Exercise is a way to keep the muscles of your upper back fit. This helps to avoid back pain and alleviate current pain. Experts with the American Chiropractic Association estimate that as many as 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some point. Fortunately, most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic, meaning they are not the result of a serious condition such as arthritis. Most cases are due to sprained ligaments, strained muscles or irritated joints. These exercises target the upper back and shoulder muscles. A gym is not required because these exercises require no equipment.
This exercise works the trapezius and deltoid muscles in the upper back. Lie flat on your stomach with your arms extended above your head and palms facing together. As you exhale, raise both your legs and your arms a few inches off the floor. Make sure that you are keeping your back alignment straight. Hold this position for a few seconds. As you inhale, slowly lower your arms and legs back to the starting position.
The Cat-Camel works the trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles of the upper back. Get down on your hands and knees. Place your knees directly under your hips and your wrists directly under your shoulders. As you exhale, lift your spine towards the ceiling, similar to the arch of an angry cat. Bring your head in toward your chest. Hold this position for 10 seconds. As you inhale, relax your back and allow it to come down toward the floor and create a reverse arch. Hold for 10 seconds and then return to a flat back position.
Contralateral Limb Raises
This exercise focuses on the trapezius and deltoid muscles in the upper back. Lie flat on your stomach with your arms extended above your head and palms facing together. As you exhale, slowly lift your left arm a few inches off the floor. Keep your arm straight and do not rotate your shoulder. Hold this position for a few seconds. As you inhale, lower your arm back to the ground. Repeat this with the right arm.
Prone Scapular Stabilization Series
This exercise uses the “I, Y, T, W, O Formation” and works the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and deltoids. Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched above your head and palms facing together. You begin with the “I” formation. Slowly lift your arms above the floor while keeping them stretched forward. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat two to four times. The next step is the “Y” formation. Lift your arms above the floor, making a “Y” formation. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat two to four times. For the “T” formation, raise your arms and position them to your side to make a “T.” Hold for 10 seconds and repeat for two to four repetitions. The “W” position is next. Position your arms so that your elbows are bent and form a “W.” Hold for 10 seconds and repeat for two to four repetitions. For the “O” formation, lift your arms off the floor and bring them inward so that your hands are stacked on the small of your back and form an “O.” Hold for 10 seconds and repeat for two to four repetitions.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.