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How To Improve Rounded Shoulders

by Courtney on August 28, 2012

Holy moly, has it been a busy morning!

My kitchen has been rockin’ with lots of good stuff so far…

100OLYMP

I’m actually working on some recipes for a breakfast tailgate, so once they’re up and running, I’ll most definitely share with you all. Promise.

I’ve still got a couple left to do, along with my cupcakes, but I’m thinking that I’m going to have to divide and conquer on those – if I attempt everything today, I’m going to be wiped. Workin’ in the kitchen is no joke! Winking smile

While I did, as planned, manage to snag a few bites of each of this morning’s recipes, I still needed something a bit more substantial and nutritious, so I put together this thing of beauty.

IMG_7433

Tomato, Corn, Avocado, & Feta Salad

  • Romaine + spinach base
  • 1 ear corn on the cob (steamed in microwave)
  • 2 small tomatoes (from my garden)
  • ~1/3 of an avocado
  • 2-3 tbsp feta cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil + splash of balsamic vinegar
  • dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, to taste

IMG_7435

I also added in a couple slices of low-sodium deli turkey along with the rest of my veggies just because it sounded good.

It was.

*****

How To Improve Rounded Shoulders

I’ve noticed recently that my increased time of sitting at a desk is wreaking havoc on my upper body, especially my neck and shoulders. My shoulders have become a bit more rounded and my posture is starting to suffer.

I’m also not exactly known for sitting properly at my desk either…

source

Anyone else in the same boat??

Rounded shoulders happen with the chest muscle becomes tight, thus creating more of a pull on the shoulders. In turn, the back muscles (such as the rhomboids) stretch and lengthen, making them weaker.

To try to correct this postural distortion, strengthening exercises to tighten the back muscles are super important. Here’s a few exercises and stretches to try today:

Reverse Fly

Grab a set of light dumbbells and place feet hip-width apart, knees bent. Bend forward at the hips and let arms hang straight down from your shoulders, palms facing in. Roll shoulders back and down, away from ears. Raise both arms out to sides as you squeeze shoulder blades together. Return to start. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

 

 

Seated Row

Sit on the floor, legs extended in front of you. Wrap a resistance band around feet and grasp each end, palms facing each other. Bend arms and draw hands towards sides, elbows pointing behind you. Return to start. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

source

 

 

Open Chest Stretch

There are many ways to perform a chest stretch – you can sit, stand, or even use a stability ball. When sitting or standing, interlock hands behind your back with palms facing inward. Lean slightly forward and lift arms behind you. Hold for about 30 seconds.

 

 

Cobra Stretch

Lie on stomach with palms of hands flat on ground directly beneath shoulders. Legs should be straight with tops of feet on ground. Pull abdominal muscles up toward your spine and press up, lifting chest off ground, completely straightening arms. Lift chin up to the ceiling without hunching shoulders up towards ears. To avoid this, keep neck elongated by gliding your shoulder blades down your back toward your hip bones. Hold position for about 30 seconds.

*****

Question for the Afternoon:

How’s YOUR posture? Winking smile

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries August 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Ugh my posture is terrible! I have a really long torso that I think also contributes to my lack of sitting/standing up straight. I need to start paying more attention to how I sit at my desk and just how I carry myself in general.
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..What Is Making Me Smile Lately

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2 Alex @ Brain, Body, Because August 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I’m the same way! I read about one woman who hung a mirror on the wall by her chair so she can actually *see* when she’s slouching. Maybe that would help?
Alex @ Brain, Body, Because recently posted..Slacklining

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3 Kellie August 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Brilliant!
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4 Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) August 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Ahhh – this post just reminded me to sit up! :) My posture is generally good… except for when I’m at my desk at work, which is kind of a lot. Whoops!

Love seated rows!
Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) recently posted..Yoga – The Cure for the Common Life

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5 Sam @ The Real Pretty August 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

My posture is just awful! I have very broad shoulders & have always had upper back pain b/c of it. I’m definitely going to try these moves! Woo-hoo, thanks for sharing!
Sam @ The Real Pretty recently posted..Just Call Me Katniss

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6 Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans August 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

My posture is so terrible, I’ve been trying to work on strengthening my back to improve it though! I’ve also found that Pilates and yoga really helps to improve my posture.
Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans recently posted..Marvelous in My Monday

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7 Megan@ The Running Doc August 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm

My posture while sitting at my desk all day is terrible! I need to do all of these exercises to avoid the pain in my neck and shoulders by the end of the day.
Megan@ The Running Doc recently posted..Eloise Turns One

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8 Khushboo August 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I’m glad you mentioned some strength training exercises. Since I started weight training more regularly, I have noticed tremendous improvements in my posture!
Khushboo recently posted..2012 resolutions…revisited

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9 Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut August 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Good tips! I’m sure we could all use a reminder to try to sit up straight…I know I sat up straight after reading this haha!
Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut recently posted..Half-Marathon Training Plan

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10 Brandi August 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Oh my gosh!! I totally sat up straight after looking at this picture! Lol! I am so bad about setting like a couple of those. Being at a computer all day is really horrible on the back.
I try really hard to stretch throughout the day, but don’t always get the chance.
Brandi recently posted..Monday plus one.

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11 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance August 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm

My new year’s resolution was to improve my posture!!! This is a great post–I like the exercise ideas. While my posture isn’t terrible, I can tell that it has been deteriorating the more I spend time in front of a computer. I’m trying to correct things before they become bad. It’s definitely a work in progress though!
Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..Seared Sea Scallops

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12 Caitlin F. August 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

SO crazy that you chose today to do a post on posture. Earlier this morning I noticed myself in the mirror and could not believe how rounded my shoulders have become. Thank you, desk job. I’ll definitely be incorporating these moves into my workout tonight. Thanks!!

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13 Amanda @ .running with spoons. August 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

My posture is pretty bad! I’ve been trying to pay more attention to sitting/standing straight, but then a lot of the time I start slacking and catch myself with rounded shoulders. It’s a hard thing to stay conscious about, especially when I’m feeling tired and just want to slouch. Thanks for the reminder [as I'm slouching at my desk.. ha!]
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14 Parita August 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Just what I needed to read because my posture is not very good right now. I sit at a desk for upwards of 10 hours a day, and even though I get up and move around every so often, it’s not enough. I’m going to incorporate some of those stretches into my daily routine! Thanks for sharing!
Parita recently posted..The Parental Unit + Isaac

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15 CBat August 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Work your front and your back of your upper bod to maintain balance! You should be able to push and pull similar amount of weight.

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16 Angela @ Health's Angel August 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm

My mom was HUGE on posture when I was growing up. I can still hear her telling me, “put those shoulders back!” I think she scarred me for life, because now I’m pretty concious about it. Whenever I feel myself slouching, I can hear her voice in the back of my head and that helps me remember to straighten up. :-)
Angela @ Health’s Angel recently posted..The Sights of Oregon

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17 Rachel August 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I actually noticed this week that since I started doing Pilates on a daily basis I sit with really good posture when at my desk lol but before I did hunch over a little :p
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18 Sara @ The Foodie Diaries August 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I’m pretty sure I’m doing ALL of those examples of bad posture at once at the moment… how is that even possible?! At least I have some new workouts to do today at the gym to help my awful posture ;)
Sara @ The Foodie Diaries recently posted..boston adventures, part five.

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19 Ashley @ The North Carolina Cowgirl August 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Funny that you talked about this today. I was thinking the same thing when I saw my pictures from my vacation. I thought my shoulders seemed very forward and notice it looked awkward when I tried to pull them back.
It actually had me upset because I hated how I looked. :( Ok enough sad face..I did it to myself, I know. I have the worse posture sitting at my desk all day. I get very lazy and don’t sit properly. I slouch ALL the time.
Thanks for posting these exercises. I’m going to add them to my MUST DO TONIGHT list and try to correct my bad posture. Is it possible to fully correct it so I don’t look so rounded up top? Please say yes.. :/
Ashley @ The North Carolina Cowgirl recently posted..Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas Part 1

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20 Michelle@Peachy Palate August 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Terrible! I suffer from the tilted pelvis mainly due to sitting incorrectly all the time! I picked up one of these from my physio…helps a lot! Best back support I’ve tried and makes you site up straight! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Memory-Foam-Neck-Roll-Pillow-Cervical-Lumbar-Support-/200653087648
Michelle@Peachy Palate recently posted..Ending on a high note

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21 robfiasco @ run2thehills August 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm

i can’t imagine my posture is all that great. especially sitting at a desk for 8 hours.

and being over 6 feet tall, i find myself bending over to use certain things that would be at a normal height for shorter people or having to duck to not hit my head on things….

thanks for the exercises and stretches! i can definitely use em!
robfiasco @ run2thehills recently posted..Done with Dairy…

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22 Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness August 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Thank you for these exercises! I totally need them! My shoulders round forward all the time and I try my best to be conscious of fixing it! I find mobility and stretching them well really helps!
Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness recently posted..A Treat on Tuesday: G Free S’mores Rice Kripsy Treats!

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23 Alysha @Shesontherun August 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I actually think I sit up too straight and overly curve my back. Maybe I’m the only one who has that issue :)
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24 Danica @ It's Progression August 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I catch myself with horrible posture all the time–when I’m sitting at my desk–I recently got a new chair though that due to however it’s made is more comfortable AND forces me to sit up straighter. Win-win :)
Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..Happy Birthday!

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25 Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine August 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for the tips. My shoulders have been bad lately – to the point where my right shoulder actually HURTS.
Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine recently posted..Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

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26 kim@hungryhealthygirl August 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

My posture is not the best and I’ve noticed this neck pain that comes on when I’ve been at my computer for very long. It all started when I started my blog……hmmmm….I wonder why?!?! Great info and thanks for the exercises, I’ll give them a try. Happy baking!
kim@hungryhealthygirl recently posted..photo bomb & food this or that

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27 Jodi @ I Run for Food and Wine August 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I try to always think about how my posture it. I have to actively make and effort to have proper posture. I just don’t want to be old and hunched over, no way!
Jodi @ I Run for Food and Wine recently posted..Pervert in the Shower

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28 Annette@FitnessPerks August 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I have pretty good posture–just from doing ballet & Pilates, but I could do to remember to be better at my desk ;)
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29 Michelle (Better with Berries) August 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I definitely need this! Whether I’m at a job where I’m sitting all day (luckily I’ve only had one of those for a few months) or standing all day, I notice my posture worsening throughout the day and go home with an aching back. I need to try some of these tips – thanks!
Michelle (Better with Berries) recently posted..First Day of School Cookies

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30 Jolynn August 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Right there with ya. I actually just had a full body massage a couple weeks ago and the therapist said my pecs were SUPER tight and I needed to stretch more. Darn desk work…
Jolynn recently posted..Chicken Tortilla Wrap

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31 Alicia August 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

My posture is horrible! Especially since I am either on my laptop at home, with no desk…always on the bed, and then at work behind a desk. So I am always stretching! I do love the Cobra Stretch! It is one of my favorite stretches.

On a note I really want to try that Salad! I have never tried feta cheese but I really want to try it! That salad looks so delicious!
Alicia recently posted..Manic Monday: Day 35 + 10 Pounds Lost

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32 Julie @ Sweetly Balanced August 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I have HORRIBLE posture and its one thing I hate so much and wish I could fix!! So, thanks!! I’m going to start doing these exercises more often!! :)
Julie @ Sweetly Balanced recently posted..Carb and Protein Filled Lunch

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33 Carrie @ Lift Eat Repeat August 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

The hubby and I are thinking about getting ball chairs for work since we both sit at a desk all day and feel like that would def help with posture!
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34 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake August 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Interesting; I never really thought that certain exercises could help rounded shoulders! I actually stand for the majority of my day, but I could definitely improve my posture when I’m sitting!
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35 Lisa August 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I actually have pretty decent posture. After years of being a swimmer and having my coach yell at me whenever I rounded my shoulders, I finally got the lessen and never looked back;) ha ha.
I love all the colours in that salad, how pretty!
Lisa recently posted..Are You Eating Enough?

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36 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats August 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

This is great! Being in law school I’m always hunched over a computer or book, I need to work on my back strength!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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37 Shannon August 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

When I saw the words ‘bad posture’, I immediately sat up straighter in the computer chair. My posture isn’t so great but I’m going to try and work on sitting straight starting…NOW. :)

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38 Brittany @ Little b's healthy habits August 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I was JUST talking about this the other day! I love my job but I really wish I wasn’t stuck sitting at a desk all day because I too am noticing my posture is not very good!
Brittany @ Little b’s healthy habits recently posted..Almond Milk: Why Drink It?

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39 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I’m definitely a sloucher – I’m seeing lots of reverse flies in my future!
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..Boiling Water = Too Much Effort.

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40 char eats greens August 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Well, you made me sit up straight after that post, that’s for sure!! I think I used to have really good posture (I did dance, including ballet for years), but over the years of increased sitting, I’m slowly becoming rounded. I guess it also doesn’t help that I can’t even remember the last time I did a back fly! I swear I used to be so much better last summer. I blame pregnancy for my slacking this year ;)
char eats greens recently posted..where does the time go?

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41 Ellie@Fit for the Soul August 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I’m very glad to say that I have pretty good posture!! Sometimes I catch myself slouching while sitting down, but ever since I came out of my mama’s womb, she’s taught me (and forced me) to be super super mindful of straightening up. Haha! Sometimes she’d be in another room and yell, “Ellie, sit up straight!!!” And I looooove these exercises!!! I always make it a point to focus on delt flys or something like that because I believe in the importance of balancing out and evening out our muscles–front and back. Especially if we do lots of pushups! :D
Ellie@Fit for the Soul recently posted..Marvelous Mondays Recap

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42 michelle kim August 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Great post! I notice so many students with rounded shoulders (and back). I think this generation is just sitting all the time, so unless they are actively trying to keeping good posture, it’s bound to happen. I definitely do the downward dog and reverse fly to keep my posture.
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43 Kristen @ notsodomesticated August 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Ugh, I’m so bad about my posture. I’m glad you posted this. I really need to do some of those exercises. Thanks for the reminder!
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44 Stephanie @ Steph's Miles August 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Sometimes my slouch at my desk looks exactly like the cartoon guys in the picture! I also catch myself rounding out my shoulders when I’m driving.
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45 Leanne August 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm

THANK U! My posture is horrible since I’m working behind a desk more often! I need to train my shoulders, chest and arms way more often! This will be a great start! :)
Leanne recently posted..Life’s rough – Trials & Tribulations – Cyberbullying and haters – Spread the LOVE

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46 Amanda August 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm

This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I actually just got home from a doctor’s appointment for a few things, one of them being back pain! While I’m not allowed to use any weights or do any mat work for a while, the last two may help! Thanks for the info! BTW that salad looks DELISH!

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47 Lauren @The Homeostatic Mindset August 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I’ve REALLY been cognizant of my posture lately after seeing a few pics of me slumped over. I am constantly reminding myself to stand up tall! :)
Lauren @The Homeostatic Mindset recently posted..How to have an ENTIRELY ‘good’ day

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48 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I like these stretches! My shoulders are rounded too, and I think it’s from years of sitting in school at my desk all slouched over. I need to start working on standing and sitting straighter!
Emily @ Perfection Isn’t Happy recently posted..Marvelous in My Monday

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49 Bek @ Crave August 30, 2012 at 1:26 am

HAha as I was reading this I felt like I was getting a smack on the wrist and straightened up immediately. Posture is something many of us forget about too easily, even when we walk around. I am going to make a habit of improving my posture as I’m walking about- it’s amazing the difference it makes.
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50 Tara Deal August 30, 2012 at 4:52 am

I have a desk job currently, and I am ALWAYS so worried about the rounded shoulders! When sitting at my desk I consciously sit up tall and roll my shoulders back several times a day to adjust…!!!
Tara Deal recently posted..Hello world!

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51 dressnl August 30, 2012 at 5:38 am

I like these stretches!

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52 Jenica August 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

My posture is only so-so, but I inherited pretty broad shoulders from my mom. I’ve never really given it much thought but I’m feeling grateful about it now!
Jenica recently posted..A New Mechanism for How Smoking Increases Lung Infection Incidence, Plus a New Breakfast (for me)

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53 Kelly@Leafy Not Beefy September 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for the exercises! Yes, I have rounded shoulders for sure!
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