What Are Rounded Shoulders?

Rounded shoulders refer to a muscular strength imbalance between the shoulder and chest muscles. It is when there is a “rounding” of the shoulders due to an excessive internal rotation at the shoulder blade (scapula) and a restriction of the upper chest (pectorals and rib cage). This leads to tightness and pain of the shoulder and neck areas, forward head posture, and shallow breathing.


How Does This Happen?

Rounded shoulders are mainly caused by poor posture, constantly bending over, having top-heavy workloads/workouts, and staring down at screens. These activities can exaggerate internal rotation at the shoulders, making the upper chest muscles tighter while the core and trunk muscles become under activated. This poor posture can occur concurrently with anterior hip tilt, forward head posture, upper crossed syndrome, and lumbo-pelvic instability.

Signs of Rounded Shoulders

  • Hunched over posture
  • Internal rotation at the shoulders
  • Tightness and pain of the neck and shoulders
  • Shallowness of breath


How Do You Fix Rounded Shoulders?

To address rounded shoulders, it is important to release the tight upper chest muscles while strengthening the core. We would recommend the following exercises:

  • Release – pec minor/major & teres major
  • Activate – external rotator cuff (infraspinatus, teres minor) beggar’s pose 2×20
  • Integrate – 4 point to db retraction and contralateral hip extension 2×20
  • Strengthen – hip hinge to band straight arm pull down 2×20