How to Correct Rounded Shoulders to Achieve Correct Shoulder Posture
So you’re here because you believe you might have forward or rounded shoulders, read further on down this page and you’ll learn some of the best methods to achieve correct shoulder posture.
Much like any of your joints your shoulders are just as important to look after, if not more so.
Correct shoulder posture is especially important because, when compared to other joints, your shoulder is capable of a lot more movement, they can abduct and adduct, our arms can be lifted in front of us, to the rear, the side and we can even rotate them a full 360 degrees.
While this might seem like a great thing in the first instance, it actually means our shoulders are a lot more unstable when compared to other joints, putting them at more risk of injury, dislocation is even possible.
What You’ll Learn – Quick Links
- Why is correct shoulder posture important?
- What is rounded shoulders?
- How to test for it.
- How to fix it.
- Other ways to help.
You see, it’s bad posture habits and imbalanced workouts that causes us to develop rounded shoulders, the most common problem associated with your shoulder posture.
Sitting on the computer too long or working out your chest while neglecting your upper back, both can cause your pectoral muscles (chest muscles) to become tight and shortened, which pulls your shoulder, collar bone and your upper arm inwards causing rounded shoulders.
Why is Having Correct Shoulder Posture Important?
Having correct shoulder posture allows us to maintain the full flexibility and movement potential that our shoulders have, while avoiding the pain, aches and cramps that comes along with it.
It’s not just shoulder pain and rounded shoulders you’ll have to worry about either as poor shoulder posture is often accompanied with pain in the neck and upper back too.
By maintaining our shoulder health, this lowers the risk of injury and associated pains to other parts of your body that go with it.
Everyday each of us goes about our daily lives without really paying too much attention to what is going on inside us.
When it comes to our shoulders it’s really easy to neglect them.
In this day and age, whether for work or pleasure, people are spending more time on their computers than ever, sitting with their spines curved, shoulders forward and head leaned in to get a good look at what they’re doing, while not realizing what they’re doing to their bodies.
What is Rounded Shoulders?
Rounded shoulders is when your shoulder girdle is further forward than it should be.
If you suffer with poor shoulder posture, like having rounded shoulders, you may experience a decreased range of movement in that region, it also affects upper back mobility too.
You may even struggle to perform some everyday tasks, such as reaching out for an object that’s high up for example.
Where pushing and pulling things seemed easy before, if you have rounded shoulders then more effort is required on your part as your shoulders take a lot more pressure than normal.
How to Test for Rounded Shoulders
This isn’t a hard test to perform and doesn’t require any special equipment besides a wall and I’m safely assuming you have one of those! Here’s how:
Stand with your feet around 6 inches apart and about 6 inches away from a nearby wall, facing away from the wall.
Rest your butt against the wall followed by resting your head against the wall too.
Now, while maintaining these 2 points of contact we’re going to check if we have a third point of contact at our shoulder blades and upper back, if you don’t, then you have forward/rounded shoulders.
If you do have the third point of contact but still think you have rounded shoulders, then you can check by standing with your arms relaxed naturally to your side, look to see if your palms are facing your thigh with your thumbs pointing forwards.
How to fix rounded shoulders the easy way
Achieving correct shoulder posture doesn’t have to be hard but you may think that it’s “difficult” simply because it can take some time, it all depends on how bad your rounded shoulders are.
Now, people tend not to stick to things that take up too much time or things they think they’ll find too difficult, so I only want to show you some of the easiest exercises to improve your rounded shoulders.
None of these exercises will take up a whole bunch of your time!
Time to Fix Your Shoulder’s Flexibility
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The one thing you really need to be aware of is that there is no quick rounded shoulder fix and nor should you be fooled into thinking that there is, it takes time to achieve correct shoulder posture but as long as you’re committed then you’ll definitely succeed.
Here are some exercises for rounded shoulders
Exercise 1 – Wall Angels
Stand against a wall with your butt, back, shoulders and head all touching the wall with your feet around four to five inches away from the wall, knees slightly bent. At this point tuck your chin in a bit too.
Bring your arms to the wall so your arms are at a 90° angle and elbows level with your upper chest, imagine being told to “freeze with your arms up!”.
While maintaining points of contact with your wrists and elbows to the wall, slowly raise your arms straight up above your head. Really try to keep your wrists and elbows touching or as close to the wall as you can.
Lower your arms back down to where they started and repeat this exercise 10-15 times, twice a day.
This exercise helps strengthen your back and shoulder muscles, this helps to stabilize your shoulders giving you correct shoulder posture. Wall Angels also help to loosen tight chest muscles, just one of the symptoms of rounded shoulders.
Exercise 2 – The Hitchhiker
Lay down on your floor or mat, flat on your front relaxing the head, then bring your arms straight out to your side.
Now turn your arms so that your thumbs are pointing up towards the ceiling. Holding this position pull your shoulders together.
With your shoulder blades pulled together raise your arms up towards the ceiling. Stop when your can’t lift your arms any more and don’t force them to go higher.
Hold this position, only for a few seconds, before lowering them back down to starting position.
Repeatedly perform this exercise for around 2 minutes or until you cannot do any more. Do 2 or 3 sets if you can, once the exercise becomes easy you can add light weights to the routine.
Performing this exercise will help strengthen the muscles that control your shoulders as well as the tendons that attach your shoulder to your upper arm, this will help realign your rounded shoulders back into the correct shoulder posture position.
Exercise 3 – Chest Expansion
Stand up straight while maintaining correct posture alignment, and interlace your fingers behind your back (your knuckles should be pointing down to the floor).
Expand your chest upwards and out, it helps to take a deep breath, while also pulling your shoulders down and arms pushed backwards, away from you.
When you feel the stretch, in your chest and shoulders, hold this position for 15 – 20 seconds before returning your arms back to your side.
Repeat this exercise 10 times each set, 3 or 4 times a day if you can.
This simple exercise is great in that it helps to stretch out more than one set of muscles. In this case you are stretching out your chest and your shoulders at the same time, this will help your shoulders gradually move back into their correct position and once again giving you correct shoulder posture.
Here are some other less obvious ways to help achieve correct shoulder posture
– Try this while you sleep
This little trick is so simple you can do it while you sleep. Especially good for those who sleep on their backs, take a towel and roll it up, it doesn’t need to be too thick so you may have excess towel and that’s fine.
While sleeping on your back lay with the rolled up towel going down your spine, this will help your shoulders relax while gravity will do it’s job and pull them down toward your mattress.
This is a great method to help achieve correct shoulder posture without actually doing a whole lot besides sleep!
– Correct sitting position at your desk
Believe it or not, it does matter how you sit at work. When sitting, you should have a 90° angle between your upper and lower leg, while your elbows should have no less than a 90° angle in them too.
You should really keep your back straight as well, so use the back rest of your chair if you have one. Finally, your computer’s monitor should be directly in front of you, this reduces the likelihood of you hunching forwards, which leads to not only rounded shoulders but forward head posture and hunch back will also become a very real issue.
By now you should have armed yourself with enough information to help you fix your rounded shoulders and finally get yourself back to having correct shoulder posture, ridding the aches and the pain that comes along with it.
Be sure to bookmark this page so you can get back to it easily, information at the push of a button!
If you want to take it a step further then I highly recommend checking out Eric Wong’s Shoulder Flexibility Solution, it’s jam packed full of routines so well worth checking out.
Have you tried these and other exercises, if so how did you find them? Let me know in the comments below.