T Nation

Fixing Rounded Shoulders


What would your advice be to fix this problem? My shoulders have rounded in over time and to me it looks like I have horrendous posture. I know you've given advice to keep shoulders healthy, was wondering whether your advice would be any different when it comes to correcting posture in this way.


Get a band and do band pull-aparts, face pulls and various versions of them on a daily basis. They don't have to be too challenging.

You can do pull-aparts in between sets of pressing work too.

I think Snatch Grip High Pulls (and High Pull variations) are great. They'll develop the shoulder girdle area esp the rear facing muscles that will help to "un-round" the shoulders.

Inverted rows are good too. Even if you are good and chins/pullups, inverted rows allow you to keep a better body position whilst working the pulling muscles that help to improve posture.

And maybe look at your technique for pressing, esp bench pressing. That may well be the reason why your shoulders have rounded.

Also, sitting on a chair at work hunched over a PC doesn't help. That was me for 7 years and my posture was negatively affected by that. I've pretty much corrected that now.


Thank you for the reply. Will look at implementing this into the workouts.


I would also concentrate on your posture by keeping your shoulders back and standing/sitting up straight. If hunching over a computer (or not doing enough back work) helped cause it, reinforcing correct posture will help correct it, along with the proper exercises above.


Stretch the hell out of your pecs, biceps, and t-spine. Also, stop ALL pressing work. Not even a single pound. Just stretch like a maniac and work your upper back like a maniac. In 6-8 you will be in perfect condition.


I don't know if I would completely cut out all pressing work, but definately cut back on the volume. And increase the amount of pulling work you do, a ratio of 1:1 is a start but try to aim for a ratio of closer to 2:1 with pulls to presses....that should get you headed in the right direction....and stretching pressing muscles is also a good point


if you're doing the layer system, just do either decline OR incline once a week, and keep doing the high pulls twice a week.. that should help your ratio whilst keeping the gains coming :slight_smile:

I definitely second the face pulls / pull-aparts in between pressing sets. it actually helped increase my bench too.


To add to this, you could add rows (if you don't already) to the end of your High Pull sessions, per CTs recommendation. If you're already doing that, supplement rear-delt, rhomboid work for pressing assistance work (think bent-over raises instead of triceps work). You'd still be getting your pressing work in, but the antagonist muscles would be getting more total volume and more total work per week.


I used to have this problem bad; here are things that helped me...

Foam roll- rumble roller black, lacrosse ball, & med ball especially around your pec minor upper shoulder area

Lay on a foam roller long ways touching the back of your head & tailbone for at least 15 minutes per day

Mobility work, shoulder dislocations with a stick (broom stick), if you get to the point where you can just hang doing skin the cat on rings you will not have this problem (small steps but work towards it)

Band pull aparts, face pulls

Active release technique

Chiropractic wellness adjustments


Buy a handheld massager (brookstone makes an awesome one for about $65...4 prong head- take over collar bone & inner pec & sternum area daily as well as the single prong head...get your rib cage with the 4 prong head too & trace your spine with the 4 & single prong head

High pulls done properly 2x week

OH holds in a power rack

Y's, T's, L's, W's to activate

I removed my pillow & take a towel wrapped long ways to support my neck


And of course posture....think head as high toward the ceiling as possible


I've talked about this here before, but it's an amazing exercise that you can do at home. Install a hook or a hoop at face level securely in the wall. use a strap, or rope, or even a towel. The length of the strap will provide the amont of resitance. Place your feet where the floor meets the wall, lean back holding the ends of the strap, keep your elbows high, and do your face pulls. This isn't rocket science, but this set up will allow you to do face pulls every day, all day if you want. I've found doing these regularly will fix rounded shoulders in short order. I personaly have found tow straps perfect for the job. They come in different lengths, with a hoops stitched in each end, for a couple bucks at automotive store. There's lots of good ideas here, this is just a simple one I've used with success. Goodluck


Wow, more replies than I could have ever expected. Appreciate every single one. Hoping for CT's reply also, since he has so much experience working with mainly athletes, who probably get injuries all the time and he has to remedy them as quickly as possible to be able to perform on the field.


So, I believe I saw it through this thread somewhere, but rounded shoulders comes from executing lots of Bench Pressing, and heavy benches.

As others have stated, I do recommend decreasing your bench workouts. Do not exclude them, just reduce. Increase your pulling workouts with a good staple exercise in the Deadlift. Pulling the deadlift up, and standing erect. Additionally pulling your shoulders back, and pinching your shoulder blades together.

Barbell Rows and/or Dumbbell Rows where the focus is on pinching the shoulder blades together, to hit the traps really good as well.

Others have mentioned stretching makes me think of stretching exercises. A good super set on your chest day would be Bench followed by Flat Bench Fly. Where the fly you focus on the stretching portion of the fly to feel the stretch through the pectorals.

And always, always stretch!


lots of good advice in this thread, only thing I'll add is you'll probably need to do some work on your glutes and core too.

poor lower body posture always translates over to poor upper body posture.


Don't swing too far in the other direction as that isn't the answer. Prioritize back work. Everything in the back.
Bat wing holds can be added to your arsenal as well, perhaps flat and at an angle.


and face pulls. Don't get crazy with the weight. Feel the motion. I do them on using a pulley while laying down, hold them in the contracted position.



I actually brought this up to CT a while back. He stated no exercises will help, although I do feel high pulls and more rear trap and delt work can help pull everything back a little...overall its walking with shoulders back all day and always being aware of it. You have to basically flex your traps back all day, sitting, walking, whenever. You will catch yourself throughout the day not pulling your shoulders back and its hella annoying...but it worked for me...tiring nonetheless. One is basically re-learning new posture with the back and shoulder muscles. It works. Now when I release my shoulders, they don't roll as they did before.


If you do slow squeezing face pulls between sets of pressing as well as at home as stated. You also need to have your back training in order, with heavy rows, pulls, and deads you can change forward rolling shoulders, night and day. Over the years I've been asked by lots of bench junkies to help with this problem, hands hanging in front of them palms facing their laps. By making sure they do 2 pulls for every push, and face pulls (light and squeezing) between benching as well as at home. after a couple months their hands start to rotate back around to their sides. Put the work in OP and have faith, lots of guys get hooked on the mirror muscles at first. Goodluck


thanks for everything, guys. Going to incorporate it all as best as I can.


did anyone mention bb overhead squat? 2 sets as part of your warmup (every training session) will go a long way.