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Avoiding Upper Crossed Syndrome this School and Work Year

Upper Crossed Syndrome is more commonly known as poor posture. Almost everyone who sits at a desk, works at a computer, drives, etc., at some point during their day will feel the effects of UCS. As we gear up for the Fall and our time moving around outside is more limited, it is important to reassess our posture and muscle imbalances.


Upper Crossed Syndrome presents as:

Rounded Shoulders

Forward Head Posture

Hunched Upper Back


This is a result of the following imbalances:

Tight Muscles:                                               Weak:

Upper Trapezius                                           Neck Flexors

Levator Scapula                                            Rhomboids

Pectorals                                                         Serratus Anterior


UCS (2)


To counteract UCS we need to massage and stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles. See one of our amazing RMTs for the massage part!


Here are some exercises you can do at home to strengthen the weak muscles associated with UCS. Two you can do at your desk!


Neck Flexion:

Chin Tucks

Simple exercise. Bring your chin back into the front of your neck. You can hold a tennis ball, pen or whatever else you have at your desk.


Upper Back Strengthening:

Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Pinch your shoulder blades together squeezing your rhomboids and lower trapezius muscles. You can do this sitting or standing against a wall. Bring your arms above your head and lower your arms parallel to your body activating your upper back.

Plank on Elbows

Similar exercise to the one above but increases the difficulty. Hold a plank position on your elbows and again squeeze your shoulder blade together while lower the middle portion of your UPPER back. Do not sink your lower back in plank position.


After the above exercises if you want to keep building and increasing intensity start pulling. Rows, Lat pull downs, etc., at the gym.

A personal trainer can set you up with a great posterior chain work out program to get you started!


Author: Lauren Smith | Physiotherapy Assistant

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