to 30 seconds. If it's tolerated, you can sit here for a minute or two.
Brad: All right, the second exercise we're adding is a simple seated exercise. All you need is a chair to do it. It's simple, and quick, go ahead, Mike.
Mike: So the first thing is to fix your posture. Sit up straight, scoot your butt back, and sit upright. Then again, we're going to do the W stretch, making a W with our arms. We're going to bring our arms back, retract the scapula, hold this for three to five seconds, and then come forward. Again, try to bring your neck back, retracting. Don't look up when you're doing this. This is not the motion we want. Try to perform 10 reps. You can work up to 15 each day.
Brad: Make sure you breathe and relax with these, and even if you do three of them, it's a lot better than none of them. Do them consistently throughout the day. They will get you straightened up.
Brad: At the beginning of week three, we want to reassess and see where that posture is, so the shoulders come back, the chin comes in, and it touches the wall. We did it. Our goal of perfect posture is made.
Brad: Now there's one more critical exercise so that your good posture is maintained throughout the rest of your life. To do that we have to strengthen the scapular muscles to hold it there. We have two simple exercises that you can do every day for long-term success and I'm going to show you the biggest mistake that a lot of people make to correct their posture. For the two exercises for maintaining, Mike's going to show one seated, and I'm going to show one against the wall.
Mike: So again, we're still doing the W stretch in a chair with good posture and head looking forward, not up. If you want a little variation, you can simply take a ball you stole from the neighbor kid, put it behind your back, and then do those same W stretches. Hold them in this position for 3-5 seconds and try to do 5-10 repetitions. Brad is going to show a different variation yet.
Brad: But wait, there's more. I did want to mention that with the ball, you can adjust it wherever you want on your back. That will help you stretch even more. It's a really good addition. On the wall, same thing. I'm going to go back to where we were, head and shoulders against the wall, and then do the W. You might find that you cannot touch your arms against the wall right away. That's okay, just work towards it. For myself, my right elbow goes towards the wall easily, while my left shoulder is a little bit tighter. Now, if you're doing this in a restaurant against the wall people will look, don't worry about it. You have your posture to work on. At home, it's not an issue. (HAHA)
Brad: The biggest mistake is when people are using a walker or a cane and they have the hunched-over posture is to think all they need to do is raise up the walker or cane a few inches and that's going to correct the posture in the back. It does not do that. It actually just makes the arms flex, the elbows flex, and the back posture is still stuck, and that's why we need to do the wall stretch.
Brad: Now we're going to show you some advanced posture stretches. If you're really stuck or you want to just be more comfortable, you can use a six-inch roller, that's 36 inches long. Get the soft-density one, it'll be more comfortable. If your upper back has that hunch there and it's not coming out, we have a product that's going to help break up the adhesions in the upper back. It’s called the Posture Pad. We're going to show you how to use them in a second.
Mike: If the towel roll stretch you did in week two helped, this could be a good progression for you. Using a foam roller, I'm going to place it at my belt line and lie flat on it. I'm going to put my arms at my side, thumbs facing up. Then I'm going to work my arms like I'm doing a snow angel. I guess if you don't have snow, it just looks like you’re an angel with wings. Try to keep your hands touching the ground if you can, the whole time throughout the movement. You're going to notice parts that get stuck, or your hands start to creep up. That is perfectly acceptable, just slowly work and do 10 repetitions as tolerated.
Brad: That's right, now you may find it uncomfortable because your head doesn't touch there very easily. You can put a pillow there for comfort. That's completely up to you. Again, I would recommend getting the soft-density six-inch roller, 36 inches long. Now if you have a hunch in the upper back and it's very stubborn, it doesn't want to straighten out, the Posture Pad will get after that. It has a radius here at this corner. That is going to be placed there and that allows you to stretch over that with a reasonable amount of comfort. There are tennis balls that come with the Posture Pad. Those are not used for this stretch, but they help with muscles that are tight and knotted up. That's another video.
Mike: To use the Posture Pad, we're going to start on the ground. You can do it on the bed and I'm going to lie down on it. The top of the Posture Pad is on the bottom part of my scapula. If I go too low, you'll notice because it's really awkward to try to lift your arms up. Once you find that sweet spot, you can start lifting your hands above your head and then back down. Go to the motion that feels good for you. This is similar to the bed stretch we did in week one. Again, if you have a shoulder issue, you can clasp your hands together and do it this way as well. Try to do 10 to 15 repetitions.
Mike: If that is easy and you want to try the snow angels like we did with the foam roller, you can certainly do that exercise as well.
Brad: I do want to mention, Mike does have a pillow. You'll probably want to have that pillow, possibly two, to get started and work at that. This should not create any sharp pain. It should just feel like you're really starting to open up that chest and get a stretch. So in three weeks, we go from hunched to a nice upright posture. Now, if at week three you are not in that position yet with your head touching the wall, it's okay. Continue to work at it because it does take time. It took you years to get hunched, it may take longer than three weeks to get upright.
Mike: If you want some other options on how to fix your neck hump, check out our video "How to Fix Your Neck Hump Fast!"
Brad: So remember this, with upright posture, you can see over the fences better.
Mike: Okay, Mr. Wilson.
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