I have really big problems with my posture. I spent a lot of time sitting at computer for many years. My shoulders are rounded, they go forward and due to this my neck is overloaded. I have also forward neck and head.

I tried to stretch my pecs many times - but stretching did not help and it caused pain when stretched too much.

I tried also to strengthen my back muscles - but I always found the exercises difficult, leaving me with sore back muscles and not much improvement.

What I have recently found out is that when I fully open my palms (I mean straightening all my fingers, like I want to grab something really big... fingers must be all in line and wide) then my shoulders get slowly fixed - automatically - without any effort (except for the effort of holding the palms).

Just holding my palms open makes my shoulders get in correct position, I feel my chest getting wider, scapulas going down and everything feels better, including my neck.

So just by opening palms I have almost instantly achieved something what I have not achieved by years of experimenting with all sorts of exercises.

The problem is that it works only when I have my palms open. When I stop doing it, then my shoulders get back and everything is as before.

I really really don't understand it..... what's going on? Why does it work? What is the problem?

P.S. sorry for my english

P.S.2 Here is a picture of how I have to hold my hand http://www.astralsociety.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Palmistry2.jpg

Thanks a lot for reading and for any response

  • When you open your palms are your palms facing forwards or backwards? Apr 28, 2015 at 4:19
  • I think it does not matter. But I hold them so they face to my sides... so not forwards not backwards but in natural position.
    – tommas
    May 2, 2015 at 16:30
  • I asked because when you open your palms and "roll your thumbs out" away from your body, it tends to bring your scapula (shoulder blades) down and back which opens up the chest. But otherwise I don't know why opening the palms without correcting the scapula makes a difference. In addition to the answer you got, you may get some helpful exercises for posture from this question/answer. May 2, 2015 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


Sitting is quite literally killing you. There is a long thread of answers over here related to fixing the damage that comes from long term computer work.

It took months and years to cause the damage, and it will take months and years to repair it fully. You can't stretch and play around with some dumbbells for a couple of weeks and expect anything remotely impactful.

Look for a balanced strength training program (Starting Strength or Stronglifts are popular), and consider taking a yoga course.

Be willing to invest ~5 hours a week into your health. If you're not, then realize you don't prioritize it enough, and don't wonder why you're not getting results. It really all comes down to being on a good program and sticking with it.

  • How does this explain his question about why opening his hands automatically moves his shoulders back?
    – JohnP
    Apr 22, 2015 at 22:45
  • His first three paragraphs are the bigger issue, it's not like keeping his hands open all day is going to solve any problems.
    – Eric
    Apr 22, 2015 at 22:46
  • Agreed, and it's a good answer, but "I really really don't understand it..... what's going on? Why does it work?" is not answered.
    – JohnP
    Apr 22, 2015 at 22:47
  • Well, I got 1 of out 3 "... what's the problem...?"
    – Eric
    Apr 22, 2015 at 22:49
  • Hah! :) Well played.
    – JohnP
    Apr 22, 2015 at 22:52

My educated guess as to why maximally extending your fingers seems to temporarily improve your posture is that you're activating a kinetic chain that involves your rear deltoids and mid to lower trapezius. Essentially, by consciously recruiting your wrist and finger extending muscles you're synergistically recruiting the same muscles that one would recruit at the very beginning of a reverse fly.

Many times imbalance or poor posture in one area can be caused or affected by imbalance/poor posture in another. Chronically protracted scapula, inwardly rotated shoulders, and a hunched thoracic spine (hyperkyphosis) are all postural side effects of prolonged sitting. But so are chronically shortened hip-flexors and hamstrings, which leads to a forward hip tilt and exaggerated lumbar curve (hyperlordosis), which leads to hyperkyphosis in order to compensate and attain a balanced head posture. The point being that simply focusing on chest stretches and back strengthening exercises is probably not going to be sufficient to correct your posture. Instead you need to assess and correct along the entire mobility-stability continuum, from ankles to wrists.

You should not only be able to hold your shoulders back and stand up straight with normal keyphosis, but you should be able to reach well past your knees with a flat back, to execute a full-depth squat without falling over backward, hunching, or lifting your heels, and pass the Thomas test (I can only post 2 links so you're just going to have to google some of this stuff).

regular exercises that I would recommend in addition to shoulder and chest stretches:

  • squat to stands
  • various thoracic mobility exercises
  • foam rolling (especially hamstrings, hip-flexors, and thoracic spine)
  • duck walking
  • various hip flexor stretches
  • various hamstring stretches
  • some type of row, preferably face-pulls, high cable rows, or dumbbell rows if you have no cables.
  • reverse flys.
  • barbell hip thrusts, a la Bret Contreras
  • front squats (as you're able)
  • overhead squats (as you're able)

This might sound somewhat overwhelming, but maintaining good posture is much much easier than correcting poor posture. After a few months of diligent work you could conceivably cut the posture specific training back to just doing a few sets of overhead and front squats a few times a week.

  • hi and thanks, i guess this is what i was asking for. thanks for the tips too!
    – tommas
    Apr 27, 2015 at 10:36

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