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Exercises to Treat Kyphosis (Hunchback)

In my previous column, I shared how you can use a dowel or foam roller to check the alignment of your spine. Being able to maintain a neutral spine position is critical if you want to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the discs in your back.

Click Here for the article on Neutral Spine.

After the alignment test, the two most common problems people find is that they either have a hunchback, (technically called kyphosis) or a swayback, (technically called lordosis.) The following are a few exercises commonly used to treat kyphosis (hunchback).

Supine Bank Robber
(Improve Shoulder Mobility)

Lay face up lengthwise on a foam roller, supporting your spine from tailbone to head. A narrow bench may be used in place of the roller.

Grasp a dowel rod. Hold a stick above your collar bone with a 90-degree bend at the elbow. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground. Holding the elbow in position, exhale and pivot from the shoulder, reaching the stick above your head. Stretch the arms long while pulling the shoulder blades down. Inhale, then bend the elbows back to 90 degrees and pivot back to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise 10 times daily.

Supine Bank Robber

Doorway Stretch

Stand in a doorway, place the right forearm against the doorway with the elbow in line with your shoulder. Place the left hand on your abs to keep them engaged. Step forward with the left foot into a staggered stance, shifting your hips and weight forward, gradually stretching your chest.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Doorway Stretch

Supine T-Spine Stretch
(Improve Thoracic Mobility)

Lay on your back. Bend the right knee, bringing it above the hip grasping below the knee-cap with your left hand. Pull the knee across the body towards the ground, keeping the knee higher than the hip. Exhale, turning your head right, dropping your right shoulder toward the ground.

Supine T-Spine Stretch

(Strengthen Your Back)

(MTY is named after the positions you take that sort of spell out the letters, MTY.)

Lay face down with a Swiss Ball under your abdomen, feet spread wide for support, arms at your sides. Engage your thighs so you don't drop your hips. Inhale. Exhale, tuck your chin and with elbows locked lift your arms behind you, keeping your shoulders away from your ears and lifting the chest off the ball.

As you get more advanced, you can move from the ball to the floor. Whenever you go to a more advanced version of an exercise it's called a progression.


High Row
(If you have a Suspension Trainer or TRX.)

Set the TRX at mid-length. Grasp the handles and walk back until the elbows are underneath the shoulders. Lift the elbows up and out until they are nearly shoulder height and your forearms are almost parallel to the ground.

Keeping the body in a rigid plank, inhale as you extend your arms, allowing your body to drop back. Make sure to keep your elbows pointing away from each other. Stop with a slight bend in the elbows. Exhale and pull back to the starting position.

High Row

One Arm Dumbbell Lat Row

Stand behind an upright bench, placing your hand on top of the bench. Walk back, hinging at the waist until your upper body is nearly parallel to the ground. Grasp a dumbbell with your free hand and set the shoulder. Exhale, then pull the dumbbell up toward your hip, bringing the elbow up past your body and the shoulder blade in and down. Hold, then inhale and return to the starting position. Keep your core engaged and always work to maintain a neutral spinal position.

One Arm dumbbell Lat Row

There you are, six exercises to deal with a hunchback. Work them into your routine twice a week.

Click Here for exercises you can use to fight against swayback (lordosis).

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.