Hello, this is Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns. For today’s video tutorial, I’m going to show you guys how to address a very common condition called kyphosis. This is a very common problem people have in modern culture, mainly because we’re seated for extended periods of time, anywhere between eight to 10 hours a day. It’s wreaking havoc on people’s bodies in terms of having shoulder problems, neck problems, migraines. Lots of problems stem directly from having this kyphotic posture. If you look around people walking down the street, you’ll usually see this prominent rounding of the shoulders and this rounded upper back in this fashion. To describe it a little bit more for you guys, what I want you to visualize is that for every muscle, you have contracting and shortening on your body, it’s quite likely that you’re going to have another muscle that’s going to be firing from a lengthened position. It’s not necessarily bad for you to be in this kyphosis. It’s not bad to be here.
For starters, if you’re thinking about wanting to operate somewhere, you want to operate neutral most of the day. But if you’re in this anterior shift in this kyphosis, this is not the worst thing in the world. It’s a problem if you’re stuck here. And since most people are stuck here, we’re going to end up having issues when it comes to things like movement, because there’s going to be times where you do need to get the thoracic extension, where you do need to mobilize your pelvis back. If you don’t have that capability, there’s going to be some … you’re going to find some stumbling blocks along the path towards moving better. (Bad Posture)
So what I want you to think first, is this is not necessarily bad. The problem is that when you stay fixated here, when you have a fixed tension here, where muscles are shortening, and you have a fixated tension over here where muscles are lengthened, and they’re stuck in that position. Until you get unstuck, it’s quite likely that these issues that you may have with your shoulders, with your neck, with TMJ, or if you have a problem with your lumbar spine, until you get out of that fixated position, you’re probably not going to resolve your conditions. Although this is a very, very deep problem, the techniques I’m going to show you today … There’s going to be three of them … are going to help you along the path towards addressing this very, very common dysfunction.
To begin, I’m going to need a few different tools. The first tool is going to be a superband. The lighter, the better. This one’s a Serious Steel band … Pretty cool … but you can find them on Amazon. They seem to work pretty well. I like that one a lot. This is the lightest resistance that I could find. I’m going to be bringing my trusty Thera Cane. If you watched any of my other YouTube videos, you’ll see that I have my Thera Cane with me a lot of times. I have another tool over here. This is called the PVC pine. You can find us at any hardware store. I believe this is about a two-inch. I’m not quite certain. I have several different sizes, so you can get something around this size or a little bit bigger. If you’re a bigger person who’s over six feet tall, you might need a bigger pipe than this. Here’s a stick. You can find a stick anywhere. And then I’m also going to have a BOSU ball. Okay? (Bad Posture)
For the first technique, I’m going to be attacking my upper abdominal tissues. This is a region, again, where the muscles are going to be very, very shortened. They’re going to be contracted. They’re going to be operating from a concentric point, and they’re going to be operating isometrically in that function. And so therefore when they stay in that isometric and concentric shortened position, they keep you fixated into that kyphosis. So it’s absolutely imperative that we get into these tissues to lengthen them to enable us to get into more of the thoracic extension, right, this forward flexion brought on by the rectus abdominis and the obliques can really wreak havoc on that upper body posture.
So the first thing that we’re going to do, is I just take this band, going to bring it behind our back, like so. I’m going to kind of just roll both the loops together here. I’m going to lay down, bring the Thera Cane. Then what I’m going to do from there, is I’m going to take the resistance band over the top like so, and the other part like so, and now I have myself a little massage therapist. (Bad Posture)
One thing I hate about doing myofascial releases, having to institute effort with my body. I like to create as much of a relaxed and tranquil environment anytime that I manipulate any kind of fascia on my body. The more activation that you have on your body, the more difficult it’s going to be for you to manipulate a muscle on your body. So if I’m completely relaxed here and the Thera Cane is doing most of the work here, the bands are doing most of the work, that’s really going to enable me to relax these tissues a bit better.
In terms of what we’re aiming at here, you don’t want to aim for the middle of the linea alba. Usually you don’t want to aim for that specific area. That needs to usually close up on most people because your linea alba is a little too spread, so don’t aim at the middle. You’re going to aim a little bit off to the side. Okay? You’re going to aim off to the side. Careful not to hit the xiphoid process, that little bone that comes off of the sternum. Don’t hit that bone. We’re going to aim it up a little bit and just let the resistance band do most of the work. (Bad Posture)
You can do forms of breathing. I always recommended for the most part for most people breathing into their T spine if they have that issue. If you have a really deep kyphosis you notice that your chest kind of tends to caves in, I would actually recommend breathing right here into that lower portion of that sternum. I would breathe there. Send that upward as I palpate and manipulate these tissues, like I am right now. This band really does give a lot of advantage. Most of the time I would usually be coming here and pulling in with the arms. The band kind of does that work for me, now it’s just a matter of me balancing it. In terms of where are you going to aim the band, we want you to aim it a little bit more up. You’re going to go about a 45-degree angle going up almost towards my scapulas. That’s where we’re going to be aiming our pressure. Be sure to do both sides. Okay?
The next technique that we are going to employ, will be to help us promote a little bit more mobilization of the thoracic region. Most people who do have this kyphosis don’t just have a kyphosis with this forward flexion. Again, this forward flexion is a very prominent issue, but we also have a compression issue, a longitudinal compression. Just think latitude on the planet, longitude going up and down, right? Just think that there’s a longitudinal pressure happening on the ribcage and the spine. That’s a very prominent issue. What we want to do, is actually take the tissues that are pulling it straight down, and give us a little more length to where the tissues can move vertically. Also, we’re going to pressurize the spine a little bit at the thoracic junction to anteriorly shift the vertebra and enable us to get a bit more of that thoracic extension.
Something to take note of, is if this is too hard and you’re making bone-on-bone contact with the PVC pipe, it might be smart to put a towel around it, like a nice thick towel. Because some people may not have that much muscle in their T spine, and it can be damaging if you make bone-on-bone contact. There’s no real benefit that you’re going to get there, other than just it hurting. So be sure that if you are a person who’s a little bit more thin and you feel like your bones are making contact with the PVC pipe, that you put something around that. (Bad Posture)
So very simply, all we’re going to do is just lay down. Everybody has a different kyphosis. Some people round at the lower portions of the thoracic, some people round higher at the portion with their kyphosis. I’m just going to an aim to whatever’s my problem. I can’t decode that for you, I’m just doing it for this video, just giving you guys a general direction. I’m just going to lay down here, bring my arms out to my side, or I can even bring them here. If this bothers my shoulder, bringing my arms out here, then I’ll keep my elbows up here. And so what I’m going to do, is just let my weight drop over the top of this PVC pipe. Okay?
After you get comfortable in this position, some of you may feel sore. What I’m going to then have you do, is I’m going to have to do a little bit of a posterior pelvic tilt. Okay? That posterior tilt is going to create the straightening of the spine and going to add pressure to that thoracic junction. Okay? You might begin to feel some soreness here depending on who you are. A lot of people, if you have a really extreme kyphosis, you’ll definitely feel some pressure going on here. (Bad Posture)
The next thing you’ll be doing, is actually breathing into your T spine and into your breastbone. All you’ll be doing, is retracting your abdomen. As you hold this posterior tilt, you breathe in. Every time that you breathe in, I want you thinking about sending your ribs that way towards your head. We’re trying to create some rib elevation to get the little bit more decompression into that T spine. So again, we’re going back here, posterior tilting, almost flattening the spine, breathing in. Careful not to breathe in through the abdomen. We don’t really need any breath going into the abdomen so much. It needs to be more into that T spine. Okay?
After we’ve mobilized those two areas, we’re then going to attack the T spine by actually activating the muscle. We’ve created Mobility, but if you have mobility without muscle activation, you’re going to have a compromised structure. You’re going to have a flimsy structure. You don’t want to just be mobile. If you look at people who are hypermobile, again, they do well until they actually meet a test in real life. So if you have a person who’s very hypermobile, who’s like this, that’s the last kind of person that needs to be going out and running for about two, three miles like we should be. Humans should be aiming to run and doing … like playing basketball and doing dynamic sports like that, dynamic activities. If you’re flimsy like this, that can be one of the most destructive things on your joints. You got to know where you need to stay rigid and you got to know where to stay mobile. (Bad Posture)
And so we have to make sure that when we relinquish this tension in our bodies, that we replace it with a new tension that’s going to help us keep us in a neutral state to where we have that tension where we need it, and the elasticity where we need it as well. Okay? What I’m going to do, is grab this BOSU ball so we can reinforce the strength to our T spine. We’ve already built this mobility, now we’re going to add some strength into this. Okay. Rule number one, keep your spine neutral to the stick at all times. Okay? This in and of itself, for many people is already going to be a huge challenge, mainly because any time somebody decides to go into a thoracic extension, they’ll go here and hit a hyperextension of their lumbar spine to create a lordosis. Why? Because they’ve always been there.
So what I will need you guys to think of, is that you’re going to change the association between your lumbar spine and your thoracic spine. You’re going to go into a posterior tilt. As you try extending your T spine and lifting your T spine up, you’re going to also breathe into your T spine as you do the posterior tilt and lift your chest up. The goal here is that you hit this entire neutral point. Most of the time when people do this, their T spine will begin to burn up quite a bit. Want to be careful that we don’t hyperextend the T spine either or we drop the chest down too much. We want the stick flush to the entire spine. So I breathe into my T spine. Oh, that burns like crazy. Again, careful to not go into that hyperextension of the lumbar. If you go into the hyperextension of the lumbar, you’re not going to feel your T spine. Why? Because your lumbar is going to take over.
If you look at the traditional approach to attacking the Cobra or any kind of a prone position exercise that focuses on the thoracic, you’ll be seeing a lot of this, the external rotation and the hyperextension. What does that mean for when you stand up? That position doesn’t really apply to many realities in this space whenever you’re talking about functional movement. So don’t train yourself to be here, train yourself to be here. I’m not perfect. I still got all my deficiencies, a ton of deficiencies on my body, but this is probably hopefully a closer approximation to what you should be aiming at in terms of having this neutral posture in the fashion that I have it right now. So we have a good TBA retraction and we have a fairly straight thoracic spine, at least from the external perspective. (Bad Posture)
I do hope that you guys found this video to be useful. Practice it. Let me know what you guys think. See if you feel some benefits. You should. If you execute those things correctly, you should, but by the time you get done with it, you should feel like you’re like this, like your chest is a little bit more pumped up. Hope you enjoyed it. I will see you guys soon. Be on the lookout for more videos that I will be releasing here in the near future. This is Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns reminding you to train intentionally and not habitually. I’ll see you soon.