Blackburns are a great way of reversing hunched posture, rounded shoulders, drooping head, and weak muscles in the front of the torso associated with too much sitting, staring at a computer screen, and/or hours of scrolling on the phone.
First, lay prone (on your belly) on the floor. Next, you will do a progression of 6 “holds” as follows:
1. With arms down by your sides fully extended and palms up, elevate your arms up off the floor as high as you comfortably can and hold it. Alternatively, you can do this first hold with your palms facing the floor. You won’t have as much range of motion as you will with palms facing the ceiling, so it’s up to you as to what feels most comfortable.
2. With arms extended straight out at 90 degree angles and palms facing down, elevate your arms as high as you comfortably can and hold for a count of 5-15.
3. Same as 2, except this time you will point your thumbs up at the ceiling so that your palms are facing forward, and elevate your arms as high as you comfortably can for a count of 5-15.
4. Same as 2 except your arms will be in the shape of a Y. Elevate your arms as high as you comfortably can and hold for a count of 5-15.
5. Same as 3 (thumbs pointed up) except your arms will be in the shape of a Y. Elevate your arms as high as you comfortably can and hold for a count of 5-15.
6. With arms extended out at 90 degree angles, bend your elbows to 90 degrees, point your thumbs up, elevate your arms up off the floor, and hold for a count of 5-15.
Once you can hold every one of these moves for a count of 15, you can try adding weight for an additional challenge. Start out with 2 or 5 lb dumbbells. If you can’t keep your arms stable with weight, ditch the weight and simply work on holding each position longer.
The point of Blackburns is to reverse all the flexion the body does while sitting all day long, by introducing extension to the body while also strengthening and stabilizing the shoulders and upper back muscles.