Kyphosis Excersises

Prone Extension

Starting Position: Lying face down on the floor. Both arms are down by your side, palms up; feet together.

  • Slowly raise your chest off the floor as far as you can, but don't hyper-extend your back
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Lift both arms and rotate them in an external direction, making sure to keep your head in a straight line with your body
  • Hold for a count of 10
  • Slowly return to the starting position and relax
  • Repeat 5 -10 times

Reverse Fly

You will need a set of lightweight dumbbells for this exercise.

Starting position: Sitting on the end of the weight bench, back straight, holding the dumbbells.

  • Tense your abdominal muscles
  • Bend forward to bring your chest over your knees
  • Keeping your elbows slightly bent, lift your arms to the level of your shoulders while squeezing your shoulder blades together
  • Now, straighten and lower your arms on both sides of your body. 
  • Return to the starting position and relax.
  • Repeat 10 times

Dumbbell Shrug

You will need a set of moderate-weight dumbbells for this exercise.

Starting position: Standing with feet about a hip-width apart, holding moderate-weight dumbbells.

  • Keep your shoulders down and back.
  • Tense your abdominal muscles
  • Slowly lift and lower your shoulders, as if your are shrugging them
  • Repeat 10 times and relax.  

Hamstring Stretch

Starting position: Lying on your back, arms at your side, legs straight and about a foot apart. 

  • Tense your abdominal muscles
  • Lift your left leg off the floor and slowly bring it toward your chest
  • Place both of your hands behind your leg to pull it in toward your chest until you fill mild tension
  • Hold the tension to a count of five
  • Return to the starting position and relax. Repeat with your right leg.
  • Do 5-10 repetitions with each leg. 

Corrective Exercises for Excessive Thoracic Kyphosis

One form of kyphosis exercise that is essential is foam rolling because it helps improve mobility in the thoracic spine. A useful way to use the foam roll is to lay it on the floor, then lay down on it, with the stiff area of your thoracic spine on it. Keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Arch your back over the foam and roll across it. You can use the foam roll daily. It's usually best to use it before stretching, as it helps to make the joints in the thoracic spine more mobile. 

Stretch and Strengthen: After learning how to correctly use the foam roll, it's important to learn how to stretch the front of the shoulder, the pectoral muscles, along with strengthen the posterior area of the spine and shoulder. Strengthening the scapular retractors can change the position of the shoulder blade at rest in people who have a abducted scapulae. Some specific exercises to lengthen and increase flexibility include:

  • The static latissimus stretch: This is done with a stability ball. Start on all fours. Now, Stretch one arm out with the forearm and hand are on the stability ball. Hold this position for a count of 30, then relax and repeat on the opposite side. Do the exercise twice on each site. Tightness in this area often pulls the shoulders forward which increases kyphosis. 

  • The 90-degree table top back stretch: The only equipment you need for this exercise is a counter top or table. It allow you to move the apex of the curvature of the kyphosis to a more neutral position while also working out the latissimus muscles. This will help loosen up stiff joints. 

    • Place your feet about a shoulders-width apart
    • Tighten your abdominal muscles
    • Keep your shoulders and back straight
    • Now, bend forward from the hips and lift your arms straight up and out in front of you
    • Put your forearms on the counter top or table to help support your as you try to achieve a 90 degree angle
    • Your ears should be aligned with your arms, and your arms should be straight
    • Keep your back as horizontal as you can, like a table top. 
    • Hold this position for about one to two minutes (or as long as you can) 


  • The chest stretch: This provides a good amount of stretch for your chest muscles. 

    • Lie on the floor on your back. Your knees should be bent and your feet are flat on the floor.
    • Bend your elbows and point them out to the side
    • Position your hands at the back of your neck
    • Keeping your rib cage and back pressed onto the floor, gently press your elbows down to the floor
    • When you feel tension across the front of your chest, stop and hold the tension for a count of 20 to 30 seconds. 
    • Return to the starting position and relax
    • Repeat 2-3 times 

Dynamic Mobility Movements

The repetitive arch-up

This kyphosis exercise can help improve postural kyphosis by targeting areas of the spine that are hyper-kyphotic. 

Starting position: Lying face down on a mat on the floor. Your legs will remain flat on the floor throughout the exercise.

  • Bend your arms at the elbows and place one hand on top of the other, palms down
  • With your forehead placed on top of your hands, you are looking straight down
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles
  • Keeping your forehead still on your hands, lift your chest, arms and head off the floor
  • Lift the upper half of your body as much as you can without moving your legs
  • Hold this tension for a count of 10. You should feel a stretch in your abdomen, back and chest
  • Return your upper body to the floor and relax.
  • Repeat 10 times

Prone elbow lifts

Starting position: Lying face down on a mat on the floor. 

  • Turn your head slightly to one side
  • Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle
  • Tense your abdominal muscles
  • Gently lift your chest and head off the mat
  • Bring your elbows up and a little toward the center of your body
  • Hold this position for a count of 15.
  • Slowly lower your body to the mat and relax
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times

Y-T-V-L

This is a simple kyphosis exercise to change a stiff thoracic area into one that is more mobile. It is more like a step than a true lunge.

Starting Position: The patient is in a posterior lunge position on the right leg, making sure the right heel stays on the floor. The right pelvis will tilt in an anterior direction toward the lumbar spine. Place your hand in the lumbar spine area and notice the increase in the lumbar curvature.  

  • Extend the right arm into Y position
  • Repeat the step and move the right arm into T position
  • Repeat the step and move the right arm into V position
  • Repeat the step and move the right arm into L position

This pattern of movement creates scapular retraction of the scapula, the thoracic spine is extended, the lumbar spine gains lordosis, the cervical spine position improves when the head comes back and the posture is improved. The patient can use a stretch band to add resistance as the arm is extended to work the posterior shoulder. A lightweight dumbbell can also be added in the right hand. 

5-10 repetitions should be performed, 2 or 3 sets. Then repeat on the left side. Remember to change the position of the legs.  

Thread the needle 

For this kyphosis exercise, the patient is in the quadruped position and the spine is neutral with the weight on the knees. 

  • Bring the left arm to the side, level with the chest and shoulder
  • Using the right shoulder blade, rotate the thoracic spine
  • Perform 10 repetitions
  • Repeat with the right arm

Seated thoracic rotation

This works best in the seated position works best when the patient is sitting cross-legged with a ball between the knees. This position blocks movement of the pelvis and minimizes movement in the lumbar spine, allowing the thoracic area to be targeted.

  • Lace the hands and place them behind the head
  • Rotate the elbows and the thoracic spine to the left and to the right
  • Laterally bend the thoracic spine to the left and to the right
  • Combine lateral bending and rotation

Modified Child's Pose

 This is another kyphosis exercise which is a modification to a yoga pose. 

Starting position: Sitting on the floor or on a chair

  • Kneel back, buttocks on heels
  • Rest the body on the thighs, and stretch the arms out forward onto the floor
  • Roll the palm up and lift the left hand up of the floor
  • Hold the position to a count of ten
  • Return to the starting position and relax
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Repeat with the right side

 Remedial strength exercise

 This kyphosis exercise is for the lower trapezius muscles. It strengthens the postural muscles in the back and lengthens the muscles in the chest. 

Starting position: Face down with legs extended, about a hip-width apart. Arms are by the sides and shoulders are down, away from the ears.

  • Breathe in and tense your lower abdominal muscles
  • As you breathe out, raise your chest and head off the floor, pulling your shoulder blades down
  • Inhale and hold this position for a count of 10
  • Exhale and relax, slowly moving back to the starting position
  • Repeat 10 times


Advanced kyphosis exercise program 

Pull-ups can actually be used as an exercise to effectively help kyphosis.

Single-arm dumbbell rows:

  • Hold a dumbbell in your left hand
  • Place your right hand and your left knee on a weight bench
  • Hold the weight with your arm straight out
  • Using the muscles of your upper back, pull the dumbbell upward and backward toward your hip.
  • Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell. 
  • Pull the dumbbell up, passing your elbow past your torso
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Change positions to the opposite side and repeat

Barbell bent-over row: 

Stand and hold a barbell overhand with your hands a little more than a shoulder-width apart

  • Bend your body forward, pushing your hips back until your torso is almost parallel with the floor, keeping a slight bend in the knees
  • Pull the bar toward your ribs
  • Make a pause, then lower the bar
  • Repeat 10 times 

Seated wide-grip row: 

Sit on the floor or on a weight bench.

  • Lean forward and grab a lateral pull down bar from a pulley cable. You could also use an exercise band. 
  • With a wide overhand grip, pull the band or bar toward the middle of your body. 
  • Resist, extending your arms in front. 
  • Pull the bar, keeping your back straight.

Exercise ball extension: 

  • Lie face down on an exercise ball; hook your feet under a bench or push them against a wall.
  • Your chest should not be on the ball
  • Cross your arms and bend at the waist forward until the midsection of your body is covering the ball
  • Lift your torso off the ball. It should be in line with the lower part of your body when you are at the highest part of the move

Reverse fly: 

You will need a set of lightweight dumbbells for this exercise.

Starting position: Sitting on the end of the weight bench, back straight, holding the dumbbells.

  • Tense your abdominal muscles
  • Bend forward to bring your chest over your knees
  • Keeping your elbows slightly bent, lift your arms to the level of your shoulders while squeezing your shoulder blades together
  • Now, straighten and lower your arms on both sides of your body. 
  • Return to the starting position and relax.
  • Repeat 10 times

These strengthening kyphosis exercises are performed in circuit style, one right after another, resting for about 30 seconds between sets. Do the circuit twice, three times weekly. If you do this program for eight weeks, you will notice improvement in your kyphosis.