Pretty much everyone nowadays has some type of Kyphosis, otherwise known as the rounding of the upper back or rounded shoulders. Most of the time this is due to our poor posture.
We’ve spoken before about how everything in our body is a system of systems. When one system isn’t performing the way it should then other systems take the brunt of the slack.
When looking at a rounded upper back we tend to see one of the most common faults in the system: the shoulder falling forward and the neck way over the shoulders. This leads to rounded shoulders.
When these problems occur then you end up creating a whole other level of problems internally and not just externally. If you are someone who works behind a computer and sits all day, then you have felt this sense of tiredness. Even in a person who works in a bulletproof vest or carries a ruck or some type of pack for a living we see shortness of breath.
All of these things create tight chest muscles. When the chest muscles tighten, from there the shoulders start to be pull forward, as the neck starts to lean way in front of the shoulders and the upper back is rounded. What we don’t realize is we are cutting off the lung's ability to fully expand due to the rib cage being compressed down and in.
Exercises for Rounded Shoulders
There are a couple of things we can do with exercise to fix this poor posture you’ve created, but it all starts with awareness of how rounded shoulders are caused. No one did this to you but yourself, and we have to correct it ourselves now!
Start by standing more throughout the day and focus on rolling the shoulders down and back or back and down, whichever way you feel your body understands how to make this happen. Get a standup desk, or work by taking a knee or in a tall kneeling position. If you feel like you are getting tired, stand up and align yourself, using a wall if need be, and take 5 big slow inhales and exhales to help get as much oxygen as possible.
Here is a corrective protocol I’ve used to help get rid of the rounding of the shoulders and kyphosis of the upper back. The flow here is mobilization into creating range of motion into activation:
- Foam Roller Snow Angels
- Prone T-Spine Rotations
- External Rotation Door Stretch w Neck Rotation
- Pec Minor Door Stretch w Arm Raise
- Banded Pull Apart Internal to External Rotation
- Protraction Banded Shoulder Raises
Look to perform these exercises 2-3 times a week. Then follow it up by being more mindful of your posture throughout the day.