How to fix rounded shoulders

Rounded shoulders are a common problem nowadays that affect a lot of people. In fact, if you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you have rounded shoulders.

Today we´ll learn how to fix rounded shoulders through stretching and exercise. It’ll take time to fix your shoulders, don´t expect to correct them just in a couple of sessions.

What causes rounded shoulders?

Rounded shoulders are typically caused by: 
  1. Poor posture habits like looking at computers at work or at school, or looking down at smartphones and computer tablets. Any activity that causes the body to look down and forward for long periods of time can contribute to slumped shoulders. Over time this postural adaptation causes the muscles and fascia to get shorter in the front of the chest. This continuous bad posture results in muscular imbalances between the muscles that pull the shoulders forward and the muscles that pull the shoulders backward. When we slouch, the shoulders roll forward and the neck follows suit, craning ahead of our bodies. This shortens the muscles of the chest and weakens the scapular (upper back) muscles, setting the stage for a hunchback appearance.
  2. Sleep posture can leave you achy if you’re not properly positioned. If you’re a side sleeper, use a pillow that keeps your spine aligned by supporting your head so that your neck isn’t held at an awkward angle. Also, when you lie on your side, your top knee drops, pulling down on your back, so place a pillow between your knees to stay aligned.
  3. Focusing too much on certain exercises: the most popular exercise in the weight room is the bench press. Those whose workouts focus on the bench press at the expense of other muscle groups are susceptible to having rounded shoulders due to the overdevelopment of the pectorals and the anterior (front) deltoids, muscle groups that when they contract can pull the shoulders forward. while neglecting the upper back.
Besides presenting an unhealthy appearance, there are many serious medical conditions that can result from having rounded shoulders. In the short-term, round shoulders cause chronic tension on the infraspinatus and teres minor, making these muscles more susceptible to injury. Another characteristic of round shoulders is decreased mobility in the shoulders, increasing the risk of shoulder impingement and even dislocations. In the long-term misalignment of the cervical spine increases the risk of osteoporosis and disk degeneration (cervical osteoarthritis).
Stretch the muscles that are tight and to strengthen those that are weak will help correct rounded shoulders.

Test to determine if you have Rounded shoulders

  1. Stand up in normal posture in front of a mirror.
  2. Keep your arms relaxed by your side.

If your  palms are facing backward  it may indicate that you have a tight chest and a weak upper back.

how to fix rounded shoulders

If this is the case, and you  have rounded shoulders, then you need to stretch tight muscles:

  • Pec major/minor
  • Subclavius
  • Subscapularis
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Teres major
  • Upper trapezius
  • Serratus anterior
and you need to strengthen weak muscles because they are not pulling the shoulder back into a neutral position:
 
  • Mid/lower trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Posterior deltoid
  • Rotator cuff

Let´s fix your rounded shoulders:

Now that you know the formula for how to fix rounded shoulders, remember that it can take time to correct them. Just as rounding them didn’t happen overnight, it will likely take some time to correct them.

Any questions? Leave me a comment down below.

15 thoughts on “How to fix rounded shoulders”

  1. Thanks for this post, Chape! I definitely have rounded shoulders (though not as bad as I once did), so this info is going to help me. I already tried most of the stretches you covered in this post, and I found that I was very tight when I performed the upper limb fascial nerve stretch; looks like I’ll have to do that stretch repeatedly to loosen up.

    1. That stretch is hard because it targets the fascia. Good news is we can do it every day and it gets easier 😅 Also, don’t forget to strengthen the weak muscles. The exercises are easy and help a lot 💪

      1. I won’t forget about the exercises! I was just following along with the stretches as I was reading your post. I’ll have to keep doing the fascia stretch too, because it hurts so good!

    1. Muchas gracias, Estrella 😊 Anímate que los ejercicios son fáciles y divertidos. Seguro que ni siquiera sudas 💪 Un abrazo!!

    1. I strongly recommend this routine :) I bet you write and work for long periods every day, and I´m sure this will help you correct your posture. Let me know how it works for you ;)

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Lower Back

The Erector Spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the larger, flat, dorsolateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

Deltoids

The Deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is divided into three portions, anterior, lateral and posterior, with the fibers having different roles due to their orientation.

Infraspinatus

The Infraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles crossing the shoulder joint and is commonly injured. It is the main external rotator of the shoulder joint.

Biceps

The Biceps brachii is  actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Triceps

The Triceps Brachii muscles  have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head. Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

Forearm
(Anterior muscles)

The Pronator teres pronates the forearm, turning the hand posteriorly. If the elbow is flexed to a right angle, then pronator teres will turn the hand so that the palm faces inferiorly. It is assisted in this action by pronator quadratus.

Forearm
(Posterior muscles)

The Extensor Digitorum muscle helps in the movements of the wrists and the elbows. It extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow. It acts principally on the proximal phalanges. It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

Pecs

The pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle, situated at the upper part of the chest, beneath the pectoralis major. 

Abs

The Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape! It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen. There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.

Obliques

The External Oblique is situated on the lateral and anterior parts of the abdomen. It is broad, thin, and irregularly quadrilateral. It is the largest and the most superficial (outermost) of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen. 

Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

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Quadriceps

The Quadriceps Femoris is the knee extensor muscle.  As a group, the quadriceps femoris is crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. It´s subdivided into four separate “heads”.

Hamstrings

A hamstring is any one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee (from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris). The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

Lower Leg

The gastrocnemius and the soleus form what we know as calf. They are involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping… 

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Trapezius

The trapezius is a broad, flat and triangular muscle. The muscles on each side form a trapezoid shape. It is the most superficial of all the back muscles.

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