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Shoulder slouch

I just had a friend start training with me whose shoulders seem to be “rolled” (I don’t know how else to describe it) forward a little. He’s not weak in the shoulders, really, but there is a noticeable slouch in his posture. His shoulders aren’t small, by any means. He can military press about 20 pounds less than his bodyweight x 3-5 but he’s lacking somewhere because his shoulders visibly sit forward. I have done compound exercises for several years now exclusively (bench, deads, squats, pullups, snatches, clean and jerks, etc.) and I’m wondering if he joins me in doing these type of exercises, will the problem correct itself over time? Are there a 2 or 3 isolation exercises that he should concentrate on to get this corrected??? I don’t even know what bodypart he should concentrate on to get his shoulders to pull back. Is it his lats??? Middle back??? Or the rear delts themselves ??? I’m lost here.

there’s a lot to be said about overuse syndromes. look at Achieving structural balance. The guy needs to quit benching (internal rotation), or at least minimize it. You don’t have any pure pulling exercises, although deadlifting will get you external rotation. Have the guy do rows instead of benches. I am not sure if this will fully correct the problem, it should make things better, but if he’s quasimoto…

Make sure he is performing an external rotation movement for the rotator cuff,and stretching the external rotators.Most effective stretch I have found is to reach behind with both arms and grab the sides of a doorway or power rack with hands about head height(thumbs pointing up) and step forward,pushing the chest out.Use the widest side of the power rack at first,then progress to the narrow side as flexibility improves.People who work at a desk all day and folks who bench a lot without giving the posterior muscles equal time often develop this ‘forward shoulder’ syndrome. Their internal rotators become stronger and tighter than the external rotators and this sounds like what may have happened to your friend. He most likely needs to ‘lengthen and strengthen’ the external rotators.Also any upper back work he performs should be with impeccable posture-keeping his chest puffed out throughout the movement,and pulling the elbows and shoulders all the way back in the contracted position.If he can’t maintain this kind of form,he is probably using too much weight.
Poliquin once wrote in a rotator cuff training article that his clients often mentioned how their shirts fitted better after working their RC’s,due to improved posture.Progress gradually with the RC work.I have a Shoulderhorn' that I have used with much success,also there was a recent T-mag article on Cuban rotations which will hit the external rotators nicely. I would also have your friend check his posture regularly throughout the day,making sure he is not slouching when sitting ,walking or standing.Tell him to stand against a wall with his ankles,butt,shoulders and head touching the wall.Tell him to step away from the wall while maintaining this posture,and he will have an idea of how he should be carrying himself.Hope this helps,good luck.Make sure he is performing an external rotation movement for the rotator cuff,and stretching the external rotators.Most effective stretch I have found is to reach behind with both arms and grab the sides of a doorway or power rack with hands about head height(thumbs pointing up) and step forward,pushing the chest out.Use the widest side of the power rack at first,then progress to the narrow side as flexibility improves.People who work at a desk all day and folks who bench a lot without giving the posterior muscles equal time often develop thisforward shoulder’syndrome.Their internal rotators become stronger and tighter than the external rotators and this sounds like what may have happened to your friend.He most likely needs tolengthen and strengthen'the external rotators.Also any upper back work he performs should be with impeccable posture-keeping his chest puffed out throughout the movement,and pulling the elbows and shoulders all the way back in the contracted position.If he can't maintain this kind of form,he is probably using too much weight. Poliquin once wrote in a rotator cuff training article that his clients often mentioned how their shirts fitted better after working their RC's,due to improved posture.Progress gradually with the RC work.I have aShoulderhorn’ that I have used with much success,also there was a recent T-mag article on Cuban rotations which will hit the external rotators nicely.
I would also have your friend check his posture regularly throughout the day,making sure he is not slouching when sitting ,walking or standing.Tell him to stand against a wall with his ankles,butt,shoulders and head touching the wall.Tell him to step away from the wall while maintaining this posture,and he will have an idea of how he should be carrying himself.Hope this helps,good luck.

Have him go see a specialist. There are no guidelines for “structural balance.” In fact, there may be absolutely nothing wrong with his posture. We are all individuals. Why stop benching? What if the problem isn’t weak chest vs. rotators, rhomboids? What if it’s the bone structure or an overly tight chest? If it’s a tight chest than full range movements might help. Leave it to the sports med guys and not some guruesque “structural balance” mantra.

Stop doing chest workouts for awhile. I had this problem for awhile too due to neglecting the back and working on the chest. For the next 4-6 weeks I wouldn’t do any chest, but really concentrate on the back. After that I would do a 3:1 ratio. For every one chest exercise, do 3 back exercises. After things balance out always stick with a 2:1 ratio. It will take awhile to correct but strengthening the back will pull the shoulders back into their correct position, it worked for me.

He could also have excessive forward curvature of the upper spine which would make his shoulders appear to be rolled forward. Best bet is to pay the $50 and have him see a chiropractor. It’ll most likely save him a lot of money later on in life.

just have him do heavy rows (which I’m sure he isn’t doing now) I would never say don’t see a specialist but if he has no pain or any other probablems tell him to row and row heavy for a month or two and see what happens. I’m sure he will get better

Kelly and naturalman are correct.Before implementing any of the recommendations in this thread your friend should go see a qualified professional.Trying to help someone over the net whom you have never seen has its limitations…getting examined in person by a competent professional should help your friend pinpoint the exact cause of his slouching shoulders.Good luck.

This is a problem that will not correct itself over time. It needs to be taken care. As someone mentioned, the rotators need to be streched and increase their strength. But more importantly, the Pectoralis major needs to be stretched. If there is any tightness in this muscle it will pull the shoulder girdle (Shoulders and shoulder blades) fwd. Finaly, the rhomboid muscles need to be strengthened. These muscles pull the shoulder blades together. A weakness in these muscles will cause the roundedness you are talking about.

I’m with all the people advising him to see a chiropracter first and foremost. If the problem is indeed a long history of training imbalance, it’ll be relatively easy to correct. There are lots of ways to do it… Just be sure the majority of his upper body training is spent on pulling movements and his lower body training prioritizes his hamstring strength and the lengthening of his quads.

it doesn’t sound like a real problem (other than aesthetically) yet anyway, like some people are giving advice, as if it was a big problem. he could go to a chiropracter, but then again are they, really “qualified” practioners, as the AMA still hardly considers them to be. Just some food for thought.