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Far too many women in my family have stooped shoulders. My Mom was not extreme – though her shoulders were rounded as she got older. My grandmother was definitely stooped. One of my aunts was nearly bent in half. I have a neighbor who is also extremely stooped. I watch her take her trash can out to the street, and I wonder what I can do to prevent this from happening to me.
The last time my son was home, I asked him. He said that a common mistake people make with weights is to do exercises that build their chests and ignore their back muscles. He says that if anything men are more guilty of this than women, and that the result is stooped shoulders. If a woman does not spend at least as much time building her back muscles, the stoop will grow more and more pronounced as she ages.
I asked what exercises I needed to do for my back. He showed me several. But the most interesting one was how to use a basic fitness center weight machine as a rowing machine. He showed me how to attach the wide bar onto one of the cables. He put a chair about 6 feet from the machine and told me to sit down. I held the bar near the ends and began a rowing motion.
He said to hold my core tight, bring the bar to my chest, lean back a little, and release the bar in a controlled manner. I’ve been doing this 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes. I use 50 pounds of weight. I guess I won’t know for years how well it is working.
I love the movie Ben Hur. My favorite scene is the chariot race, but a close second is the sea battle where Ben Hur is rowing a Roman ship as a galley slave. As I’m rowing I imagine that scene. I’d rather be strong to the end like Ben Hur, than get dragged screaming from the deck because I lacked stamina.
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