These exercises can be done 2 ways, on the floor (as pictured) or standing up against a wall.
Let’s start with the option on the floor. These will be more difficult because you are working against gravity with those weaker upper back muscles. To start lay nice and flat, keep your forehead resting on the ground and engage the abdominals. Take your arms to a 90 degree angle out to the side for a “W”. Squeeze right between the shoulder blades then lift the arms of the floor about 1-2″, not very far. Hold for 10 sec then rest, try 3-5 sets of these with rest in between each 10 second set. To challenge yourself if that feels easy, lift your head making sure you keep a nice long neck and don’t let the shoulders lift up to the ears. Hold for up to 30 seconds each time.
Now try the Upper back “T” keeping in mind all the same elements before you lift….abs in, head up, squeeze the shoulder blades to lift. To make this one more challenging try to rotate the thumbs up to the ceiling so that you feel your shoulders rotate open. Reach through the fingertips to create longer arms and engage even more muscles to help strengthen those arms!
If you decide that the floor is a little too much for you right now or just not comfortable try both of these up against the wall. All the same principles apply however, now that you’re standing, make sure that you’re standing up nice and tall and use the wall as your guide to pull away from. Still a very effective exercise, the work is in the details so don’t rush and try to focus on the muscles you’re trying to activate.
Now to stretch out those tired muscles! Stand nice and tall, take your left arm straight out in front of the left shoulder. Reach across with the right hand, grab the left forearm, and gently pull across the body. Important! Make sure the left should stays down to ensure you’re stretching the back muscles. Switch sides, holding each stretch for 30 sec to 1 minute.