Ben isn't a SOF guy, in fact he's a former officer (Every SOF NCO's worst enemy). But, he was infantry, and he shoots pretty good, and he has a wicked sense of humor. Hopefully you enjoy his thinly veiled critique of the shooting industry as much as we did.
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Pretty much everyone nowadays has some type of Kyphosis, otherwise known as the rounding of the upper back or rounded shoulders. Most of the time this is due to our poor posture.
We’ve spoken before about how everything in our body is a system of systems. When one system isn’t performing the way it should then other systems take the brunt of the slack.
When looking at a rounded upper back we tend to see one of the most common faults in the system: the shoulder falling forward and the neck way over the shoulders. This leads to rounded shoulders.
When these problems occur then you end up creating a whole other level of problems internally and not just externally. If you are someone who works behind a computer and sits all day, then you have felt this sense of tiredness. Even in a person who works in a bulletproof vest or carries a ruck or some type of pack for a living we see shortness of breath.
All of these things create tight chest muscles. When the chest muscles tighten, from there the shoulders start to be pull forward, as the neck starts to lean way in front of the shoulders and the upper back is rounded. What we don’t realize is we are cutting off the lung's ability to fully expand due to the rib cage being compressed down and in.
Exercises for Rounded Shoulders
There are a couple of things we can do with exercise to fix this poor posture you’ve created, but it all starts with awareness of how rounded shoulders are caused. No one did this to you but yourself, and we have to correct it ourselves now!
Start by standing more throughout the day and focus on rolling the shoulders down and back or back and down, whichever way you feel your body understands how to make this happen. Get a standup desk, or work by taking a knee or in a tall kneeling position. If you feel like you are getting tired, stand up and align yourself, using a wall if need be, and take 5 big slow inhales and exhales to help get as much oxygen as possible.
Here is a corrective protocol I’ve used to help get rid of the rounding of the shoulders and kyphosis of the upper back. The flow here is mobilization into creating range of motion into activation:
Foam Roller Snow Angels
Prone T-Spine Rotations
External Rotation Door Stretch w Neck Rotation
Pec Minor Door Stretch w Arm Raise
Banded Pull Apart Internal to External Rotation
Protraction Banded Shoulder Raises
Look to perform these exercises 2-3 times a week. Then follow it up by being more mindful of your posture throughout the day.
The Western Slope of Colorado is often lost to the bustle of activity and ease of access that the Front Range offers. This is the land where countless classic western movies were filmed for its stark beauty and historic feel. The jewel of the Western Slope are the San Juan's, and nestled in the heart of the San Juan mountain range is a little town called Ouray.
This little berg is nestled in a North-South valley that doesn’t see a lot of sun, but thinks of itself as the “Switzerland of America”. While founded on mining with an economy that was once based on a booming gold and silver industry, now this town survives off of tourism almost entirely, and there is a reason for that: if you like adventuring outdoors in the most remote and beautiful places the West has to offer; this is your Xanadu.
In the winter, Ouray is in full stride. Located a short drive from Telluride and what i think is the most diverse and well kept skiing and snowboarding slopes I have ever seen. The man made ice climbing waterfalls (the first in the world) at the edge of town are truly impressive and offer a lot of great climbing opportunities. And, after a long day in the cold you can relax in the municipal hot springs or in the Weisbaden Vapor Caves (although my wife described the rooms as “kitschy”, so you might want to investigate alternate lodging). If you are more adventurous, Orvis Hot Springs is well known for being a little more liberal in their community guidelines (read, booze and nudity are allowed).
A lot of folks think that Colorado is a Winter only destination, but the outdoor activities available in the summer will keep you wishing for a long Spring and a mild Fall. The Alpine Loop network of trails that is accessible from Ouray are breathtakingly gorgeous, and offer some fun overlanding opportunities if you are into four wheel drive adventures. The hiking will have you in touch with your inner Jeremiah Johnson. Last, but not least, if you like riding mountain bikes, you won’t ever want to leave the western slope, or at least not until you push it too far and actually try to Die Living on a big downhill.
If you’re in the mood for finely crafted local beer and a good meal, head to the Ouray Brewing Company. For years, the restaurant market was dominated by The Outlaw Restaurant (which still has a fine prime rib and steak offering), but the market has expanded to a more vibrant market at the brewery. If you don’t care about food, or service, get the best beer I’ve ever tasted served with a frown at Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewery. I kid you not, I asked for a sample from the owner/head brewer/bartender and he gave me a baby bottle and a grimace. It’s a riot there, and you are served from a hanging sliding seat so that the bartender doesn’t have to stand up or walk around behind the bar.
Ouray is the perfect incarnation of the Colorado you dream of, not the one the front range has tried to create. Don't miss out on the beautiful scenery, exciting adventures, and relaxing opportunities that are available in this old mining town. Winter or Summer, our is the kind of place where you can #DieLiving.
Come join Aron, Brooke, and Brian of the SOFLETE crew as we geek out about kitchen equipment. Brooke explains the stuff she thinks is the most important to have while Brian and Aron reveal just how nerdy they are about cooking.