Check Yourself Before you Wreck Yourself: Upper Crossed Syndrome

By Jesse Kepka
NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist


Technological devices of all shapes and sizes surround us and have become a necessary pathway for communication. Hours upon hours of it, day after day. Your shoulders are internally rotated (hunched forward), you neck protrudes forward (instead of sitting square above your shoulders) and your cervical and upper thoracic spine are disasters. This creates Upper Crossed Syndrome, and it is nearly impossible to stave off without a diligent and consistent plan of attack.

So what is the plan of attack? Today’s Priority Fit health tip is a very general overview so you can start by being aware of your posture. The internal rotation of your shoulders and protruding head are effects of tight muscles like your upper trapezius, anterior neck muscles, latissimus dorsi (your pulling muscles on your back also internally rotate your shoulders) and your pectorals (chest muscles), to name a few. All of these can be shortened, drawing you into a forward bending position. Stretching, foam rolling and massaging them back to normal length is a great start. 

The opposing underactive muscles are your deep neck flexors (towards the back of your neck), rhomboids, middle trapezius and lower trapezius (or mid-back). These are in a constant state of stretch, since the overactive muscles are pulling you forward. Isolated strengthening of these (simply connecting your brain to their isolated function) will help restore your body to an upright position. 

The position of your ankles can affect every joint complex, clear up to your shoulders. If there is an inflexibility or lack of range of motion, your entire movement system is compromised. Check yourself before you wreck yourself! 

Personal Trainers can write you an exercise plan to help restore your body to a functional and pain-free position. We want to teach you how to move well so you can integrate fitness into your life, long-term, and on your own. We want you to be knowledgeable, and therefore, powerful. 


Tip shared by Jesse Kepka, NASM-certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and owner of Elevate Fitness. Jesse is a co-organizer for Priority Fit Camp. Each week, we publish a health and wellness tip that is shared at the Priority Fit Camp community workout. The free group class happens every Saturday at 7:50 a.m.  

Click for more info on the free Saturday group workout.

Photo credit: “Woman working behind computer” by Pxhere licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0