Posture problems are common in just about everyone. Deskjobs are a major culprit for hunched & slouched shoulders, but I often see postural issues in people who are otherwise very fit. This may be because males who workout focus predominantly on the bench-press and push-ups, over-developing their chest muscles relative to the muscles located in the back.
Since it’s the most common posture issue, today I’m going to talk about how to fix rounded shoulders (aka forward slouching shoulders).
Forward-slouched shoulders are caused by the anterior (frontal) deltoid and pectoral muscles pulling your posture forward more than your posterior (rear) deltoid and back muscles can correct for. Thankfully, it’s fairly simple to fix, so let’s begin.
How to Fix Rounded Shoulders
How to solve this pesky postural predicament? All you need to do is strengthen the rear deltoid, and back muscles. This will “pull back” your slouched shoulders, giving you a more upright posture. Here’s the two best exercises to do so:
Rear Deltoid Fly – Your gym likely has one of the above machines (if not, just google “read deltoid dumbell fly”). This assistance exercise will strengthen your posterior deltoids: pulling your shoulders back to improve your posture.
To perform, start with your arms extended in front of you, and pull back the handles until your arms are extended to your sides. Slow and controlled throughout the entire motion, you should feel the movement working your posterior deltoids, and upper back.
Pullups – The best overall exercise for improving posture, since it simultaneously targets both the posterior deltoid & major muscle groups on the back. If your primary goal is to improve posture, you want your palms to be facing away from your body — palms faced towards you are “chinups”, which will target your biceps more than your back muscles.
Note: if you are not yet strong enough to perform an unassisted pull-up, look for an assisted pull-up machine in your gym (picture). By using an pulley to counterbalance your weight, you will feel lighter, allowing you to work towards becoming strong enough to do them unassisted.