Upper Cross Syndrome

Recommended Exercises

What is Upper Cross Syndrome?


Upper Cross Syndrome is the most common postural fault and it causes a lot of symptoms. Most people sit too much (at a computer) and do not use their body as they should. We are not built to sit, when we do, certain muscles get tight, and certain muscles get weak. This leads to postural faults, trigger points, tension, decreased performance and accelerated arthritis (and other joint dysfunction).

Recommended Exercises for Upper Cross Syndrome


The goal of these exercises is to stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles.

Pec Stretch

Stand tall with feet hip width apart. Horizontally extend the arms and open the chest. Horizontally flex the arms back and round the upper back and shoulders.

Recommended Reps: Hold for 30-60 seconds
Equipment: None (optional – doorway or wall corner)


External Rotations

Begin in a side lying position holding a weight with your arm on your rib cage, elbow bent to 90 degrees. Keeping your arm on your ribs, slowly lower the weight toward the floor and then lift back up.

Recommended Reps: 10 reps for 2 – 3 sets or one set to failure (each side)
Equipment: One light weight (no weight, grab a can of soup)



Holding a weight in one arm, place the opposite leg slightly forward and hinge forward. Lift the weight straight toward the ceiling until your elbow is above shoulder height. Focus on moving your shoulder blade toward your spine as you lift your elbow. Slowly lower the weight to the start position and repeat. Can also be performed on a bench using your opposite arm as support.

Recommended Reps: 10 reps for 2 – 3 sets or one set to failure (each side)
Equipment: Dumbbell or Other Heavy Item (optional – bench)



Stand with straight arms raised above your head in a “Y” position. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward throughout the following sequence of movements. Lower your arms to a “T” position. Bend elbows so that fingers are pointing up and lower to make a “W”. Bend elbows 90 degrees and lower arms to form an “L”.

Recommended Reps: Hold each position for 15 seconds (for a total of 60 seconds)
Equipment: None


Trapezius Stretch

Begin by placing your left arm behind your back and grasping your right arm at the elbow or forearm. Slowly and with ease, take your left ear to left shoulder while gently pulling your right shoulder down. This stretch can also be performed while seated, grasping the bottom of a chair with your right arm. Or deepen your stretch by gently applying pressure to your head with your left hand.

Recommended Reps: Hold for 30 – 60 seconds
Equipment: None (optional – chair)


Why Do We Prescribe These Exercises?

Moyer Total Wellness specializes in the conservative treatment of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain (CMSP). Our pain management protocols are based upon evidence based treatment guidelines published by the American Medical Society.

Our 4-Step Protocol: 1. Remove the Knots 2. Lengthen the Tight tissues 3. Mobilize the Effected Joints 4. Strengthen the Weak Muscles


*Very Important: At the time of booking, please discuss the type of massage or other service you are expecting when you schedule your appointment. This will ensure we match you with the most appropriate staff member for your needs. 

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