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How Do You Fix Rounded Shoulders (Protracted Shoulder)?

Chest stretching, shoulder shrugs, and scapular retraction exercises can alleviate rounded shoulders.

How to fix rounded shoulders?

Rounded shoulders are usually because of poor posture habits. The root cause of rounded shoulders is that we try to compensate for the distance between our body and the screen monitor, keyboard and mouse — so we reach forward with our shoulders and arms.

Symptoms include pain when lifting the shoulder up and to the side, but the pain is gone when shoulder blades are squeezed backwards.

Here are some steps you can take to help fix rounded shoulders:

  • Increase awareness: Start by becoming aware of your posture throughout the day. Pay attention to how you sit, stand, and move. Correcting rounded shoulders begins with conscious effort
  • Strengthen the muscles: Focus on strengthening the muscles that support good posture, especially the upper back muscles and the muscles between the shoulder blades
  • Improve posture habits: Be mindful of your posture throughout the day
  • Sit up straight: Keep your shoulders back and down, and avoid slouching while sitting. Use a chair with proper lumbar support if possible
  • Stand tall: When standing, distribute your weight evenly on both feet. Imagine a string pulling you up from the top of your head
  • Take breaks from sitting: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, take regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around
  • Core exercises: Strengthening your core muscles can help support proper posture
  • Seek professional help: If your rounded shoulders persist despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from a physiotherapist or a doctor. They can provide personalized exercises and techniques to address your specific needs

Exercises for rounded shoulders

Remember, fixing rounded shoulders takes time and consistent effort. Incorporate these steps into your daily routine and be patient with the process. Over time, you should notice improvements in your posture and reduced rounding of the shoulders. Some practical exercises include:

  • Rows: Perform exercises like bent-over rows or seated cable rows to target the upper back muscles
  • Reverse flies: Use dumbbells or resistance bands to do reverse flies, which help strengthen the muscles between the shoulder blades
  • YTW exercises: Lie face down on an exercise ball or bench and perform Y, T, and W movements with your arms to activate and strengthen the upper back muscles
  • Stretch the chest: Tight chest muscles can contribute to rounded shoulders

Stretching the chest can help alleviate this tightness. Try the following stretches:

Doorway stretch: Stand in a doorway with your arms out to the sides at a 90-degree angle and gently lean forward, feeling a stretch in the front of your chest.
Pectoral stretch: Extend your arm against a shoulder-level wall and rotate your body away from the wall until you feel a stretch in your chest.

Learn more about how to treat rounded shoulders at BodyWorX. 

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Information provided by:

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Victor Chan

OT&P Healthcare

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.

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