Rucking and Upper Cross Syndrome

barrak

Level 5 Valued Member
I have been working aggressively on fixing my Upper Cross Syndrome (rounded shoulders, hunched upper back, impingement during kettlebell presses, and inability to overhead-squat) for the past 3 weeks with great results so far. I'm confident I'll overcome this syndrome by mid-August.

I'm interested in resuming my rucking and I'm wondering if it could cause a regression... any thoughts?

For the record, I use a Goruck GR1 21L.
 

barrak

Level 5 Valued Member
What type of exercises have you been doing?
I've been doing several exercises and corrective measures, some multiple times a day. (I'm also on a Simple and Sinister program). Here is a short list:

Passive Measures:
1. Switched to a kneeling chair for my desk
2. Adjusted my car seat to an upright position
3. Upright sofa sitting with a stiff lumbar support
4. Using my cell phone at eye level

Active Measures:
1. Thoracic spine foam rolling
2. Massaging and stretching chest and upper traps
3. Dead hangs
4. Swinging a 32K in S&S is taking care of strengthening mid back
5. Daily 1-hour walks/hikes (no packs) with the kids
6. loaded chin tucks
 
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natewhite39

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I've been doing several exercises and corrective measures, some multiple times a day. (I'm also on a Simple and Sinister program). Here is a short list:

Passive Measures:
1. Switched to a kneeling chair for my desk
2. Adjusted my car seat to an upright position
3. Upright sofa sitting with a stiff lumbar support
4. Using my cell phone at eye level

Active Measures:
1. Thoracic spine foam rolling
2. Massaging and stretching chest and upper traps
3. Dead hangs
4. Swinging a 32K in S&S is taking care of strengthening mid back
5. Daily 1-hour walks/hikes (no packs) with the kids
I would stay with that routine since it's working for you. No need to add more fitness on top of dysfunction until your improvements begin to normalize. The thing with posture is that it is a reflex, you don't have conscious control over it. You can definitely set yourself up for improved posture, but it takes time to stick around.

Another one I use with my students is lying down long ways on a foam roller while diaphragmatic breathing for around 5 minutes. They do it 2-3 times per day. Hope that helps.
 

barrak

Level 5 Valued Member
I would stay with that routine since it's working for you. No need to add more fitness on top of dysfunction until your improvements begin to normalize. The thing with posture is that it is a reflex, you don't have conscious control over it. You can definitely set yourself up for improved posture, but it takes time to stick around.

Another one I use with my students is lying down long ways on a foam roller while diaphragmatic breathing for around 5 minutes. They do it 2-3 times per day. Hope that helps.
Thanks for the warning and suggestions. Maybe I'm doing plenty for now.

The exercise you mentioned is how I do my chest stretches; lying lengthwise over a soft 3-foot foam roller and doing slow snow angels with deep breaths. First time I did it three weeks ago, my boy measured a 13 inch distance from my knuckles to the ground in a Y position. Now, my knuckles brush the carpet throughout the movement.
 

natewhite39

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Cool, try to remember that feeling of the deep diaphragmatic breath and you can use that throughout the day as a mini reset. Really, that's something everyone needs to do! 💪
 

mprevost

Level 6 Valued Member
I don't think it would be a problem. The lean that you do to adjust the center of gravity in a pack while rucking is done at the waist and is not a round shoulder, head forward hunch that you are trying to avoid. Just keep your head up, shoulders back and you should be fine.
 

barrak

Level 5 Valued Member
I don't think it would be a problem. The lean that you do to adjust the center of gravity in a pack while rucking is done at the waist and is not a round shoulder, head forward hunch that you are trying to avoid. Just keep your head up, shoulders back and you should be fine.
Thanks for the pointer.

I'll have one of my kids take profile photos and videos of me in a ruck trial and see how I balance myself on the go.
 

Sean Mulcahy

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Another one I use with my students is lying down long ways on a foam roller while diaphragmatic breathing for around 5 minutes. They do it 2-3 times per day.
@natewhite39 Do you use the long of short version roller for this? Any chance you can post a picture of what this looks like?
 

IMayAgainKnowChris

Level 5 Valued Member
Does good swing form help correct this in general to any extent? Or the TGU? One thing I’ve notice since starting S And S is that my slight anterior pelvic tilt and hunched over shoulders have really gotten better. Like it’s very noticeable to me immediately if I stand with bad posture. Unfortunately I have a desk job so I need to really find a way to sit better (I take apart computers all day).
I notice now that I sort of lead with my stomach/chest when I walk and my shoulders feel broader. It’s hard to put into words but I definitely feel more confident just in day to day life from the recent level of progress from S and S.
It’s almost like “Strength has a greater purpose”... or something
 

barrak

Level 5 Valued Member
Does good swing form help correct this in general to any extent? Or the TGU? One thing I’ve notice since starting S And S is that my slight anterior pelvic tilt and hunched over shoulders have really gotten better. Like it’s very noticeable to me immediately if I stand with bad posture. Unfortunately I have a desk job so I need to really find a way to sit better (I take apart computers all day).
I notice now that I sort of lead with my stomach/chest when I walk and my shoulders feel broader. It’s hard to put into words but I definitely feel more confident just in day to day life from the recent level of progress from S and S.
It’s almost like “Strength has a greater purpose”... or something
Kettlebell swings, snatches and cleans were instrumental in correcting my APT without me even noticing. Think of all those hike-backs that load the hamstrings and hip snaps that load the glutes. A tight and strong posterior chain is plenty capable of countering the over-eager hip flexors.

Just avoid all those silly ham stretches and replace them with hip flexor stretches and you'll be there in no time.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
The must read article on rucking by Al Ciampa specifically mentions the postural benefits of rucking if you pay attention to your posture and have your eye gaze up and forward. Imagine you are a scout scanning ahead and using your peripheral vision to move.

“Anti-shrug” your shoulders under the straps of the pack. Don’t pull them down hard, but do keep them down and back. The straps of the pack provide a traction-like effect on the muscles of your upper body, as they press down on your shoulder girdle. Use the long duration of the walk under this effect as a tool to open up your chest and increase thoracic spine mobility. Continually check yourself for shrugging or rounding your shoulders forward, and reset them as you go. The postural improvement you can gain here can be phenomenal, if you stay aware of your positioning while you walk. "

https://www.strongfirst.com/how-to-ruck/
 

barrak

Level 5 Valued Member
The must read article on rucking by Al Ciampa specifically mentions the postural benefits of rucking if you pay attention to your posture and have your eye gaze up and forward. Imagine you are a scout scanning ahead and using your peripheral vision to move.

“Anti-shrug” your shoulders under the straps of the pack. Don’t pull them down hard, but do keep them down and back. The straps of the pack provide a traction-like effect on the muscles of your upper body, as they press down on your shoulder girdle. Use the long duration of the walk under this effect as a tool to open up your chest and increase thoracic spine mobility. Continually check yourself for shrugging or rounding your shoulders forward, and reset them as you go. The postural improvement you can gain here can be phenomenal, if you stay aware of your positioning while you walk. "

Rucking: What It Is and How to Do It | StrongFirst
Thank you for the link. I also came across the following:

 
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