Upper SAPS syndrome and Kyphosis – how to fix it in a nutshell

Upper SAPS syndrome and Kyphosis – how to fix it in a nutshell

A growing issue ADF candidates are facing when going through the medical screening process is upper SAPS syndrome and Kyphosis. What is it and how do you fix it? Read on . .

SAPS – Sympathetically Acquired Primal Structure.

Kyphosis generally occurs in two forms; structural or functional. The first being an abnormality at birth and can be permanent while the second is built into the body through compensation and shitty movement over time – SAPS.

It is usually paired with certain physical adaptations that need tissue work and stretching to undo;

  • Internal rotation of the shoulder – usually seen by the thumbs pointing inward to the body when standing relaxed.
  • Lumbar lordosis- sway back, or excessive curvature in the lower back.
  • Tight hip flexors and quads.
  • Tight arm flexors – biceps and brachiallis are overly tight and create a constant bend at the elbow.
  • Enlarged and tender upper traps.
  • Tight and locked up shoulder capsule – creating a reduced range of movement in the shoulder.

As a result of these issues their are weakness to be corrected also:

  • Weak elbow extensors – triceps need to be made stronger and larger.
  • Rotator cuff (all 4 muscles) need to be built up and made powerful to create structural balance in the shoulder.
  • Mid and low trap need activation and then strengthening to help reduce the use of the upper trap which is not always as strong.
  • Scapula needs to be exposed to complexity (lots of movement and under load to build a better use of mechanics).
  • Serratus muscles need to be developed for better pushing.
  • Glutes need to be activated so hip external rotators will relax and stop compensating for the hip.

Stretches that should be focused on:

  • Deep psoas and hip flexor stretches.
  • Quad stretches.
  • Pec and bicep stretches.
  • Glute and external hip rotation stretches – pigeon is great.
  • Internal rotation of the hip capsule.
  • Calves should be stretched daily.

Tissue work should be perfumed at the start of the session and at least once per week. Strengthening exercises can be performed at the end of a session to sure up and significant weaknesses – we call these ACCESSORY exercises for a reason.

Finally deep passive or loaded and ROM testing stretches should be done daily in some format wherever you can fit them. Give them the attention and focus on those weak areas for serious strength development.

Want to know more before diving in?