It is very simple to do. Whilst standing or sitting, simply interlock your fingers or hold your hands together somehow, over your chest or near chest level.
Try this position whilst you are reading this and see what your shoulders do.
You will find that your shoulders will go into a good back and down position. This is an ideal postural positon for your shoulders. Basically, it is very hard to slouch in this position. It forces you into good posture. Compare your shoulder position when doing this compared to when you have your arms crossed. You can see in the photos below what happens to my shoulders when I do this.
- With my arms crossed, you can see my shoulders have rolled forward and there is an increase in the curve in my upper back. It gives you a hunched back type posture.
- This is not a good position for you, especially if you have tension and tightness in the mid to upper back and neck.
- This position also puts tension on the Rotator Cuff muscles which can lead to shoulder injuries.
- Compare the arms crossed position to the hands on chest position and see where my shoulders are and how the curve in my upper back has reduced. There is a massive difference. Suddenly my Rotator Cuff and mid back muscles aren’t straining to stabilize my shoulders.
- You can put your hands in any configuration as long as they are over your chest. Lifting your hands up drops the shoulders back and down. What you do with the hands is not as important.
- This is a good exercise to learn what ideal shoulder positioning is. I know it is not always possible to stand like this. If you can’t stand like this, what you can do is get into the position so your shoulder posture is good, but rather than leave your hands on your chest, you can drop them down and continue what you are doing as long as the shoulders remain in the good position. This will be harder to maintain for a period of time, but it is a great learning tool for shoulder positioning.
Next time you are standing talking to someone or at a meeting or watching the kids’ sports game, try this position and see how it feels. I bet after a while your upper back will feel much better than if you had crossed arms. I am sure your body will thank you for it.