Are your shoulders stiff and sore during your upper body training activities?Are you struggling to develop & maintain strength and size in your chest or back? Does your lower back hurt after squats, deadlifts, or even during everyday household tasks?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then the solution lies in one location – your upper back!

The upper back (or the Thoracic Spine, to give it it’s nerdy term) is stiff and weak in many people, causing your neck and shoulders to slump forwards to compensate. This can also have a knock-on effect on your lower back, which will either curve too much or too little to try and reduce the strain that your hunched upper back is placing on it.

The Thoracic Spine
The Thoracic Spine


One tell-tale sign of a stiff upper back is the all too common “hunchback” posture.

Try asking a friend or relative to take a picture of you from the side when you’re not looking- how many of the following posture problems you can see in yourself?

• Rounded, slouched upper back.
• Slumped, forward set shoulders.
• Chest sinks in, sometimes hidden by slumped shoulders.
• Chin pokes forwards.

This list of posture problems, along with potential tightness and weaknesses in the muscles (pictured above) can all be attributed to a stiff upper back, which can lead to a compromised performance in all of your daily activities.


Don’t worry, it’s relatively easy to fix, through following the advice below!

1. Posture awareness – Try correcting the list of posture problems noted above by using the following cues: lift your chest up, pull your shoulders and chin back and keep your neck long. You’ll feel like you’re standing taller straight away!

Posture Awareness
Posture Awareness





2. Stretching/exercises – Luckily if you experience these postural issues, something as easy as stretching your upper back and and strengthening muscles weakened by poor posture, the issues can be fixed rather quickly. Have a go at some of the exercises below and you’ll see speedy results!

Extension over a rolled up towel or foam roller
Extension over a rolled up towel or foam roller
"Open Book" upper back stretch
“Open Book” upper back stretch
"Thread the needle" lower back stretch
“Thread the needle” lower back stretch






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