Fixing your rounded shoulders is something I’m willing to put money on that you have either thought about before or googled in hopes of finding an over-night secret to fixing 15+ years of damage. Unfortunately, there are a lot of places talking about what causes rounded shoulders along with a few stretches to try but I haven’t found one source that gives a way a FREE 6 Week Shoulder Fix Program! Don’t sweat it, if you’re reading this right now you will get your own printable copy, no questions asked later in this post. You need structure. You need a fool proof plan that requires the least amount of time to get the most results. I am here today to give you exactly that.
This article will focus specifically on correcting
-Anyone with dull lower back, muscle ache.
-Anyone with sporadic lower back pain (comes and goes).
-Anyone who does all the right things to fix their back (exercise wise) but still are dealing with some annoying pain.
-Anyone dealing with constant lower back pain from disc herniation’s or bulges.
If you match any of these situations you are going to want to soak this stuff up!
This post would be garbage if I didn’t first tell you what it is you’re trying to fix and why you got here in the first place. I am a firm believer in before anything else you have to get OFF this never ending pain cycle before you can start implementing some of the more advance, more specific corrective exercises to help with your back pain.
The results you’re looking for are not in a pill, shot, cupping session, acupuncture session or anything other then fixing/treating the root issue. In this case, we are dialing in on one of the most common issues 99.8% of Americans deal with. Some people who have this issue don’t experience any back pain. Good for them. Their time will come unfortunately. For you, the one who stays up late at night trying to find ways to cope with their pain, beating their head against their doctors desk wondering if these pills he keeps prescribing will ever give you what you desperately need.
This is a perfect example of why looking booth upstream and down dream when treating back pain is so important. Your rounded shoulders can be one of the biggest leading causes of your chronic back pain.
What Causes Rounded Shoulders?
Lets look at some real life situations where you’re literally jacking your shoulders up as we speak.
Sitting at a desk:
This is probably the number one cause of rounded shoulders. Whether you’re at work or at home, odds are you’re sitting back in your chair with your arms reached out, smashing away on the keyboard in what seems to be a pretty comfortable position.
Unfortunately, this comfortable position probably looks like this.
Slumped in your favorite chair or corner of the couch you sink deeper and deeper into this forced rounded position that you tend to take on after getting up out of the chair. I am a firm believer in firm couches or sitting on the corner sections of sectionals. Typically in the corner section of the couch is where the joint for combining the two sections is found. This will add stiffness to your base.
Sitting with no back support
This guy means well with his stability ball and straightened back for the sake of this picture but the placement of his computer is the anchor for his eyes and head. Eventually he will forget about these forces acting against him and begin to soften his hold on his shoulders and allow them to drift forward. Ultimately, his head and eyes are going to lead the rest of the body into a more relaxed forward slouched posture. He could easily fix this by putting that computer at more of an eye level.
This is the hardest habit to break. Sitting with good posture feels weird at first but if you’re stuck with no real back support you have to create it yourself by properly stacking your head, neck, and spine, bracing the trunk and switching positions often. There is no way anyone can hold this position for an 8 hour day.
Playing on your phone
Probably the second biggest cause of rounded shoulders today. This is becoming an epidemic. As much as we try to get away from our phones and being consumed with social media, every time we use our phones we are reversing what we are trying to fix. It can be your phone, book or kindle. Small offsets like this are the exact thing that keeps people on this pain cycle that won’t change unless they specifically address this.
Sitting on the pot
To much time on the throne leads to hunched over posture while you read that magazine or play on your phone. Get in and get out. The longer you are there the more you will want to get comfortable.
Over-developed “mirror muscles”
This is more for the people who are active in the gym.
If you’re looking for that angry bulldog look and think rounded shoulders are all the rave then only work on the muscles you can see when you look in the mirror. Forget about everything else. We naturally spend more time looking at and training the muscles we can see in the mirror. Crunches, sit-ups, presses etc. All these can lead to over-developed muscles causing tightness and an imbalance between the front of the body and the back. The target muscles we are talking about are the Pec Minor, Pec Major and even a little Serattus Anterior (to name a few).
I can go on and on with the things that I personally had to completely reverse engineer before I started to see lasting results. It’s the things you over look every day that could be the biggest piece to your puzzle.
With these habits in mind, lets briefly touch on the muscles they effect.
Pec Minor and Pec Major
These two are the most common culprits of shortening when dealing with rounded shoulders. Not only do most gym goers tend to work these muscles the most but when at work, in the car or at home they tend to be a second thought when it comes to posture. The hardest of these two to target is actually the pec minor but I have a stretch and an awesome tissue release exercise that will hit that muscles specifically so stay tuned.
These sneaky little guys were brought to my attention by the one and only @vinnierehab (Instagram). He goes into explaining how these muscles tend to get glued down or shortened during the postures we discussed above. This muscle attaches to the anterior portion of the scapula bone and spreads out over the ribs as you can see in the picture. Well, when this gets shortened it pulls the shoulders forward. To fix this all we need to do is release these muscles and allow the rhomboids (muscles in the back) to do their job of retracting the shoulder blades back to a stable position.
The myth about fixing rounded shoulders.
I want to keep this simple since your probably not here to get an anatomy lesson. You just want to fix your stubborn rounded shoulders. Either way, listen up as I explain this simple concept.
Rounded shoulders develop from bad habits over a long period of time. Eventually, the muscles located in the upper body become imbalanced. Simple as that. This is not something that just happens over-night. Blame your rounded shoulders on the hours you spend in the car commuting to and from work, landscaping, that job as graphic engineer, photo editor, bank teller or construction worker. Fill in the blank. If you’re completing tasks in front of you then odds are it’s pulling your shoulders forward. Unless you’re actively looking to correct it, you’re destined for beautifully rounded shoulders and chronic back pain.
This is where most people go wrong…
So your typical “text book” trainer would tell you in order to fix your rounded shoulders simply work on strengthening your back muscles. He/she would say do a bunch of seated rows, maybe someone arm dumbbell rows, oh and maybe throw in some reverse flys! I know this because I was once that trainer many moons ago, fresh out of college. This issue is NOT “fixed” by STRENGTHENING. It’s fixed by releasing the muscles in the front and allowing the Rhomboids to resume their normal position in the back. In this case, the rounded shoulders are forcing these muscles to stretch and almost turn off. Un-gluing those sticky muscles in the pec area will allow the Rhomboids to start firing again and get back in position.
To give all due respect, some shoulder cases take on a muscle weakness problem that needs to be addressed but most of the time this isn’t the root cause. For years I trained my upper back to get “stronger” thinking it would magically pull my shoulders back. It never worked. I got stronger but it never fixed my rounded shoulders.
Release the muscles in the front to activate the muscles in the back.
Strengthen the muscles in the back to somehow over power your rounded shoulders and pull them into position.
I mentioned the Rhomboids earlier…this is the scoop on them.
This is where we shed a little more light on what are known as your Rhomboids. I briefly mentioned them earlier. When you’re trying to fix rounded shoulders these guys are usually the ones taking most of the beating. There are a few other muscles involved but for now lets focus on these guys.
The rhomboids have a very basic yet essential movement responsibility. They are responsible for retracting your shoulders.
Without the proper activation of these muscles and them being overly stretched, they are pretty much worthless to your posture until you force them to activate. Even then, you’re only contracting the muscle to over-power the muscles up front to get into place. Your goal is for them to maintain the right stabilization without having to force them into position.
Try this exercise to practice activating your rhomboids.
Stand straight and bring your arms straight out in front of you side by side. Imagine there is a pencil between your shoulder blades and your job is to squeeze that pencil with your shoulder blades as hard as you can. A lot of the activation going on here is from the Rhomboids.
So we know that when you’re dealing with rounded shoulders the muscles such as your pec major, pec minor and even your Serratus Anterior begin to shorten and become stiff. The muscles in the back get over-stretched and become almost dormant as they are forced to follow suit with this new rounded posture. The Rhomboids are still doing the very thing they were designed to do it’s just when it comes to normal standing or sitting posture the shortening out front is over-powering the muscles in the back. Simply strengthening the muscles in the back will not fix this issue. The Rhomboids alone will never become strong enough to over-power whats going on out front. It justwon’tt happen. So to fix this we have to do a little ironing.
Enough with the learning this get to work.
Your printable 6 Week Shoulder Fix Program is below!
This si where the rubber meats the road. We can go on and on about habits and blah blah blah but the people who actually see the results they want are the ones that put their program to action. Don’t get analysis paralysis with all this stuff. I don’t care if you never read whats above this point ever again. All I care about is you following through witch whats below. Take action.
To make this as easy as possible I went ahead and mapped out your next 6 weeks for you
This program is your building block to a strong posture, healthy lower back and a stacked head neck and spine. This is not a quick fix or an instant cure. Thats impossible. This is simply the nuts and bolts to your road to repair. Stick to this course and beyond and I can promise improvement.
No questions to answer or hoops to jump through
Seriously this is just a free gift to you!
How to get the most success out of this 6 Week Shoulder Fix program.
-The program is broken up into 3 2-week sections. Each 2 weeks you will have two exercises to do daily.
-You don’t have to add or take away anything from this program to see results. All you have to do is follow it exactly the way it is written.
– Do not carry the exercises over from the 1st 2 weeks into the 2nd 2 weeks or the 3rd 2 weeks. Leave those in the rear view mirror for now and just focus on the new 2 exercises. You can always go back to the ones you like for maintenance and further work after the program if needed.
– Minimum requirement for each exercise is 2-3 times A DAY. You can break these up over the day however you like. One session when you wake up. One at lunch and another before bed. Just get it done.
-The times or reps needed for each exercise are written on your actual printed program for easy reference.
-Book mark this article because the videos or pictures on how to do the exercises will be here. They are super easy so you wont need to keep referencing back after your first couple times going over them.
-If you have a really bad case of rounded shoulders to continue to see results you can recycle the program as many times as you want.
Exercise How-to’s, videos and pictures
Pec Minor Stretch: It’s not what it looks like.
Serratus Foam Roll
Doorway Lax Ball Release
Chest Foam Roll
Stick Tissue Release
I’ll leave you with this. Correcting your chronic back pain is 100% based on effort. If you kinda do it than you will see “kinda” type results. Stop searching for the quick fix and just start doing what actually works. Small steps made daily lead to miles and miles over time. Be patient and get it done!
I am excited to hear about your results so be sure to comment on here with questions or send me a direct email!