Upper Back Exercises at Home

Upper Back Exercises

Upper Back Exercises at Home – When you hear someone talk about the thoracic back they are often referring to the upper back. The upper back is the part of the back where the ribs attach. Technically, upper back pain is pain between your neck and your lower back. No matter where in your upper back you are having pain. Researchers have shown that specific upper back exercises can help to relieve Upper Back Pain. These exercises can easily be done right at home.

Causes of Upper Back Pain

The cause of upper back pain can come from poor posture, overuse, a twisting motion or an injury. Some common ways you could injure your upper back would be by carrying objects, twisting, bending, and throwing. Sitting for long periods of time can cause upper back muscles to tighten and stiffen up.

Intense coughing or sneezing can cause upper back pain. Scoliosis can sometimes cause upper back pain. It’s usually when the curve in the spine has developed during the adolescent growth period. There is usually an imbalance of the muscles in the upper back when it comes to scoliosis. 

If you sit at a desk, drive a lot, and even work out on a regular basis. All those things can cause back pain and stiffness. When you sit for extended periods of time it can lead to tightness in your hips, chest, hamstrings, and shoulders. This is well known to cause poor posture and upper back pain. Getting mobile is key and using the Upper Back Exercises will make a difference.

If you do any strength training, that can lead to upper back pain. When you exercise a muscle, it is being put under tension. This causes a breakdown of muscle fibers. Those muscle fibers will then repair themselves, coming back even stronger and larger.

This might sound great but if you don’t do proper stretching, the stronger muscle fibers can become tight and then form knots. Which are adhesions in the muscle. This is why its imperative to take it slow when performing these upper back exercises.

Preventing & Relieving Pain – Upper Back Exercises at Home

To prevent upper back pain or if you need to relieve existing pain, it is fundamental to add the proper exercises to your daily routine.

I put some upper back exercises for pain relief and strengthening a little further down on this page. They can be done multiple times a day if you want. This is especially vital if you know that you will be sitting or standing for long periods of time. It’s also a good idea to perform them whenever you need to ease the tension in your upper back.

Many of us are constantly at a computer or have a phone in hand. This means that your head and eyes will be tilted downwards more than you want to admit. Definitely more than you probably realize. This forward, downward head position can affect your entire body.

Having a sore and stiff neck is quite common, along with lower and upper back pain, and headaches. Using all those devices can lead to forward rounded shoulders and the head resting too far out in front of the shoulders. These awkward positions may seem comfortable but they actually change the alignment and health of your spine. 

The best way to deal with soreness, pain and a stiff upper back is through using the right upper back exercises. All upper back exercises below include detailed instructions and video examples. 

It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regiment. If your back problems are not in the lower back I do have exercises for the Middle and Lower Back

Upper Back Exercises


There is actually two two images in one. The top image, there is a lady in workout clothes on a mat on the floor. She is on her hands and knee's with her mid section dropped down and her head arched upward. The second image on the bottom is the same lady in the same position. However, she has her back arched up towards the ceiling and her head pointing downward.

The Cat-Cow Stretch is actually two stretches in one and is a great way to self-mobilize the upper part of your back. By performing these two poses, you are slowly mobilizing each on your vertebra. This allows the small bones to move the way they are supposed to for your day-to-day activities. It keeps them from becoming too rigid and stiff.

The ability to twist and rotate can sometimes become limited. The cause is usually from your day to day activities, rather the lack of. This stretch is a good way to improve rotation in your spine and get back some mobility.

To Begin the Cat-Cow Stretch:

Get on your hands and knees with the knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. 

Inhale as you move your tail bone up towards the ceiling, arching the back towards the floor, and pressing the chest upwards. 

Make sure you relax your shoulder blades. You are now in the cow pose. 

Now, exhale as you transition from the “cow” to “cat” pose, rounding out your back towards the ceiling and pushing your shoulder blades away from you. 

Your spine should be forming a “C” like a curve in the opposite direction. 

Focus on tightening your stomach muscles and holding it 15 to 30 seconds. You can increase it as you progress over time.

Repeat this cycle 5 to 10 times.

Side-Lying Thoracic Rotation

In this upper back exercise a man lays on a mat on his side. His hands are out straight, palms together. His knees are bent up around his waste area.

The ability to twist and rotate can sometimes become limited. The cause is usually from your day to day activities, rather the lack of. This stretch is a good way to improve rotation in your spine and get back some mobility.

To Begin the Side-Lying Thoracic Rotation:

Lay down on your left side with your knees bent and arms straight out in front of you, and palms touching. 

Slowly lift your right hand straight up from the left hand, opening up the arm as if its a book, following your top hand with your head and eyes until your right-hand reaches the other side of your body, palm up.

Your head and eyes should be turned towards the right. 

Hold this stretch for a few seconds before returning to the starting position with palms facing each other. 

You can repeat this up to 10 times on each side.

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