I caught my reflection in the mirror while in hot yoga the other day and I didn’t like what I saw. I’d just initiated my Chaturanga Dandasana and as I glanced up to look at the instructor who was in front of the mirror, I noticed how rounded my shoulders were. When I tried to roll them back, it didn’t seem to make much difference at all.
My background is synchronized swimming. I trained for nearly ten years as a competitive athlete and, while we were coached to keep our shoulders back, I think my swimming training assisted in developing my natural tendency towards a super-developed trapezius muscle and pectoralis major, both of which can contribute to the “muscleman slouch”.
I’ve been reading about ways that I can improve my posture on the mat, and off, because the slouch also contributes to neck tension and headaches. According to TNation.com our rhomboids are the key to solving this problem. TNation calls the rhomboid the “back’s designated driver: you really should appreciate it, but, well, you forget.”
Why — of all muscles — should I focus on the rhomboid? Its sole purpose is to retract my shoulder blades, which lies at the heart of my slouchy shoulders problem. Like many things in life, the rhomboid weakens from lack of use, so if, like me, you need to activate it, exercises are in order.
I found this YouTube video (below) from Ted Loos, in which he reviews an exercise called, “The Rhomboid Push-up”. I tried 10 before writing this and I can see how this might be a beneficial exercise.
This special push-up couldn’t come at a better time either — my friend, Barbara, a coach from Fukumoto Fitness – currently has a 15 push-ups for 30 days challenge. I do believe I’m adding these rhomboid push-ups to the mix. Will report in a few weeks to update you on the results!