Have you heard the phrase “Text Neck?”

So the idea is that you’re getting problems from the way that you’re texting, e-mailing, or checking your phone on a daily basis. So text neck, as I like to call it, is the idea of dropping your head down, which they roughly estimate a head to weigh about 12 lbs. So you divide it by 2.2, you’re looking at 5-6 kilos of weight dropping down.

What that does is it then pulls the shoulder blades forward and down giving you a kyphotic or hunch back rounded shoulder look. It’s not just a look, it’s the fact that if you’re hunching your shoulders forward, you are also blocking yourself from breathing properly. Because you can’t breathe fully into your sternum, into this point here as much as you need to, or to get as much oxygen into your brain and body that you need. So we need to be breathing from the balls all the way into the sternum. Sorry ladies, we reiterate, it’s from the groin area into the sternum. So if you can breathe deeply imagining that you’re breathing in the tube or the diaphragm from that length of the body. So it’s the idea of lengthening up, breathing deeply in and up into the body. That’s where we feel most energetic and we feel at our best and most comfortable.

We’re not going to be like that all the time but we can at least work on maintaining and improving that ability every day. Now text neck again, is the idea that we’re texting on a daily basis. This is a consistent thing. You could argue that you don’t do it that much; you only look down at the phone for a second or two, but just think how many e-mails, how many texts, how many messages, how many calls, how many voicemails do you get every single day that gets you to text neck every second or two throughout the day. And it’s the consistency that’s causing the problems and not the quick second here and there. So it’s the quick second here and there. It’s a quick second here and there constantly throughout the day.

So let’s come up with some solutions as to what you would do for that. Again, I was mentioning about being long and strong; I like that phrase, by lengthening up, pulling the shoulder blades back, and when you look at the phone, bring the phone inline to your eye. Have your shoulder blades pulled back, breathe deeply. You’re dropping your eye level to the phone without dropping your neck down. The other thing is you’re keeping your shoulder blades back. The important thing is to put it in your range so you can see it rather than you see a lot of people hunching down and going forward.

Now this hunching down and going forward is also a problem because it’s improving your ability to tighten up. So we want to do the opposite. What we want to do is lift the sternum up, breath into it.

Now of note to say when you use the phone, these things, and you pull your arms back, and you squeeze the phone in the backward direction that’s a really good way for bracing all the back, getting the shoulder blades back and breathing quite deeply. Just try pulling your arms as far back as you can, really rotating in a backward direction and then take a deep breath in until you feel the chest, hold it, and exhale it all into the air goes into the spine. The aim of breathing is to deepen it.

Other things you can do is work on techniques and work on the deltoids to get the shoulders pulled back, rowing motions, specifically a prone row on the bench gets the shoulder blades to pull back. And imagine, while you’re working the back, the body works in opposite, so we’re strengthening the back. But every time you strengthen the back you’re basically stretching the chest. You’re opening up the chest. So it’s really good to get some deep breathing involved when you do a prone row.

The other thing I like to do while doing a prone row is to do a pause rep at the top so you’re bracing the shoulder blades back, the trapezius is going down, you’re holding and breathing deep into that position and then slowly lowering it down. Fast up, pause at the top doing a pause rep that’s isometric and it strengthens your scapula and your entire back.

Also working the back, I’m a big fan of getting the back of the shoulders and the entire back working to improve posture, so a few exercises to wrap up, that I would say are amazing for posture. Starting off wide behind the neck press with a barbell or even with a stick. The next move would be a prone row that I just described. The next move, if you are very good at the movement and know how to do it properly, is a bent over barbell row. Now if you don’t know how to do that and you’re nervous that you’re not sure about it, don’t go to a gym buddy and ask. Go find a professional that really knows their lifts properly for technique.

Then you’ve got the dead lift, one that I suggest you get a personal trainer to show you how to do proper technique. If you’ve got a bad back and you’re a bit worried about doing the dead lift, I would go for doing a back extension.

Anyway, I hope this helps, just to wrap up. I hope you enjoyed this. If you really enjoyed it, you definitely need to come to the studio, checkout the studio, join me and my team for personal training from expert advice; really get the goals that you want and really enjoy your training and feeling strong and healthy.