Back exercises that help postural kyphosis

Updated June 13, 2017

Kyphosis is a posture that displays a round-shouldered appearance. According to, kyphosis can occur as a result of developmental problems, degenerative diseases (such as arthritis of the spine), osteoporosis with compression fractures of the vertebrae, or trauma to the spine. Postural kyphosis is often a result of tight chest muscles, weak and lengthened back muscles, and weak abdominals. Exercises that strengthen your back may help improve your postural kyphosis.

Shoulder Squeeze

The shoulder squeeze exercise strengthens the middle fibres of your trapezius muscle, encourages scapula retraction and strengthens shoulder stability. Stand with your feet slightly apart with your hands relaxed at your sides. Contract your lower abdominal muscles and then squeeze your shoulder blades together, allowing your arms to rotate with the movement. Relax your shoulder blades. Repeat the shoulder squeeze for the desired number of reps.

Cat Pedals

Cat pedals strengthen your trunk stabilisers and upper back. Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips. Tuck your chin and keep your neck long. Contract your abdominal muscles and raise one hand off the floor, bending at the elbow to prevent any movement in your shoulder. Place your hand back on the floor and repeat the exercise with your other hand. Complete the exercise two to five times with each arm.

Breast Stroke Preparation

The breast stroke preparation exercise develops correct shoulder blade stabilisation by strengthening the postural muscles in your upper back. Lie face down with your legs extended and your arms along your sides. Tuck your chin and keep your neck long. Contract your abdominal muscles, draw your shoulder blades together to lift your chest off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then lower back to the floor. Repeat for the desired reps.

Shoulder Bridge

The shoulder bridge exercise strengthens your spinal stabiliser muscles while increasing mobility in your spine. Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and your arms relaxed along your sides. Engage your abdominal muscles, tilt your pelvis, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips and back off the floor, moving one vertebra at a time. Hold at the top of the movement and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Shell Stretch

The shell stretch gently stretches and releases your spinal muscles. Start on all fours with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, sit your glutes back toward your heels and stay in the position for five deep breaths. Repeat the stretch as needed.

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About the Author

Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.