Does anyone have any idea what I can do to try to ameliorate my downward sloping shoulders?
Your lats are probably insanely tight. This is a common problem with throwing athletes like pitchers. Fair simple fix, try a couple rounds of this superset daily (or whatever works for your schedule)
1: Lat Stretch (any one you like) for 5-10 deep breaths
2: Overhead Shrug for ~15 reps
Depending on your level of concern, you may want to lay off lat-dominant pulling for a couple of weeks to accelerate the process, but that definitely isn’t a strong recommendation at all (and I probably wouldn’t end up doing that myself)
EDIT: I would also recommend, if you aren’t doing it already, that you let your shoulders fully protract and your thoracic spine flex slightly whenever you do rowing exercises (except for heavy barbell rows, if you do them). This will let you train the lats from a full stretch, and “lengthen” them over time
That’s a good idea. I will definitely start doing that superset
Hope it helps! Keep us posted on how you go
What about weighted dead hangs with straps?
That would work as a replacement for the lat stretch, but it wouldn’t be the only thing I do. Whenever you increase passive range of motion via stretching, it’s best you follow-up with some active strengthening in that range of motion. So for example:
1: Weighted dead hang stretch to give OP access to full overhead and scapular elevation
2: Overhead shrug to give OP control of full overhead and scapular elevation
Generally, without doing something to try and control the range of motion gained with stretching, the changes from stretch will be very short lived (minutes)
Also, in this scenario, the overhead shrugs will directly strengthen the muscles that can help pull OP out of his current posture, similar to using face pulls to offset bench pressing.
I don’t think I’d do passive weighted dead hangs but rather maintain a mild lat contraction while loading it at the end range of ROM but the overhead shrug is a good idea
The weighted hangs definitely wouldn’t hurt, and it’s a good way to create “strength at length”
I’m pretty sure Tony Gentilcore did a decent write up on this a few years back.
I think body structure also plays a big roll in this. I have a long neck/lower shoulders in general…if further feeds into this issue.
Posture is the common cause of this appearance. While it is difficult to say with certainty from the one photo, it appears to me your shoulders are protracted, and your arms are internally rotated.
You also have prominent upper traps, and I am very dubious of the idea that training them aggressively will lessen the impact they have on your appearance.
@EyeDentist Check out some of Eric Cressey’s write-up on the posture. If you viewed OP from the front his clavicles would be very depressed, indicated postural depression of the shoulders. Lats depress the shoulder complex.
Use of overhead shrugs isn’t to train upper traps hard and heavy, but to facilitate proper movement of the scaps into upward rotation.
Do you feel any discomfort or pains, or are you just concerned about appearance?
My vote is for cable or suspension face pulls. It does your upper back a lot of good and provides stimulus to the rear and side delts.
In fairness, we can’t know for sure what OP looks like from the front (until/unless he posts a pic).
From the link you provided: “His chief complaint was crazy tightness in his upper traps and chronic anterior shoulder discomfort.” OP made no such complaints; his c/o solely concerns his appearance.
This gets at the crux of the matter. When posts appear in the Injury/Rehab subforum, respondents are predisposed (understandably) to view them through a ‘pathologic process’ lens. But consider if OP had posted this in Rate My Physique (where it probably belongs) instead–the responses would have been completely different, with folks telling him ‘do less trap work’ and ‘hit your lateral delts more.’
I’m simply pointing out that the Injury/Rehab context may have gotten folks a bit out over their skis, influencing them to see pathology that may not actually be present.
Can we see a picture from the front? You kind of look hunched forward a bit while keeping your back straight. I wouldn’t train traps and I would focus on shoulder exercises a little more possibly.
I have found Kelly Starrett’s book BECOMING A SUPPLE LEOPARD a great resource. It might be worth checking out.