The Definitive Guide To Fixing Rounded Shoulders

The Definitive Guide To Fixing Rounded Shoulders

The rolling forward of your shoulders, appearing more rounded, may be caused by tight chest muscles and weak upper back muscles. Eventually, this can even lead to back and neck pain, as with any other postural issues.

This can be very concerning if you don't take the right measures at the right time. After a while, it can become quite dangerous to overcome. But with good posture, you can easily fix your rounded shoulders and other related concerns.

What Causes Rounded Shoulders?

What Causes Rounded Shoulders

Seventy-three percent of employees between the ages of 20 and 50 were found to have a right-rounded shoulder in 2022 research, and 66 percent had a left-rounded shoulder.

There are several reasons that might cause rounded shoulders. Here are some of them:

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: A lack of physical activity is a major contributor to rounded shoulders. Long periods of sitting at a desk, in front of a computer, or performing other sedentary activities can negatively affect posture.
  • Poor Ergonomics: Rounded shoulders might also be the result of working or studying in an unsuitable space. Chairs without enough back support, monitors placed at eye level, and disorganized desks all contribute to slouching.
  • Muscle Imbalances: Muscle imbalances can tighten your chest muscles, particularly the pectoralis major and minor. As a result, it pulls the shoulders forward, creating a rounded appearance.

    Specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation Dr. John Patel states, "Muscle imbalances, including poor upper back and shoulder muscles, can cause curved shoulders."
  • Age: Older people are more likely to lose some of their spinal curvature, which can lead to a more rounded appearance on the shoulders.
  • Genetics: Rounded shoulders may also have a genetic component. Shoulder alignment can be affected by a variety of factors, including poor posture and musculoskeletal disorders that run in families.

The 8 Best Exercises For Rounded Shoulders

Best Exercises For Rounded Shoulders

The most practical solution for fixing rounded shoulders is to perform a few specific exercises. Now, we will look into some expert-suggested exercises that can help improve your condition.

Exercise 1: Wall Angels

Wall Angels Exercise

If you want more mobility and better posture in your shoulders, try doing wall angels.


  • Put your back up against a wall and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
  • Maintain contact with the wall with your elbows and wrists as you slowly glide your arms up the wall.
  • To avoid rounding your lower back or releasing your grip on the wall, raise your arms as high as you can.
  • After pausing at the peak, bring your arms back down to their original position.

Exercise 2: Doorway Stretch

The rounded shoulders and tight chest muscles can be alleviated with the doorway stretch.


  • Place your forearms on the door frame while standing in a doorway with your arms bent at right angles.
  • Relax and bend forward ever so slightly to open up your chest. Maintain a relaxed, neutral posture of the head and neck.
  • Continue this for 20 to 30 seconds.

Exercise 3: Cat-Cow Stretch

Cat-Cow Stretch

The cat-cow stretch is a posture-enhancing exercise rooted in yoga. It can alleviate muscle pain and improve your posture.


  • Get into the tabletop position and go down on your hands and knees.
  • Exhale as you lift your head and tailbone off the ground (cow posture), arching your back.
  • Hold your breath and adopt the "cat position," circling your back and tucking your chin and tailbone.
  • Keep switching back and forth between cats and cows for the next 10 to 15 times.

Exercise 4: Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Squeezing the space between your shoulder blades might help you build stronger muscles and improve your posture by drawing your shoulders back and down.


  • Keep your arms at your sides and your posture upright.
  • Try holding a pencil between your shoulder blades for a moment.
  • Stay in this pose for five to ten seconds, and then relax.
  • Perform a total of 3–3 1/2 sets of 10-15 reps.

Exercise 5: Reverse Flyes

Reverse Flyes

To counter the forward pull of rounded shoulders, reverse flyes strengthen the upper back and rear shoulder muscles.


  • Keep your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells with palms facing in.
  • Keep your back straight while slightly bending forward at the waist.
  • Gently shrug your shoulders as you extend your arms out to the sides.
  • Lower the weights once again.
  • Do a total of 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

Exercise 6: Rows

Pulling your shoulders back and down while performing rows helps strengthen the muscles in your upper back and improves your posture.


  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a bench.
  • Keep your back straight and bend forward from the hips.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the weights toward your hips.
  • Lower the weights once again.
  • Do a total of 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

Exercise 7: Chest Opener Stretch

The stiffness causing rounded shoulders can be alleviated with a chest-opening stretch.


  • Keep your head up and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise your hands over your head by clasping them behind your back.
  • Open your chest and arch your back ever so slightly.
  • Stretch your chest and shoulders for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Unwind and repeat this a few times.

Exercise 8: Plank

Plank Exercise

A strong core is vital for upright posture, and the plank is an excellent exercise for building that strength.


  • Start with your forearms on the ground and your elbows directly below your shoulders, maintaining a push-up stance.
  • Maintain a tall, upright position by engaging your abs and pulling your shoulders back.
  • Hold the plank position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Additional Exercises For Internally Rotated Shoulders

Now, we will share some additional exercises that you can do to fix internally rotated shoulders.

Exercise 9: External Rotations

External Rotations Exercise

The rotator cuff muscles, essential for shoulder stability and good posture, are particularly engaged during external rotations.


  • Attach a resistance band to a fixed point adjusted to chest level.
  • Hold the band in the hand closest to the anchor point while standing sideways to the attachment.
  • Keep your upper arm pressed against your side and your elbow at a ninety-degree angle.
  • Rotate your forearm outward, maintaining control to overcome resistance.
  • Return to the starting position slowly.
  • Do three to four sets of 10 to 15 reps for each arm.

Exercise 10: Band Pull-Aparts

Band Pull-Aparts

Band pull-aparts strengthen the upper back and rear shoulder muscles, reducing the rounding of the shoulders.


  • Extend your arms in front of you and grasp a resistance band in both hands.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the band apart.
  • Hold for a second, then return to the starting position.
  • Do a total of 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps.

Exercise 11: Scapular Retraction

Retracting your shoulder blades (scapulae) is a simple exercise that can work wonders for your posture.


  • Keep your arms at your sides and sit or stand up straight.
  • Focus on bringing your shoulder blades down and back.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Relax and perform another set of ten to fifteen reps, two to three times.

Tips And Lifestyle Adjustments For Better Posture

Tips And Lifestyle Adjustments For Better Posture

Correcting rounded shoulders may take patience and consistency. Here are a few effective tips that you can rely on:

1. Ergonomic Workspace Setup

Maintain a neutral spine position by adjusting your chair, workstation, and screen accordingly. To alleviate back pain, consider using a supportive ergonomic chair.

2. Breaks And Stretching Routine

Reduce muscle tension with specific stretching exercises. Focus on chest stretches, neck rolls, and shoulder rolls to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting.

3. Sleeping Posture

Use a mattress and pillows that provide adequate support to ensure you sleep in the correct position. Place a pillow between your knees to help keep your spine in proper alignment while sleeping.

4. Backpack And Bag Considerations

Choose bags and backpacks with cushioned straps to distribute weight more comfortably. Use both straps to evenly distribute weight over your shoulders.

According to Dr. Rachel Clark, rounded shoulders can be caused by improper backpack carrying or spending too much time hunched over electronic devices in children.

5. Smartphone And Screen Habits

Keep your tablet or phone at eye level to avoid straining your neck. When working on a computer, remember the 20-20-20 rule to prevent eye strain.

6. Mindfulness And Body Awareness

Practice mindfulness to be more self-aware of your posture. Monitor your posture and adjust any slouching or hunching as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to fix rounded shoulders?

The time it takes to see changes in rounded shoulders is not specific. Consistent effort and exercise may take a few weeks to months before you start to see results.

How to fix rounded shoulders fast?

Quick remedies may not yield lasting results. To correct your posture effectively, focus on the right exercises, make appropriate ergonomic adjustments, and work on it gradually.

What is the best way to correct rounded shoulders?

Consistently working on improving posture, including stretching tight chest muscles and strengthening the back, is the most effective strategy.

Is it too late to fix rounded shoulders?

Improving posture is possible at any age. While the effects may be more noticeable in younger individuals, better posture can be achieved at any age.

What to avoid with rounded shoulders?

Avoid using heavy bags, maintaining poor ergonomics, and prolonged slouching. These behaviors contribute to the development of rounded shoulders and other postural problems.


Many suggestions may come your way regarding how to fix rounded shoulders. However, it's crucial to choose the best approach based on your condition.

That's why we always recommend seeking expert help before attempting any corrective measures on your own.

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