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4 Exercises For Upper Cross Posture Rehab


The most common postural distortion in the world is upper cross syndrome where people have a forward head posture and rounded shoulders – we all know lots of people like that who needs some posture rehab. The reason that it is named upper cross is because some muscles become overactive (hypertonic/tight) and others become under active (hypotonic/inhibited) and they form a cross pattern in the upper part of the body.

The muscles that become hypertonic/overactive are the pectoral and the upper trapezius muscles. The muscles that become inhibited or underactive the deep neck flexors and the lower scapula stabilisers. To rehab the upper cross pattern we need to facilitate or activate the underactive muscles and we need to lengthen or inhibit the overactive muscles.

Below are 4 really simple exercises that will help restore balance into these muscles.

Posture Rehab Activation Exercises

1) Wall/Floor Angels

  • Begin by either standing against a wall with your black flat or laying on the ground with your back flat. Start with your arms directly above your head and then bring your elbows down towards your hips squeezing your latissimus dorsi and lower trapezius muscles which you will feel along the side of your ribs and into your back.
  • Hold for three seconds and then take your arms back up above your head.
  • Try and ensure that your arms stay flat against the wall or the ground the whole time.
  • Repeat 10 times.

2) Brugger Position

  • Start by sitting or standing with your arms directly out in front of you with your elbows bent at 90° like you are carrying a tray.
  • Point your thumbs out to the side and then rotate your arms outwards so your forearms end up pointing directly away from the side of your body.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds
  • Bring your arms back to the centre and repeat twice.

Posture Rehab Inhibition/Lengthening Exercises

3) Pec Stretches

  • Start by standing in the corner of a room with your feet a little bit away from the wall.
  • Place your arms up on the walls to your left and right and then gently lean forwards towards the corner so your bodyweight helps create a stretch through your chest muscles.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds
  • Return to standing and then repeat again.
  • You can move or alter your hand and arm position up and down or in and out on the walls in order to change where you feel the stretch.

4) Trapezius Stretches

  • Either sitting or standing start by placing one hand underneath your gluteals to pin your shoulder down.
  • Bring the other hand across your head pulling it away from the shoulder of the arm that is under your glutes so you feel the stretch down the side of your neck.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Switch your arms and do the other side and repeat each side twice.
  • You can alter the stretch by turning your head away from the shoulder that is pinned down and bringing your nose down towards your armpit so you feel the stretch more down the back of your neck rather than the side.