With a light dumbbell, and a stretching exercise or two, it is very easy to correct rounded shoulders. A couple of minutes each session done twice monthly are all you need. Correcting a rounded shoulder improves your spinal posture, which is desirable because with uneven alignment, the discs between your backbones will wear out more quickly. Further standing sitting and moving in a good posture make clothes look good on you. You might look shorter with rounded shoulders and spine. This article shows you how to correct this very simple problem.
Practice good posture at all times. For a few people, stretching and corrective exercises are not necessary; these people are able to maintain a good posture just because it makes sense and they are constantly aware of their posture. To practice good posture, have a good posture in all situations: standing, sitting, walking, playing, working, and lifting.
• Good posture consists of keeping the spine straight and carrying the shoulders neither rounded nor pulled back.
• Maintain this posture even when bent over at the waist while working, playing or lifting.
• Occasionally check your posture in the mirror and always have a feel for what is good posture.
Understand the importance of good posture
• Mechanically, it is easier on your lower back if your weight is not shifted forward such as it is when you round your shoulders.
• Your joints will hurt the least, or not at all, if they are seated properly.
• Anatomically, your spines have holes (foramens) that house nerves, so you do not want to damage those nerves by bending or twisting the spine excessively. The spine, for the most part, was not really designed for bending or twisting a lot. Bending is best done with the knees and at the waist (hips). Look at a skeleton and muscle chart of the inter spinal muscles, and you will see that they are small and short.
• The long and bigger muscles facilitate wide ranges of movements such as the latissimus dorsi or ''lats or wings''. The lats pull the upper arm towards the body in a downwards motion and is a strong muscle. But once the upper arm passes body, the lats no longer come into play because muscles can only contract. The smaller muscles like the rhomboid and back deltoids pull the upper arm further back.
Understand the dynamics of a shoulder joint. Think of a joint as an electric, telephone and cable utility pole, on the side of the road, with guy wires on either side. If the tension is too great on one side, there will be stress on the pole or ground. A shoulder joint has chest muscles normally shortening and pulling the shoulders forward. To correct the shoulders from hunching forward, stretch your chest muscles and/or strengthen the muscles of your upper back that pull your upper arm beyond the center line. These muscles are the rhomboids and posterior deltoids.
Stretch. Stretching exercises and body awareness may be enough for you. Warm-up or be warm before stretching. A warm-up can be an ordinary activity like housework or walking. Being warm can be from working or from taking a thorough, warm bath. Since the muscles to be stretched are so small, a specific warm up is easily done by swinging your arms side wards and horizontally for a couple of minutes. Or, your warm-up could be athletic (hitting a ball), aerobic (reaching side to side or forward), or freestyle (e.g. shadowboxing).
Do the chest stretch, when warm, as much as you like or as infrequently as once a week. Hold the position for at least 20 seconds. An important point is to stretch your chest muscles and not your spine or hips; the stretch you feel should just be in your chest.
There are other variations that work well, such as with the arms straight, with the the assistance of a partner, or lying on a bench, on your back, and letting your arms hang (halfway between just hanging down and hanging down from the crucifix position.
Practice these additional exercises as a supplement to the main chest stretch or do these instead if you do not like the chest stretch. The chest stretch on the doorway or corner, as explained previously is an excellent stretching exercise for everybody.
Twice a month, do a bent-over row with a light dumbbell of no more than ten pounds. Strong and big people could use a heavier dumbbell. Exercising more frequently might become boring, and since an exercise routine should be a lifetime activity, just do this about twice a month throughout your life. This exercise works the small muscle in your back called rhomboids and it stretches your chest.
Follow these directions for the rowing exercise for the dumbbell row, the bicycle tube row, or any other variation of the row:
• From the start position, shrug your shoulders back and keep your shoulders tight until you finish this exercise. This is the most important form consideration for this exercise. Tight are not having your shoulders round. Tight is tensing the muscles of your shoulder. With the dumbbell row, the start position is bent-over with your free hand bracing on your knee and with the other hand grasping the dumbbell with the elbows straight.
• Your movements should be mechanical. Mechanical is not fast or slow, but without extreme acceleration or deceleration.
• Keep your back (your spine) straight. Here, having supple muscles, at the back of your legs, allows you to bend over and to keep your back straight. Practice stretching your hamstring muscles if necessary or do a different variation of the row such as seated with a chest support (found in gyms).
• Take care of your elbow by ''braking'' when lowering the dumbbell to the arm extended position. The ligaments in your elbows and shoulders will stop your arm at the extended position; do not allow this to happen. Instead, stop the lowering motion with your muscles. Have some muscular tension so that your shoulder does not round and your arm is not fully relaxed at its extended position. When your arm is extended, keep a slight amount of tension in your arm muscles.
Lift the dumbbell in a curved motion and not in a straight line up and down. From the start position, with the dumbbell hanging down and below your shoulder, the dumbbells follow a curved path to the final position which is lower down your body.
Only in the first repetition is the dumbbell directly below the shoulder. Thereafter, there will be some slight swinging. From the second repetition on, have the dumbbell (in the start, bottom position) slightly in front of the dead hang position under your shoulder. If this paragraph seems confusing at first, reread it after a few sessions of rowing.
Instead of a dumbbell row, do a tube row instead. A specialty bike shop should have a truckload of these tubes for disposal, ask them for some. Cut the tube in half at the nipple and discard the nipple section. Fasten the long tube at ground level and do tube rows.