Upper Back Exercise

TARGETED MUSCLES: Shoulders and upper back
WHAT YOU NEED: Sturdy, armless chair

upper body stretch exercise

This exercise is good for your shoulders and upper-back muscles.

  1. Sit in a sturdy, armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold arms in front of you at shoulder height with palms facing outward.
  3. Relax your shoulders, keep your upper body still, and reach forward with your hands. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  4. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  5. Sit back up.
  6. Repeat at least 3-5 times.
Icon: Safety


  • Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Always keep them slightly bent while stretching.
  • Always stretch with a smooth, steady movement. Don’t jerk or bounce into the stretch; it may cause injury.
  • A mild pulling feeling while you are stretching is normal. If you feel sharp or stabbing pain or joint pain, you’re stretching too far. Reduce the stretch so it doesn’t hurt.
  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
  • Always warm up before stretching exercises. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up can result in injury. If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. If you are doing endurance or strength exercises, stretch after, not before.
  • If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower-back flexibility exercises.