Don’t let poor posture stem from the shoulders and work to fix those rounded shoulders for a relaxed yet confident look.
Poor posture unfortunately strikes many of us. While we may be active, go for walks, exercise regularly, and even perform some postural improvement exercises, sometimes we just can’t seem to fix those rounded shoulders. While poor posture is a result of a lot of things, it is important to know that nothing is your fault. Being negligent about posture and your physical health can be something to really avoid, but many of our daily activities do require us to have poor posture. As a result, it is our jobs to correct that.
Rounded shoulders can occur for a number of reasons. The biggest is our seated posture. As human beings, we aren’t meant to sit. We are meant to roam free, go for walks, and stand in an erect and neutral position. But our busy schedules of work and being stuck at a computer can really hurt our posture and lead us down a road of postural despair. However, fear not, for there are some great exercises to really enhance posture so you see the benefits come to life.
Let’s look into posture, why it matters, some causes of poor posture, and some of the best exercises to fix it. It matters and you won’t be disappointed knowing you are helping yourself.
Why Good Posture Matters
The benefits of good posture may seem obvious but they are worth noting. For many, we take posture for granted and only down the line realize we have done our shoulders a great disservice. Knowing the benefits around good posture can help you when it comes to getting yourself to actually work on postural exercises.
- Reduce low back pain: Poor posture can lead to stress on your low back and put pressure on your spine causing pain in the joints, muscles, and ligaments (1).
- Increased energy: Proper bone and joint alignment can let your muscles roam free and be used for what they are meant for, reducing fatigue.
- Less neck and shoulder tension: Loosening up those muscles can work to properly align them taking stress and strain off your neck and back. This can reduce headaches as well (2).
- Better workout form: A more neutral and solid spine will allow you to have a stronger, more powerful form for your workouts.
- Promote confidence: Standing taller can give you more confidence and increase mood.
What Causes Poor Posture?
There are a number of reasons why your posture may be suffering. Too often do we find ourselves stuck to a desk, especially now with many jobs being done from home. But our abilities to go out and get air, stretch our spines and wake up our muscles, and really work on an upright posture are severely diminished during even the course of a normal day. While we may not consciously be doing this, poor posture creeps up on us, making us feel weak and unstable, which can start to limit our confidence. Some causes of poor posture include:
- Muscle tension and weakness: Constant tension can put unequal strain on our muscles relying on unneeded compensation (3).
- Slouching: Our bodies can morph or contour into this position over a period of time.
- Exercise or activity: Repeated exercise or activity that rounds our shoulders can lead to poor posture.
- Mental health and awareness: Stress and anxiety can cause our body to compromise posture.
- Genetics: Unfortunately, sometimes bad posture runs in the family.
Best Exercises To Fix Rounded Shoulders
Lateral Neck Flexion Stretch
This can stretch your traps and smaller shoulders muscles that may be contributing to that stuck feeling. Sit in a chair or stand tall with your shoulders in a neutral position. Pull your left ear towards your left shoulder and repeat for the other side. Repeat for desired number of reps.
Lying I, T & Y
This is great for smaller stabilizer muscles also, as well as any pain in the upper back. Lie prone on your stomach and keep your body straight. Move your arms out in a “Y” position off the ground and lower back down. Then raise them in a “T” position and lower back down. Finally raise them in an “I” position and lower back down. Repeat for desired number of reps.
This stretch will work to loosen up those tight shoulders, while also loosening tension in your abs and chest. Place your hands and elbows in a doorframe and slowly lean forward until you feel that stretch. Hold for around 1-20 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat for desired number of reps.
These can open up your chest and work to keep those shoulders apart. Stand with your back to a wall and bend your elbows at around 90 degrees so your hand are pointed towards your head. Slowly move your arms up towards your head and then back down all while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Repeat for desired number of reps.
Foam rolling can be a great way to break up tight muscles and really work to give you the benefits of a massage from the comfort of your own home. Lie on your foam roller and slowly work the spots that are tight or sore. Stop on a particularly tight spot, breathe in, and slowly roll back and forth.
Check out our list of the Best Foam Rollers here!
Bad posture and rounded shoulders can hurt our confidence and limit movement for a number of activities we love. Knowing how to take care of this issue is important for that desired growth you wish to seek, as well as simply your physical health. Take note of what may be causing your poor posture and work to alleviate it with these great exercises, really giving yourself a chance at performing well.
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*Images courtesy of Envato
- Bontrup, Carolin; Taylor, William R.; Fliesser, Michael; Visscher, Rosa; et al. (2019). “Low back pain and it relationship with sitting behaviour among sedentary office workers”. (source)
- Falla, Deborah; Jull, Gwendolen; Russell, Trevor; Vicenzino, Bill; Hodges, Paul (2007). “Effect of Neck Exercise on Sitting Posture in Patients With Chronic Neck Pain”. (source)
- Cardoso, Ricardo; Meneses, Rute F.; Lumini-Oliveira, Jose; Pestana, Pedro; Guimaraes, Bruno (2020). “Associations between Teachers’ Posture, Muscle Tension and Voice Complaints”. (source)