One of the biggest postural issues is consistently having rounded shoulders and due to poor posture, muscle imbalances and lack of thoracic mobility being big causations of this posture (1), it becomes an increasingly harder task to fix. Habits can contribute to a lot of postural issues and with these being highly prevalent in modern society, reversing the effects is easier said than done.

Understanding the typical causes of the rounded shoulders posture is a good start in fixing the issue, however, correcting postural issues takes time and a quick fix shouldn't be the goal.

Typical Causes

Consequently, muscles become weak and underactive and in the case of rounded shoulders, the mid to lower trapezius muscle and serratus anterior have a big influence on the issue (2,3).

On the reversal, overactive muscles have a big influence in preventing a normal posture being achieved and the upper traps and chest become tight (4).

The lack of thoracic mobility (between the neck and lower back) has unwanted results from being in that position and a daily habit such as sitting for prolonged hours contributes to these issues increasing the chances of neck and lower back pain (5,6). Furthermore, lack of thoracic mobility or more extreme cases such as kyphosis (increased curve of the upper spine) can create problematic issues such as repository issues, chest expansion, and thoracic vertebrae pain (7,8).

Implementing a few exercises into a routine to help combat rounded shoulders is important is regaining a suitable posture.

Plan Of Attack

A two-sided approach of stretching and mobilising the overactive muscles in combination with strengthening the weaker underactive muscles will start to help reverse rounded shoulders. 

Strengthening Exercises 

Y-Raise (10 Reps x3)

Seated Cabe Row Wide bar (10 Reps x3)

Banded Face Pull (10 Reps x3)

Stretching / Mobilising Exercises 

Foam rolling the upper back muscles (5 minutes)

Pectoral Stretch (20-30 seconds x3)

Shoulder Rotations (10 Reps x3)

Perform the above routine at a minimum time of three times per week, with quality over quantity being emphasised when performing the exercises. It's important to take notice of how your posture is throughout the day, as awareness and performing the above exercises consistently will help contribute to fixing rounded shoulders long term.