Exercises for upper back

Hi there,
I have always had a problem with bad posture, rolled-forward shoulders, etc. I have very narrow shoulders that slope down, naturally. Some of it is just genetic skeletal structure, but I do believe that some of it is due to muscle weakness in my upper back (I have read that this type of posture is often caused by weakness in the muscles between the shoulder blades and shortened chest muscles).
It isnt just a vanity thing, it is causing a lot of problems with my neck and I get terrible migraines triggered by neck pain. I also just started with resistance training and am afraid the bad posture can make me do the exercises wrong with bad alignment.
Any tips?

Replies

  • erickirb
    erickirb Posts: 12,293 Member
    bent over rows
    Seated rows
    pull-ups
    chin-ups
    Lat pull downs
    Upright rows
  • JackieMarie1989jgw
    JackieMarie1989jgw Posts: 230 Member
    thanks! Pull ups and chin ups are a looong way away for me (I cant even do a full push up yet, but am currently working on it!) What are rows?
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
    Pilates. There is nothing that will come close to correcting posture as pilates will.
  • Calieth
    Calieth Posts: 7 Member
    You can also try some of your exercises while laying flat on your back if you are worried that it affect your form. Now these are not back exercises, but do encourage supporting muscles. Lying down you can do overhead tricep extensions, chest flys, etc.
    Check out this article. http://www.livestrong.com/article/511579-exercises-while-lying-down-using-dumbbells/
    Its got some suggestions for strengthening your back gently as well.

    Now this is only a starting point to help with form while you build supporting muscles to help with form. Additionally, in the beginning, make sure to spend time during the work day taking stretch breaks. From your chair or standing, extend your arms out and down a little away from your hips, and then pull them backwards and in towards your spine as far as you can comfortably go. Those of us who hunch need backward motion stretches and exercise.

    Take a look at these shoulder stretches as well. They will help loosen and strengthen your neck, shoulders and upper back muscles.
    http://greatist.com/move/stretches-for-tight-shoulders
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 8,400 Member
    Swimming is great for shoulders.
  • DreesPerformanceTraining
    DreesPerformanceTraining Posts: 187 Member
    edited April 2016
    Chest Supported Rows are my favorite upper back exercises for people learning the movement.
  • msf74
    msf74 Posts: 3,498 Member
    Inverted rows - one of the best yet consistently under utilised back exercises - would be good. See here:

    Inverted Rows
  • cgvet37
    cgvet37 Posts: 1,189 Member
    thanks! Pull ups and chin ups are a looong way away for me (I cant even do a full push up yet, but am currently working on it!) What are rows?

    You can do them inverted. The angle of your body dictates the amount of body weight being used.
  • Kr15by
    Kr15by Posts: 78 Member
    edited April 2016
    i have the same issue with my shoulders rolled forward from bad posture and too much bench pressing. Physio recommended working the rear delts, so now i make sure i fit rear delt dumbell raises and cable neck pulls into my workout.
  • Willbenchforcupcakes
    Willbenchforcupcakes Posts: 4,955 Member
    Kr15by wrote: »
    i have the same issue with my shoulders rolled forward from bad posture and too much bench pressing. Physio recommended working the rear delts, so now i make sure i fit rear delt dumbell raises and cable neck pulls into my workout.

    Hmm, most of the benchers I know have some of the better posture. Most of them also include as much rowing/back work as benching. For upper back, mine includes seated rows with a high touch point, inverted rows and holds, Giffen/kelso shrugs, inverted row/fly/overhead extension superset. Other things occasionally show up in my programming, but those are the big ones.
  • Kr15by
    Kr15by Posts: 78 Member
    Kr15by wrote: »
    i have the same issue with my shoulders rolled forward from bad posture and too much bench pressing. Physio recommended working the rear delts, so now i make sure i fit rear delt dumbell raises and cable neck pulls into my workout.

    Hmm, most of the benchers I know have some of the better posture. Most of them also include as much rowing/back work as benching. For upper back, mine includes seated rows with a high touch point, inverted rows and holds, Giffen/kelso shrugs, inverted row/fly/overhead extension superset. Other things occasionally show up in my programming, but those are the big ones.

    Thats it, if i had focused as much time on upper back as i had bench, i doubt id have as much shoulder issues. Unfortuntly i spent a lot of years just doing nothing but deadlift, squats and Bench and neglected the upperback. ive now been playing catchup for the past year to correct my posture.
  • JackieMarie1989jgw
    JackieMarie1989jgw Posts: 230 Member
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I'll be looking some of these up and trying to do them. I don't have the ability to go to the gym often (I have a baby, husband and I both shift workers) so I am trying to do as much at home as possible. I watched some of the YouTube videos in the links and it was helpful. Thanks!