Rounded shoulders

How to Fix Rounded Shoulders

By Annette Verpillot, CEO of Posturepro

If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you have rounded shoulders.

And if you’ve had rounded shoulders for a long time, chances are you want to find a quick, permanent way to resolve the problem.

Let’s take a closer look.

Rounded shoulders are an unnatural posture characterized by an exaggerated curvature of the upper back, often a forward positioning of the head where the shoulder girdle is protracted, and a thoracic kyphosis.

Over time this postural adaptation causes the muscles and fascia to get shorter in the front of the chest. These include the pectoralis major and minor.

The common belief is that rounded shoulders are caused by looking at computers at work or at school, or looking down at smart phones and computer tablets. This could not be further from the truth.

One of the biggest problems with “rounded shoulders” is the lack of understanding of how they come about and develop in the first place.

Round shoulders occur for a variety of reasons and are part of a bigger problem…

…and that is bad posture.

Exercise by itself may not be the solution to resolving this condition, and some exercises may actually make it worse.

Unquestionably, the most popular exercise in the weight room is the benchpress.

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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.

Among the athletes who most commonly possess rounded shoulders are swimmers. Swimmers often have exceptional development of the upper back muscle called the latissimus dorsi, which internally rotates the upper arm bones. But swimmers lack development in the muscles that externally rotate the upper arm. Boxers and wrestlers, whose sport requires them to position themselves in a hunched over position, also frequently display rounded shoulders.

post urology, rounded shoulders, sad shoulders

Serious Medical Concerns

Besides presenting an unhealthy appearance, there are many serious medical conditions that can result from having rounded shoulders. According to a paper published in 2006 in Spine Journal, the long-term misalignment of the cervical spine increases the risk of osteoporosis and disk degeneration (cervical osteoarthritis). 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.

Round shoulders may also cause chronic tension in the neck. Consider, for example, that for every inch the head moves forward from optimal posture, the stress on cervical extensor muscles increases by 10 pounds. Click To Tweet

Thus, a forward head posture of two inches creates 20 pounds of additional weight that these muscles must deal with. In addition to chronic tension, such stress may increase the likelihood of headaches. A neck massage can help relieve some of this tension, but this is only a short-term solution and does not address the root cause of the problem.

post urology, rounded shoulders

Staying injury-free is essential for athletes to reach peak performance, but rounded shoulders is an unnatural posture that can also affect optimal biomechanics in athletic movements.

There are two ways to address this problem, the first, is to stretch the muscles that are tight and to strengthen those that are weak.

Here are 3 effective exercises to prevent rounded shoulders:

#1- Trap 3 Raise

-Retract and depress your shoulder blades, while keeping your arms straight and extended in front of you.

-Raise your arms in front of you.

-10 to 20 reps – 3 to 4 sets.

#2- Lateral Raise Bent-over Neutral Grip

-Bent-over with your head supported on an incline bench.

-Raise your hands laterally.

-10 to 20 reps – 3 to 4 sets.

#3- External Rotator Cuff

– Make sure your arm is at 90˚and parallel to the floor. As you get stronger, use more resistance.

-Keep your elbow as still as possible not to engage assisting muscles.

-10 to 20 reps – 3 to 4 sets.

If you would like a more permanent solution, the second option would be to consider addressing the problem from the bottom up, by looking at what is going on with the feet.

If an individual has arches that are collapsed inward, which is known as a valgus foot, this could cause the leg bones to rotate inwards in such a manner as to create increased curves in the lower back and upper back and promoting rounded shoulders.

Here is an exercise that can help correct a flat foot:

Flat foot correction

1- Lie down on the floor with both legs spread wider than hip width.

2- Proceed with a rotation of the hip and legs towards the midline and back out again (like windshield wipers).

3- The movement should be initiated by the hips and not the feet.

Perform this exercise one minute per day for 30 days. What makes this exercise unique is the notion of rhythm. Indeed, the movement stimulates the cerebellum and its pathways to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex being responsible for voluntary and involuntary movement.

If you have round shoulders, you can also give yourself a head start in resolving the problem by seeking out the help of a Posturologist. They work on changing the brain-body connection which leads to faster results. For those with extreme alignment problems, Posturology is the fastest and most effective way of squaring round shoulders.

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