Are your shoulders rounding inwards in a less attractive-looking way?
Perhaps your neck is often sore and your shoulders tired?
Do you hear strange popping, clicking or grinding sounds when you move your arm overhead?
Or maybe you have noticed your arms appear smaller because your inwards rotated shoulder also rotate the arms?
If you are reading this and at least in some part can agree, then you probably suffer from one very common posture issue often called rounded shoulders.
But fear not!
Rounded shoulders can be corrected and prevented without leaving the comfort of your own home. By maintaining healthy postural habits when performing the 7 daily activities that most contribute to rounded shoulders, as well as doing the stretches and exercises outlined below, you can rehabilitate your posture and achieve the ideal body alignment!
What Are Rounded Shoulders?
Rounded shoulders, also known as “mom posture” is when the alignment of your body results in the shoulders rotating awkwardly forwards and inwards.
It is also known as ‘mom posture’ because of the muscular strain women experience when they carry their babies in-utero and then perform baby care (feeding/nursing, changing and picking up after them) which usually involves an arched back position.
However, don’t get too comfortable if you are not a mother!
Rounded shoulders are also found in office workers who spend all day hunched over their desks, as well as those who have suffered injuries or who have had weaknesses since childhood.
After suffering an injury to both my shoulders, my shoulder posture became really bad and effectively inhibiting me in doing any heavy pressing movements.
Typically, rounded shoulders come with other posture issues such as forward head posture and an anterior pelvic tilt (I have both although it is now much better than before).
There is a popular workout program that solves anterior pelvic tilt if interested you can check out my review here.
The combination of bad posture I mentioned above is also called upper-crossed syndrome and it causes a lot of issues for your body which you can read more about here.
Below, I will discuss whether rounded shoulders are something you can fix and how to begin that process.
What Causes Rounded Shoulders?
Basically, you can develop rounded shoulders by doing any activity that requires you to look down and forward for a long period of time.
The following 7 everyday activities are known to most contribute to the development of rounded shoulders if you are not mindful of healthy postural habits when you carry them out:
– Using a PC or laptop
– Using a tablet or smartphone
– Repeatedly carrying heavy objects
– Sleeping on your side or tummy
– Sitting for a long duration
– Frequently bending down
Doing these activities without taking your posture into account can cause stress and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back while unknowingly training your body into a rounded shoulders position.
And that is what you want to avoid!
How Do I Know If I Have Rounded Shoulders?
There are two tests you can conduct to determine if you have rounded shoulders
1) The Standing Test
Stand up with your arms in a relaxed position by your sides. Look down at your hands. Which way are your palms facing?
If your palms are facing behind you, then you may suffer from rounded shoulders. The ideal alignment would be to have your palms facing inwards at your sides.
2) The Lying Down Test
Lie down with your back against the floor. Do the backs of your shoulders naturally touch the ground?
Don’t attempt to arch your lower back to achieve contact with the floor as this test is for determining your natural alignment. If your shoulders appear to “float” forwards above the floor, you may suffer from rounded shoulders.
If you want to know more about determining whether you have rounded shoulders, then I have a specific article dedicated to this.
How To Correct And Prevent Rounded Shoulders
Thankfully, the answer to your burning question: “can rounded shoulders be corrected” is yes!
Best of all, you can do it in the comfort of your own home by regularly doing the following series of stretches and exercises.
First, it’s advised you begin with gentle stretching before moving on to building strength with the exercises.
1) The Goalpost Stretch
You can do this stretch either seated or standing. You will need a yoga strap, jump rope or belt.
Hold the strap with both hands a little further than shoulder width apart. Straighten your arms at shoulder height. Next, on an inhale, lift the strap up and over your head.
Try to create a goalpost shape with your arms and position the strap behind your head. Exhale and bring your arms down to the shoulder height position. Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
2) Wall Angels Stretch
Stand with your back against the wall. Put your arms out to your sides. Bend your elbows so that the back of your hands are touching the wall directly above your elbows.
While maintaining contact between your elbows, hands and the wall, raise your arms above your head and then lower them. Repeat this 10 times, making sure to keep contact with the wall.
3) Back-bound Hand Stretch
This stretch can also be done either seated or standing. Draw your shoulder blades together behind you and lift your chest to the ceiling.
With your arms behind your back, grab your left elbow with your right hand and your right elbow with your left hand.
If this is too difficult, grab your wrists or forearms. In this position, take 3 to 5 deep breaths. Repeat with the opposite arm on top (grab your right elbow with your left hand first).
1) Standing Shoulder Shrugs
Stand with your feet about 6 inches apart, pointing straight ahead. Next squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you.
In this position slowly shrug up your shoulders towards your ears and then lower them down. Do 3 sets, each consisting of 10 repetitions.
2) Static Back Reverse Presses
You will need a small (roughly 18 inch) chair, wide stool or ottoman.
Lie flat on your back and lift your legs onto your small chair. Make sure your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Put your arms out to your sides as if you will do a bench press (make sure your elbows and shoulders are aligned).
Make fists with your hands and in this position, squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you. Do 3 sets, each consisting of 10 repetitions.
3) Standing Shoulder Rolls
Stand with your feet about 6 inches apart, pointing straight ahead. Slowly roll your shoulders forward as if you are tracing circles with the center of your shoulders.
Repeat but this time, roll your shoulders backward. Do 3 sets consisting of 10 repetitions per direction and alternate directions with every set.
Give these exercises a try and your shoulders will surely thank you for it!
There are a few other things that you can to complement these posture rehabilitation exercises. I can recommend you take a look at these interesting shirts that are great for both rehabilitating the injury and improving posture.