If you are looking for information on how you can fix your rounded shoulders with the help of a posture brace, then this quick read will be very helpful to you.
Before I get into how to use a posture brace, I will briefly cover the different posture braces and their designs and whether wearing a brace really is a good solution for correcting rounded shoulders.
If you are currently looking into buying a brace or another product to help you improve your rounded shoulders you should check out my buyers guide on posture correctors.
A posture corrector is the “umbrella term” for different products that can help correct posture. A posture brace is one of those products.
What Is A Posture Brace?
A posture brace is simply a piece of equipment you can wear to improve your posture.
They come in different sizes and designs. The most popular is probably the smaller one that just goes around your shoulders.
Another name for these is clavicle braces and they provide support for your shoulders, neck, and upper back.
A bigger and bulkier posture brace is on that more or less resembles a vest. You can call these posture back braces or vest-type posture braces.
This kind of braces offers support for shoulders, neck and the whole back and lumbar area.
What Is Good Posture Anyway?
The basic answer is that having good posture ensures proper body alignment. It means that the weight of your body is being distributed equally or in the best way, creating the least amount of wear and tear.
Of course, it also ensures that your muscles, joints, and bones work optimally and that your performance can be at its best.
But having good posture actually has benefits on a much more deeper level. If you are interested you can check out something I wrote on how good posture affects self-confidence on warriormindcoach.com.
You can also read more about what good posture means on the website for the American Chiropractic Association.
Does Wearing A Posture Brace Really Work?
One important thing to understand is that your current posture is something you have developed over a long time.
You didn’t get your rounded shoulders overnight. Similarly, you will not fix your rounded shoulders overnight.
Put simply, correcting your rounded shoulders with a brace will take time. Actually, no matter how you do it, it will take time.
Wearing a posture brace will essentially force your muscles and joints around the upper body or “shoulder area” into a position that encourages good posture.
You could say that wearing a posture mechanically pulls your shoulders back.
This has the potential to be both good and bad.
The good thing is that you can become familiar with maintaining a good posture, which can be very useful for developing good postural habits and will give you an idea of which muscles need to be strengthened.
The bad thing is that it is the brace that is doing “most of the work” stabilizing your posture and not your muscles.
It is hard to say how much work the brace is doing, and I have read a lot of conflicting information about this topic.
My guess is that it really depends on the type of brace, how it fits on your body and how long you wear it.
But the issue here is in order to reverse the effects your bad posture has had on your body and thereby correcting your rounded shoulders, you need a combination of stretching tight muscles and strengthening underdeveloped muscles.
If the brace is doing a lot of stabilizing work, your muscles are not necessarily becoming stronger. They could even become weaker.
This does not mean that a posture brace is not a good idea. There are many good reasons to wear one. But it does mean that you need to be mindful when using it and pay attention to how it is affecting your body.
Many people have used posture braces and seen great results. If you don’t wear them for too long at a time and combine it with doing various exercises, I am confident they provide a much larger advantage than any disadvantage.
However, you should know that there are products you can buy as an alternative to posture braces that do not have this issue. Posture shirts are a popular alternative but these products come at a higher price.
Correcting Your Posture With A Brace
How To Wear It
To have success with using a posture brace, you first of all have to wear it (obviously).
You need to follow the instructions on the specific product on how to wear and adjust it properly.
Since you have rounded shoulders I would guess that your shoulder flexibility is not too good either, so it can be helpful to have someone help you put on the posture brace and also to take it off.
At least for the first few times.
So what you more or less need to do is:
- Open or loosen up the posture brace
- Stand upright with a good posture. It can be useful to have someone critiqued your posture.
- While standing in that posture, put on the posture brace and adjust the straps or whatever is making the brace fit tighter.
I would assume it feels more comfortable to wear the brace on top of a t-shirt. This is also recommended by most companies that sell posture brace.
The brace needs to be a tight fit. But it should not feel too uncomfortable.
How Long To Wear It
A posture brace should not be worn for too long at a time.
It is hard to give you an exact number, but if you are using a brace for many hours every day, you might want to consider if it is hurting you more than helping.
Most companies will recommend that you only wear the brace for 30-60 minutes per day at least in the beginning.
As you get more used to wearing the brace it is probably fine to increase the duration.
From what I can understand, after wearing the brace for roughly 1-2 weeks you should start seeing improvements.
Answering the more interesting question of how long before you have fix your rounded shoulders is hard.
The best way to put it is that it depends on how bad your posture is and probably also how long you spend every day sitting down focusing on things in front of you.
How long it takes is simply going to vary from person to person. But it all starts with the decision and commitment to fixing your rounded shoulders.
You can read more about that kind of time frame to expect here.
Be consistent with wearing the brace and focus on increasing your awareness of how to maintain good posture in your daily activities.
After all, the idea is that your posture will slowly improve and not that it is only when you are wearing the brace that your posture is good.
The end goal is that you at some point don’t need the brace anymore.
The Complete Solution
It has been hinted to above, but I want to make it crystal clear.
To ensure significant improvements wearing a posture is simply not going to be enough.
There are a number of things that are important, I like to group them together in these three areas:
- Improve the ergonomics of your surroundings. The setup at your desk, the seat in your car and mattress and pillow are all good examples.
- Improve “postural awareness” – become familiar with what good posture looks and feels like. A posture correctors can be very helpful for this
- Stretch short and tight muscles and strengthen long and weak muscles. Essentially you are reversing the effects bad posture has had on your body. The muscles you need to work on vary depending on your posture, but here are a number of exercises to fix the common issues like rounded shoulders and forward head posture.
Correcting your rounded shoulders is not an easy task. You can think about it like changing any other habit.
It is especially hard the beginning until you have replaced your old postural habits with new and better ones.
Luckily, at that time you don’t have to think about it anymore.