How to Mobilize Your Upper Back with 1 Simple Exercise

By September 14, 2018Mobility and Yoga
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Why Mobilize My Upper Back?

When you spend most of your day typing at a computer, you tend to round your upper body. Over time, your shoulders and upper back can become stuck in this slumped-forward position. This can result in shoulder, neck, and upper back pain — as well as headaches for some people.

The purpose of the exercise I’m teaching you today is to get your shoulders and upper back un-stuck and to exercise the muscles of your shoulders, upper back, and neck. You will feel taller, lighter and more balanced after doing these. With consistent practice, you will find yourself sitting and standing up straighter, too.

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How to Mobilize Your Upper Back

First, stand with your feet pointing straight ahead, heels hip-width apart. An easy measure of “hip-width” is to measure a fist and a half between your heels. For the feet to be straight ahead, there should be a fist-width between your big toes. It is critical that your feet be straight ahead in order to get the full benefit of the exercise.

Then, relax your arms, letting them hang at your sides. You will be circling your shoulders forward, then backward.

For the forward shoulder circles:

  1. Pull your shoulders back (bring them together at your upper back).
  2. Raise your shoulders up as far as you can.
  3. Pull your shoulders forward (bring them together toward your chest).
  4. Relax your shoulders.
  5. Once you’ve practiced a bit, connect these movements to make a fluid circle – back, up, forward, down.
  6. Repeat 10 circles in the forward direction.

For the backward shoulder circles:

  1. Pull your shoulders up as far as you can.
  2. Pull your shoulders back as far as you can.
  3. Drop your shoulders down.
  4. Relax your shoulders.
  5. Once you’ve practiced a bit, connect these movements to make a fluid circle – up, back, down, relax.
  6. Repeat 10 circles in the backward direction.

Repeat each direction for a total of 3 sets of 10 circles forward, and 3 sets of 10 circles backward.

Upper Back Exercise Mistakes to Avoid

To get the most from this exercise, be careful to avoid the following mistakes:

  1. Keep your arms relaxed — don’t use them to try to create the circles.
  2. Keep your feet pointed straight ahead — don’t let them splay outward.
Maryann Berry
At the age of 27, Maryann Berry suffered from chronic hip pain that left her in a wheelchair, even after consulting with over twenty healthcare professionals and undergoing invasive hip surgery. Today, Maryann is fully recovered and has been wheelchair free for years.

Maryann, who is currently certified as a Posture Alignment Specialist, created Realign as a way to empower others to take responsibility for their own health the same way she did. Maryann works with people one-on-one both digitally and in-person at her studio in San Diego, California.

To learn more about Maryann's programs, visit Realign Therapy. Maryann is also the founder of The Posture Workout a revolutionary online form of Posture Alignment Therapy that makes this method easily accessible for everyone.

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