The Workout to Fix Your Rounded Shoulders

Fix your rounded shoulders through stretching and exercise!

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.

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).

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.

Based on the analysis of multiple papers, two primary things contribute to your slumping shoulders. First, overactive muscles that have become tight and are pulling the shoulders into the forward position. The main culprits for this are often the pecs and the upper traps, in combination with a general lack of thoracic mobility. Second, underactive muscles that have become weak and are failing to pull the shoulders back. The main culprits for this are typically the traps (mid and lower) and the serratus anterior. And research shows that these underactive muscles became weak over time partly due to the overactive muscles preventing us from being able to turn on these underactive muscles in the first place. Therefore, when it comes to how to fix rounded shoulders, we’ll be making use of a two-part routine: stretching of the overactive muscles, then the strengthening of underactive muscles.

For the first part of the routine, we’ll concentrate on stretching out your overactive muscles.

The second part of the posture fix routine is critical: case studies analyzing rounded shoulder posture have found that this provides significantly better corrective results than the stretching we previously did. But with all these exercises, you must make each rep count. You’ll need to perform each rep slowly, with control, and proper form; only then will you be able to engage the right muscles that you intend to.

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

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Fix your rounded shoulders through stretching and exercise!

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