Do you suffer from rounded shoulder? Does it annoy you how it looks or are you starting to have aches and pains in your neck and shoulder because of it. Many of our Personal Training clients in Glasgow have been delighted to see the positive effect fixing rounded posture can have on their appearance. Try it now- stand in front of a mirror, round your shoulders up and back, then drop them down as you raise your chest up. Ideally this is how your shoulders should always be sitting. (Guys do you notice how your chest looks bigger and stronger and women can you see how your chest looks more pert?). Fixing rounded shoulders has also helped many of our clients relieve neck or shoulder pain
To fix rounded shoulders you need to take a two pronged attack; you must first stretch and release the tight muscles in the front of the chest and shoulders and then strengthen the weaker muscles in your upper back.
For releasing the tight muscles in the chest and front of the shoulders try pressing a tennis ball or trigger point ball into the shoulder capsule and into the pec minor (the muscle that runs from your chest bone diagonally towards the shoulder). The best way to do this is stand side onto a wall and place the ball against the wall and then put your weight against the ball. See picture below. Find a tight spot and stay on it until it drops in intensity.
Below are my three favourite exercises to stretch and open up the chest muscles:
1) Pec Stretch on Ball
When done correctly this stretch will really target the tight muscles in the chest. Make sure that you keep the stomach up the way you would in a plank and only lower the chest down towards the floor. This should feel quite and intense stretch.
2) Suspension Strap chest opener
Hold onto both straps and step out until you feel a stretch in your chest. From there step forward and allow the arms to stretch behind you. To increase stretch take a step further away from the anchor point
3) Foam Roller Thoracic Extension
When you have spent most of your day hunched over the desk at work (flexion) it is really nice to take your spine in the opposite direction (extension) and at the same time release some tension from the shoulder blades.
Work your way from the bottom of your shoulder blades to the top of your shoulders. Holding for 30-60 seconds on each vertebrae
Below are some strengthening exercises for the upper back and shoulders:
1) Modified Prone Cobra
Lying face down with your forehead on the ground, lift your elbows up nice and high; then raise your chest. Make sure you keep the head looking directly down throughout exercise and keep the elbows up. Stop exercise when you can no longer hold the elbows up
Advanced Prone Cobra Exercise (stop if you feel the muscles in the back of your arms working)
2) Single arm Rows
Keep elbow close by the side throughout the movement and concentrate on keeping the shoulder down. Wrist should stay fixed throughout movement to avoid compensating for muscle weaknesses in the upper back
3) Cable/band Rotator Cuff Exercise
Keep the load light for this exercise as the rotator cuff are a group of small muscles and tendons that stabilise the shoulder. The rotator cuff can be key in helping holding the shoulder sit in the correct position.
Follow these simple steps consistently and you should start to see a change in your posture.
For more information on our Fit after 40 Program watch our video below showing you the 5 simple Steps to Achieving Optimal Health and Fat Loss for Life