T Nation

Rounded Shoulders?

Hey guys,

I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to specific exercises I could do to straighten out my back. As it is right now, my shoulders are rounded forward and as a result, my shoulder blades jut out of my back. A top view of me would look like ) rather than |. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as this is something I’ve dealt with for a long time.

  • Epitome

i would drastically cut down on the volume i did for my chest, maybe 2-3 sets once every 5 day cycle (or whatever split you do). I would start deadlifting with my scapulae retracted, ian king style. I would throw in 2 external rotator exercises into my workout split, and do normal bent over or dumbell rows and seated cable rows to neck.

Ya, the Ian King style deadlift (with the shoulders pulled back) absolutely hammers my back!

start with stretching pec major, minor,& teres major,and strengthening your lower and middle traps with static as well as dynamic contraction.Chek,Poliquin and King have written
articles you would find helpful.

And do a shitload of chest stretching

Epitome…nothingx pretty much hit it right on the head. In case you were looking for some hard copy evidence you might consider looking over previous issues where Coach King describes proper deadlifting form and also old Heavy Metal where King answers similar questions and tells how to balance things out. If you have print issue #2, the article “A Question of Intensity” provides some pointers–probably on the site also. Also, just work on posture outside the gym also. Be conscious of how you sit and stand. Hope that helps, epitome.

Do not do any pressing movements for at least 6 months. Do a sh load of retraction movements like rows

The issue of muscular balance, especially for shoulder health, is really getting some good attention now. Compare the weight you can pull, in the horizontal plane, to what you can push in flat bench.

I went through a similar process recently and began to perform seated rows with elbows high, using the same wide grip as with bench press. My posture has definitely improved over the last 6 months!
Now I can pull much more than my lower back can hold, with my upper torso unsupported, so I used a seated row machine with a chest pad.


Think about this: how much could you push in bench press without the bench to support your back? How can you develop this same strength and balance with cable rows or T-bar bent-over rows without chest support?
This really helps you concentrate on the pulling action. Using a machine with a chest pad is, essentially, like reverse bench press. The machine at my gym uses individually articulated arms, preserving a more natural, complex movement.
I also place these pulling exercises earlier in my workouts, before horizontal pushing, to favor the growth of upper back/rear delts and improve the balance.
Good luck - Nylo

Good advice so far. Here’s another addition that I got from a therapist that has worked quite well. It’s something called wall postural control. You do this exercise by placing your back flat against a wall (you can ensure that your back is flat by lowering yourself and putting your feet forward till your whole back is against the wall), and putting your arms up in a military press position. Make sure your arms are also making full contact with the wall. Move your arms up (like in a military press) and pull them down (like a lat pull down but with your arms still in contact with the wall). Do 10 X 3 of this exercise every other day. You don’t need to use weights because the first few times you do this, its gonna HURT, I guarantee it (if you’re doing it right).

the only thing i would add to the previous reccomendations is 1-lie on a spine roller for 15 minutes twice a day, especially right before training, and 2-see an ART specialist to see what he can do in releasing some of the structures that are too tight, believe me both of these suggestions help, i have seen it first hand with several people