Why Should You Do Exercises For Rounded Shoulders?
If you hadn’t noticed before, the world is full of people with rounded shoulders. I concede it might be difficult to spot sometimes. But, if you look really closely, while walking down the street or while you’re taking the bus or…at the post-office—it doesn’t really matter where you are—everywhere you go you’ll see all kinds of people with slightly rounded upper backs which, in effect, leads to rounded shoulders. These individuals absolutely need help. They might not realize this, but they’re suffering greatly because of it.
At first it didn’t go through. I still hadn’t managed to wrap my head around the fact that this was truly an epidemic of frighteningly large proportions. Literally anyone I met had, on closer inspection, some type of upper-back posture defect, some type of hunched-back posture—rounded shoulders.
It looked painful just watching some of them, living this way. The issue with this…is that when you’ve lived this way your whole life, you practically get used to the pain. And in most cases, you might not even feel anything anymore, to the point you forget about it completely.
The body is brilliant at deadening certain body-parts to pain, and all of that for our own protection. If it didn’t manage to pull such an impressive feat, I invite you to imagine just how impossible life would actually be, you’d be in agony all day/everyday and eventually be driven out of your mind.
Because of my constant discomfort I’d look moody at times, other times I’d looked troubled, and at other times I’d just be outright angry and frustrated.
I’d be completely miserable; so it finally came down to the thing of I’m-going-to-fix-this-problem-no-matter-what-the-cost-or-how-long-it-takes.
And I’m looking on the internet. And I’m scrolling through search results faster and faster. At that point, my blood was really boiling; I couldn’t find anything of value. My impatience in checking all of those links more thoroughly was my biggest weakness in finding something worthwhile. I was definitely getting in my own way there, for sure; until I stumbled-upon a curious YouTube video by some strange stretch expert.
I clicked the start button. And a pale and frail bold guy shows up, and starts talking in a monotone voice—but it wasn’t a boring kind of voice—it was soothing and tranquil, almost hypnotic in nature. The guy called himself Kit Laughlin, an Australian guy, an auto-proclaimed stretch expert (apparently there are no “official” authorities on the subject).
How could I know if I could trust this man or not? He did seem to be knowledgeable and sure of himself.
I decided to take a shot at it, and tried his Lower-Back Stretch Video (the first video I discovered),
Long story short, it blew me away.
And 3 months later, I had tried every exercise that would end up relieving me of my rounded shoulders.
And a couple of months later I find myself, at last, in a position where I can make a difference in people’s lives, where I can help my fellow rounded-shoulder-sufferers: yeah that’s right, I’m talking about you guys!
Having Rounded Shoulders And A Hunched-Back Felt Terrible
My head used to hang forward just like a chicken’s would. Needless to say, my sense of balance was completely compromised; I really felt as though I could fall at any time.
Strangely enough though, I didn’t complain too much about my neck. I guess I had cut-off from the pain that would otherwise reach through.
My shoulders were raised upwards like having a clothes hanger in my chest, and hanging from it. I had the droopy face, the pale complexion of a milk carton, and the dark eye-sockets to go with it. There were Jews from world war 2 that were looking down from heaven saying, “this guy’s got it terrible”. Okay, it might’ve not been that bad.
But please, let me correct myself: Jews from the uprisings in Egypt…wouldn’t have traded places with me; because no one had to beat me, I beat myself. I was my own slaver—the weight of responsibility, imagined or real, that I carried on my shoulders was so immense; it was like if a little fella was on my back constantly and had strapped on me one of those mouth-things you put on dogs that are too aggressive, that can bite people you know? I had one of those.
And the little guy would lash at me “mush mush” urging me to move forward, just whipping me bad even when I felt I couldn’t go on. And if I’d stop to take my breath back, he’d pout, he’d do little jumps on me, smash his hands on top of my head (I had a lump) furious because I’d had the nerve to disobey him. Now I know what those horses in those western movies must’ve felt like.
And I could sense, I sensed, the chains, the saddle, and the midget on top of me. And I had this sensation that everything in the universe—just stopped moving, turned towards me, saw my struggle, and just started crumbling all over me.
Why So Many Of Us End Up With Hunched-Backs?
We live very sedentary lives nowadays. With all the technological advances and the comforts we have grown accustomed to and now take for granted, a lot of us spend most of our lives on our chairs in front of the computer or some other technological device.
There’s nothing wrong with all of that, of course. But when your health suffers because of it, then, it becomes problematic—not just for your back (that has to endure this horrible abuse all day) but—for your quality of life in general.
That includes your sex-life, your ability to do everyday stuff, practicing sports, playing with the kids, whatever: the pleasure you get from all of those activities is going to be severely limited, and even brought to a stand-still if you don’t fix your posture (in this case your rounded shoulders).
Ignore doing those exercises for rounded shoulders at your own peril.
There’s an interesting study found in the Journal Of American Geriatrics Society about “the Impact Of Kyphosis On Daily Functioning.” And this is what they go on to conclude:
Kyphosis, by both clinical and quantitative assessment, is associated with diminished function, especially performance of mobility tasks. This association should be verified prospectively. If predictive, the impact of kyphosis on physical function should be considered in osteoporosis prevention and treatment counseling.
So How Do I Know If I’ve Got Kyphosis (rounded upper-back)?
According to spineuniverse, if in addition to a rounded back you suffer from one or all of the following symptoms it could mean you suffer from kyphosis:
Mild to severe back pain
Back pain with movement
Tenderness and stiffness in the spine
Forward posture of the head
Chest pain or difficulty breathing (severe cases)
Difference in shoulder height
Tight hamstrings (muscles in the back of your thighs)
Note: Kyphosis means a rounding of the upper-back. It technically refers to the back; but you can’t have a rounded upper-back and not have rounded shoulders. They both go together. So basically, kyphosis and rounded shoulders are synonymous.
And I watched all the videos. And I’d gotten better at the exercises. I was really getting very good at them. The exercises for rounded-shoulders are definitely tricky; in the sense that there’s a load of little details you just don’t notice at first. But you learn with experience that they’re just as important as the…more broader explanation lets say.
You don’t get to decide what’s important and what’s not. He knows best, you don’t. So I told myself all of that (you didn’t think I was telling you those things, right?) and followed every “minor” instruction to the letter. Since I thought this way, I had seen my progress raise exponentially. I was really getting the hang of this.
I was living with my parents at the time. And my mother kept asking me what I was doing inside my room all the time. I bet you can guess what she thought. I’ll leave it to your imagination. Nothing strange or fishy was happening I was just hell-bent on progressing with my exercises for rounded shoulders.
She’d knock on the door; and I would answer. I didn’t want her to think I was doing something strange; so for some reason I just lied and said I was reading a good book.
There was nothing shameful about what I was doing. I just felt that she wouldn’t believe me, and start asking loads of questions—my mother’s a very paranoid, suspicious, and manipulative woman. She annoyed me! But I wanted to tell her the truth. But then a little voice suddenly sprung into my head “Don’t be a fool, you know what she’s like; she’ll just become a meddling influence again.”
And I recovered my wits, and just kept with my story about the fact that I was just enjoying a wonderful book and didn’t want anyone distracting me. She nodded and grinned, closed the door behind her as she left, and went back towards the kitchen.
I was finally left in peace. I took out all the tools, put them on the floor, had a good hard look at them…and decided I should get to it. A baseball, a foam-roller, a bottle of water, a cushion, and a wooden stick: those were the tools I would use to tackle this issue. And I pressed, I squeezed, I massaged, I stretched…whatever was necessary at the time to break-up tension in my body and restore it to its natural balance, the way god intended.
I decided to just soldier-on like a man when it got tough, when it hurt like hell, when I wanted…when it would’ve been easy to give-up. And my body got sore; but I said no, I can’t give-up now. And as I’m persevering—twisting and turning, and looking for new ways to attack the problem—this sweet sensation would come along and warm the whole muscle, and I knew what it meant: it was time. And as the sensation got stronger, I stretched more and more and more; and the muscle would eventually let go.
5 Exercises For Rounded Shoulders (Step By Step)
Note: All stretches should be held for a minimum of 2 minutes for therapeutic effect.
Step #1: Hand Stretch
Now this may seem a strange one; but it is vital for your progress. The hands are the extension of the arms and shoulders. They are connected to each other. If you stretch the hands you’ll immediately notice a difference in your shoulders. It’s always smart to go from the extremities to the inside. What do I mean by that? The hands are your connection to the world. And we interact with the world through our extremities.
Think about it: we feel the ground we walk on thanks to our feet; we feel the wind that caresses our body through our skin; we, literally, put our extremity inside a woman to connect with her through the sexual act (tongue and genitals); we decode the world through our eyes, the colors, the shapes, etc; and finally we touch things using our hands, yet another way of knowing things. The hands are the key to the whole upper region of your body. You heard it here.
Suggestions: Alternate between the exercises, regularly. Hold for a minimum of 2 minutes a certain stretch, then go on to the next one. One other thing is to massage the hand with a lacrosse ball (or any hardball). You press the ball, with your hand on top, and start massaging moving the ball around to find new spots that feel tight.
Conclusions: This exercise will start to unlock your shoulder. You’ll feel it immediately. The shoulders will loosen-up quite noticeably.
Step #2: Shoulder Exercise 1
This stretch is, contrary to its name, not only for the shoulder but also for the whole arm. It will stretch the entire arm out pretty forcibly. You’ll feel it quite intensely.
Suggestions: When Kit says to pull your shoulder up to your ear to increase the stretch, instead of doing that I’d advise you to try to stick the shoulder down to the ground by squeezing the shoulder-blade on the side you’re currently working on. The intensity of the stretch will be much greater.
Conclusions: This stretch will drive your shoulder that much more in the back of the socket.
Step #3: Shoulder Exercise 2
This next exercise is done with a wooden stick, and will break tension in your shoulder from all angles. Contrary to the previous exercise, this stretch works directly on the shoulder—the rotator-cuff muscles. You won’t find many routines more effective than this one.
Suggestions: I advise you to only follow what Kit says (nothing against the other guy). The other gentleman’s exercise isn’t as strong in my opinion. Make sure you really play with different positions to find new places of tension.
Conclusion: By the time you’ve done this stretch, you’ll feel your rotator-cuff muscles almost completely loosened-up. Better mobility after this routine is assured.
Step 4: Chest Exercise
It’s now time to stretch the pectoral muscles. If your chest is tight, chances are that your shoulders will be drooping forward. Have you seen those guys in the gym who mainly only bench-press? They always end-up with rounded shoulders and kyphosis. The tightness of the front muscles pull on the shoulders, which forces the person to adopt a hunched back position.
Suggestions: Massage the chest with a hardball, first, before stretching anything. If the stretch isn’t strong enough (which it might not be when you get to a certain level) you can choose to make the stretch even stronger by lying down completely on the floor, and twisting your body by crossing “the opposite leg to the side you’re doing the stretch” over the other leg.
Conclusion: You’ve probably still got forward-head posture up until this point. By stretching the pectoral muscles this problem should be already almost completely dealt with. Your posture should be fairly good by now.
Step #5: Upper-Back Stretch
A lot of the time we accumulate tension in our upper-backs because of unexpressed anger that we keep inside for too long. I know a lot of people with anger issues who have the…you’ve seen it I’m sure: the guy who has a huge lump on his back and looks exactly like the beloved, but very ugly, Quasimodo of Notre-Dame.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that his shoulders don’t look great either. It goes with the territory—you’re only as strong as your weakest link: after all, we mustn’t forget, only one weakness in the machine is enough to compromise the integrity of the entire system. And, in this case, the weak link that needs fixing is the upper-back.
Suggestions: Place a lacrosse-ball against the wall at approximately middle-of-the-back-height. And once that’s done, turn around (your back now facing the wall) and press your back against the lacrosse-ball. Start to gently massage your upper-back by rolling the hard-ball across to where you’re feeling some tension.
And once you’ve found a good tight spot you like just stay there for a minute or two, until the pain subsides—and then pass on to the next trigger-point.
Conclusion: This exercise for rounded-shoulders should definitely straighten-up your back and your whole upper posture.
We have arrived at the end of the article, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. I wish you the best, and if you’ve got any questions don’t hesitate to ask.
Take care my friend.