Rounded or “hunched” shoulders can result from poor body posture, too many hours bent over your desk or computer, or simply weak back and shoulder muscles. To correct the problem, be aware of your upper body posture, concentrate on standing upright, sitting up straight, and pulling your shoulders back.
To strengthen your shoulders and back, follow an exercise program that includes a combination of stretching and strength training. Core training will also improve your posture as you strengthen the muscles that support your spine from your hips to your neck.
Here are four shoulder and back exercises designed to help you improve your posture:
1. Door Frame Chest Stretch
Stand in the center of a door frame and place your palms high on each side of the doorway and lean forward as you tighten your abdomen and core. Lean into the stretch and hold for 1 minute. Relax and move your palms down the door frame until they are shoulder height and stretch again as you lean out from the doorway. Hold for 1 minute and relax. Move your palms down the door frame to below waist high and then lean forward and stretch and hold for 1 minute.
2. Standing Wall Press
To perform this isometric stretch, stand straight with your back against a wall while ensuring that all parts of your body are in contact with the wall. Start with your palms facing the wall at shoulder height and slide your arms up the wall as high as you can without causing pain, hold for 30 seconds and return to shoulder height and repeat 5 times. Keep your elbows, arms, shoulders glutes and the back of your head in contact with the wall at all times. Move your palms to below shoulder height and repeat the process another 5 times.
3. Cobra Pose
Start on your belly in the prone position with your arms next to your sides and your palms down and legs straight. Tighten the muscles of your lower back and glutes (butt) and raise your head, chest, arms, and legs off the mat. Your hips (and palms if you need support) should be the only part of your body touching the mat. Hold for one minute, relax and repeat if time permits.
4. Shoulder Blade Squeeze
This exercise can be performed at work, sit forward on a chair and tuck your chin into your chest. Inhale, keep your chest high and bend your elbows and pull your arms and shoulder blades back as far as possible and hold 5 seconds. Relax and exhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat as many times as time permits.
Improve your posture and eliminate your hunched shoulders by incorporating these four simple back and shoulder exercises into your daily routine. Mentally check your posture throughout the day and sit up straight and stand tall.