Don’t slouch! Do you too struggle with rounded shoulders? These five simple exercises will help you straighten up.
A straight and tall posture not only looks attractive, but allows you to breathe deeper, feel more energetic and be less stressed.
In recent years hunching has become one of our everyday habits. A stressful fast-paced life, a desk job, pregnancy and looking after a baby all affect our posture and contribute to rounded shoulders and back pain.
WHY DO WE END UP WITH ROUNDED SHOULDERS?
These are the most common factors that contribute to rounded shoulders and bad posture:
1. Modern lifestyle: we spend a long time in front of the computers and slump for hours, allowing our shoulders and necks to slouch forward.
2. Stress and anxiety make us tense up, hunch, pulling our shoulders up towards our ears.
3. Pregnancy, enlarged breasts, breastfeeding and even pushing the pram take a huge toll on our posture, contributing to rounded shoulders and tight chest muscles.
4. Overworking chest muscles in the gym (too many planks, push ups, biceps curls – we’ve all seen that in the gym) while neglecting the upper back are another common cause for rounded shoulders.
Sitting jobs, stress, overworked chest muscles, pregnancy and even pushing the pram are the most common factors that cause rounded shoulders and negatively affect our posture.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
As a result we end up with muscular imbalances: strong and short chest muscles pull the shoulders together in the front, while elongated and weak scapular muscles are unable to counteract that force. We assume a hunched posture and strengthening up becomes nearly impossible.
Mood boosting exercise
How does it feel?
Can you tell the immediate difference?
Correcting these imbalances will help you reduce the risk of back pain, will lower your stress levels, boost your mood and increase self-confidence.
CAN I CORRECT ROUNDED SHOULDERS?
The solution is very simple. To correct muscle imbalances you have to do both:
1. Stretch muscles that are too short and too strong (chest muscles)
2. Strengthen and shorten muscles that are overstretched (upper back muscles)
FIVE SIMPLE EXERCISES TO CORRECT ROUNDED SHOULDERS
Follow these simple five exercises to straighten your posture, feel more energised and like yourself in the mirror again.
*If you have a medical condition or injury, consult your GP before doing these exercises.
STANDING ROW WITH TUBING
2. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Grasp the tubing handles with straight arms. Roll your shoulders back and down and tighten your belly muscles. Lean back gently. This is your starting position.
3. Slowly pull the handles towards your sides, keeping the elbows as close to your body as you can. Bring your shoulder blades together. Keep your core muscles tight all the time. Pause briefly and return to the starting position.
Repeat 12-15 times.
3. Pull the band to your sides, opening your chest and pulling the shoulder blades together. Pause briefly here and return to the starting position.
Repeat 12-15 times.
WALL SLIDES (ANGELS)
2. Press the arms against the wall with a 90-degree angle at your elbows and between your arms and the body. Make sure your elbows and wrists touch the wall or stay as close to the wall as possible. This is your starting position.
3. Slowly move your arms down, maintaining contact with the wall. Pause briefly and return to the starting position.
Repeat 12-15 times.
LYING SHOULDER EXTERNAL ROTATION
1. Lie on your side comfortably. Hold a dumbbell in the hand of your upper arm. Press the elbow tightly to your side and keep it bent at 90-degree angle.
2. Begin with your arm parallel to the floor – this is your starting position.
3. Slowly lift the dumbbell rotating the shoulder externally. Keep the elbow pressed to your side and make sure your wrist doesn’t flex. Pause briefly and return to the starting position.
Repeat 12-15 times and change side.
Caution: use a very light dumbbell 0.5-1kg
LYING CHEST OPENINIG STRETCH
2. Slowly lift the upper arm in the sweeping motion and move it behind you until the first point of tension. Pause here and keep breathing. Let the muscles gently stretch and relax.
3. Keep the stretch for 20-45 seconds and change side.
Caution: to avoid injury keep the stretch gentle. Your arm doesn’t need to touch the floor behind you.
Improvement in your posture should be noticeable already after 4 weeks. To really see a huge difference I recommend doing these exercises for at least 3 months.