What are you doing right now? Sitting? Standing? Looking down at a phone? Reading from a laptop? Then it is highly likely you have rounded shoulders. Much of our day-to-day lives today occurs in a hunched position which can ultimately lead to rounded shoulders.
So, what are rounded shoulders?
Rounded shoulders occur when your resting shoulder position is in front of the midline of the torso. If you are working at a laptop spending extended periods of time hunched (as most of us do), the hunched position that is adopted disrupts the balance of the muscular activity in your shoulders. This imbalance essentially causes much more pressure on the whole back. This pressure can result in a multitude of problems from poor posture, back pain, headaches, circulation issues and so forth.
Here is a test to determine if you have rounded shoulders…
- Stand up with your natural posture.
- Look down and check which was your hands are facing.
Are they facing backwards?
If YES, then it is most likely you have rounded shoulders.
But don’t worry!
Here is 5 exercise to help retrain your rounded shoulders and prevent further damage:
1.Lateral neck flexion stretch
This exercise aids with posture.
- Stand or sit in a comfortable position. Keep your head straight.
- Without force, pull your left ear towards your left shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the right side of your neck.
- Place your left hand on your head. Don’t push your head down with it, it should just lie there. This will stretch your upper trapezius muscles very gently.
- Hold for 10-30 seconds. Breath.
- Repeat on the other side.
Try doing this as a WFH break throughout the day – it’s the perfect way to check in with your body!.
2. Doorway stretch
This exercise stretches out the chest and the abs alleviating pressure.
- Find a doorway.
- Position your elbows and hands inline with the doorframe – place your forearms on the doorframe.
- Step through the doorway slowly until you feel a stretch.
- Hold it here and breath.
- Repeat 3 times.
3. Band pull aparts
This exercise opens up the shoulders and chest. This strengthens the muscles in your upper back and rear shoulders.
For this exercise you will need a resistance band. The level of resistance is dependent on your strength level
- Stand tall. Feet shoulder width apart. Knees slightly bent.
- Hold the band out in front of you with your arms straight. Use an overhand grip.
- Pull your hands apart slowly and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep your elbows locked.
- Ensure there is no pain in the arms or neck. Feel a stretch.
- As you do this – imagine a small ball is between your shoulder blades.
- Then release the band to the starting position.
4. Stretch Chest Muscles
This exercise stretches out your pectoral muscles.
- Place your right palm on a wall.
- Lean your right shoulder forward – going towards the wall.
- Feel the stretch in your chest.
- Lean forward into your right knee.
- To deepen the stretch further – turn your head to the left, away from the wall.
- Switch sides.
5. Windmill stretch
This exercise alleviates tension in the lower back and stretches out the shoulders.
- Lie on your side.
- Bend your knees and hips and 90 degrees to the right.
- Stack the arms together on the right side.
- Raise the left arm and place it out to the left – this will open up the body.
- Try and keep your shoulder blades on the floor.
- Keep the legs on the right side.
- Repeat on the alternate side.
These exercises are super helpful; but it’s important to make a consistent, active effort to improve your posture throughout the day. Take regular breaks, ensure you are as active as possible and relax when you can.
A BONUS TIP:
PostureKey is the perfect device for combatting rounded shoulders. Simply lying on PostureKey allows your body the time to realign and relax. This not only improves posture but can help reduce the risk of rounded shoulders.
A mixture of the exercises suggested and PostureKey offer the perfect toolkit to aid with rounded shoulders.
If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort while doing these exercises, stop what you’re doing, and ask your practitioner to demonstrate these moves with the correct form.