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  1. #1
    Registered User ReboundReps's Avatar
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    Puffing chest out during exercises?

    On most upper body exercises, I've always been focused on puffing my chest out and keeping my shoulder blades retracted where possible.

    But lately I've been having some upper back pain around my rhomboid on the right - aswell as a winging scapular due to my weak lower traps and serratus anterior. The physio has prescribed me some exercises which seem to be working pretty nicely.

    He's had to correct my form on a number of exercises due to my tendency to puff my chest out and retract my shoulder blades. I think he said something along the lines of I should focus on contracting my lats during back exercises rather than squeezing my shoulder blades together so much, and that my rhomboids are probably getting overloaded (something along those lines I think).

    I think he also said that I had a tendency to shrug my shoulder / contract my upper traps when doing back exercises like rows.

    Am I right in thinking now that it's better to keep your upper back in more of a neutral position rather than puffing your chest out all the time?
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  2. #2
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    So are you second guessing your PT?
    Work what they suggest for a couple months and come to your own conclusion on wether the exercises helped you or not.
    You might also want see what a chiropractor has to say about that rhomboid pain.
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  3. #3
    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    It's a matter of keeping your spine straight. With what you're describing, your trap region is hinging on your spine and you're using your mid/rear delts to use your arms in general fashion. Very cumbersome for what the muscles are designed to do.

    When your spine is proper and you aren't hunched forward, you should be able to lift your arms more efficiently if you orient to raise with your front delts instead.

    To raise your arms, do more like of a rising tide with your palms facing up with your back up more straight. You want your resting position to have your arms more hanging at your back rather than draped forward (as far as how the shoulder ball is rotated and such).


    Last edited by GeneralSerpant; 09-17-2020 at 12:08 PM.
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    Registered User ReboundReps's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    So are you second guessing your PT?
    Nope, but I prefer to make sure I properly have an understanding of the situation as I only have so much time during the sessions and I often don't think of the right questions to ask until afterwards
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  5. #5
    Registered User ReboundReps's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    It's a matter of keeping your spine straight. With what you're describing, your trap region is hinging on your spine and you're using your mid/rear delts to use your arms in general fashion. Very cumbersome for what the muscles are designed to do.

    When your spine is proper and you aren't hunched forward, you should be able to lift your arms more efficiently if you orient to raise with your front delts instead.

    To raise your arms, do more like of a rising tide with your palms facing up with your back up more straight. You want your resting position to have your arms more hanging at your back rather than draped forward (as far as how the shoulder ball is rotated and such).

    Thanks, I'm not 100% on what you mean in the second two paragraphs sorry lol... but I hear what you're saying about the mid/rear delts
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    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ReboundReps View Post
    Thanks, I'm not 100% on what you mean in the second two paragraphs sorry lol... but I hear what you're saying about the mid/rear delts
    Oh sorry. I think your doc is right. What you describe him telling you to do is like what I did.
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    Registered User ReboundReps's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    Oh sorry. I think your doc is right. What you describe him telling you to do is like what I did.
    Great thanks I think, going from what he said, that my weak lower traps are also quite a big part of the pain I'm getting.

    Which would make a lot of sense, as I've barely done anything for my lower traps ever since the gyms closed over 6 months ago
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  8. #8
    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ReboundReps View Post
    Great thanks I think, going from what he said, that my weak lower traps are also quite a big part of the pain I'm getting.

    Which would make a lot of sense, as I've barely done anything for my lower traps ever since the gyms closed over 6 months ago
    Well just like the front traps going to the top traps, the rear delts go to the bottom traps. You can hang heavy weight with a lot of stability with the upper traps, but you can't be very mobile with much any weight with the arm (eg: curling from the same position) without stability from the lower traps.
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