You look at yourself in the mirror. You turn to the side. You see the scourge of the 21st century. It’s a “disease” that’s spreading across the globe. It’s the dreaded hunchback! You’ve got it! How do you get rid of it, though?!
In this article, we’re going to talk whether it’s possible to get rid of a hunchback, and we’ll show you an exercise to improve hunchback posture.
What do we know about hunchbacks?
We’re a group of personal trainers in Silicon Valley. We see hunchbacks all the time around here. Being based in the heart of Silicon Valley means we have a lot of clients who are in front of computers all day or who have spent years working in front of computers (before retiring with their sweet stock options that they got from a company that is currently worth $17 trillion). That means a lot of our clients have the dreaded hunchback posture!
Hunchback posture is known as “kyphosis of the thoracic spine” in technical terms. It basically means your spine at the mid-back is rounded so that your head comes forward and your chest caves in. Typical computer worker posture.
If you’ve got hunchback posture, you probably don’t like it, and you want to fix it. Many people believe there should be some way to correct this.
Some health professionals, though, will tell you that kyphosis cannot change, and you’re better off not thinking about it at all.
Well, we think those health professionals are missing the boat. There’s definitely a way to improve kyphosis, and it’s with properly structured exercise.
In fact, a group in Australia has actually been attempting to measure the changes in kyphosis that result in senior age people who are put on a careful progression of weight training. In preliminary results, they’re seeing encouraging results in many measures (including bone density, kyphosis improvement, and balance).
Anecdotally, we’ve seen people’s hunchbacks improve as they’ve learned how to turn on the right muscles consistently. Even the trainers here at Upright Health have reduced kyphoses on themselves and increased spinal control.
Can everyone’s hunchback be fixed?
The reality is that kyphosis can improve. But that doesn’t mean people improve at the same rates, and it doesn’t mean EVERYONE is going to be able to fix their hunchback.
Depending on how severe your hunchback is and how much of your hunch is held in place by the actual shape of your vertebrae, you may have some limit to the improvement you can get. That’s life. We aren’t all dealt the same hand. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve it at least to your maximum potential!
Do you have to do weight training to improve your hunchback?
Now, let’s talk about exercises to improve hunchback posture. Some exercises for hunchback posture involve weight. Some of them don’t! And that’s because everyone’s at different levels of strength, control, and movement competence.
Let’s be clear: weight training is not the only way to improve your kyphosis, and for some people it’s DEFINITELY NOT the place to start. If you are capable, though, exercises like the deadlift can be quite helpful for improving hunchback posture.
If you AREN’T ready for weight training (and many people are not), it’s a good idea to use a lower impact exercise to improve your hunchback posture and manage the risks involved with weighted exercises. This way you can activate the right muscles (in this case, the spinal erectors along either side of your spine) without unnecessarily risking strains in other places.
For a really good example of an exercise to improve hunchback posture, check out this video.
We made this video for a viewer who was older and felt like he couldn’t do exercises that put pressure on his spine. That doesn’t mean that he should NEVER put pressure on his spine, but this gives him an option to start with so he can gradually work towards doing other exercises.
An exercise like this can be a great starting point for someone who really has trouble with hunchback posture, and it’s one we like to throw into training sessions to get people tuned in to using the right muscles.
For example, a great place to use this exercise is just before trying to get someone to do an exercise where they have a habit of collapsing their chest. By having them hold this position for a minute to three minutes, the spinal erectors get a huge wake up call and are primed to stay *on* while doing the next exercise.
How do you continue to improve your hunchback posture?
As with an exercise, you make progress by increasing the intensity, duration, or finding a similar exercise of more appropriate difficulty. This video shows you a couple options that may be appropriate for you (though you’ll have to pay close attention and test!).
As you improve your ability to handle exercises like these, you want to start thinking about adding resistance. That’s where exercises like the deadlift can start becoming helpful for your hunchback!
The key is to pay close attention to form and gradually challenge your abilities within safe limits.
Your hunchback posture can be improved. It takes time. The only way to know if your hunchback CAN’T be improved is to try.
If after months and years of dedicated attempts to improve your muscle control and strength you STILL have issues, then maybe it’ll be time to give up. But remember that time is a big piece of the puzzle.
If you’ve had a hunchback for ten years, don’t expect it to go away within one month. Training to improve posture, strength, and flexibility requires time and dedication. Good luck and enjoy the journey.