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Categories: Recovery & Rehab

5 Exercises To Correct Rounded Shoulders From Office Work

By Marc Perry / February 20, 2016

Millions of working professionals around the world sit in an office chair all day long, which can significantly affect overall health and posture over time (See: Is A Sedentary Job Affecting Your Health?).

I was invited by Business Insider, which is one of the most popular business websites to contribute an article about correcting rounded shoulders, which is an all too common issue with working professionals.

Here’s a link to the full BusinessInsider.com article:
5 Exercises To Fix Hunchback Posture From Office Work

Article Summary:

Slouching in your office chair every day forces your chest muscles to tighten, which pulls your spine forwards and internally rotates your shoulders. At the same time, your postural muscles in your upper back can loosen and weaken. The clinical term for this condition is Kyphosis.

These 5 corrective exercises can help relieve tension in your chest while strengthening those upper back postural muscles. Chose 3 of the 5 exercises (one must be a chest exercise) to repeat a few times per week:

5 Exercises To Correct Rounded Shoulders

Photos of each exercise are to the right in order.

1) Chest Stretch – 30 seconds both sides for 3 sets

2) Chest Compression – 30 seconds both sides for 3 sets

3) Upper Back Foam Rolling – Roll up and down your upper back, repeat for 3 sets

4) Prone Y Stretch – Hold for 5-10 seconds, complete for 3 sets of 8 rep

5) Close Grip Row – Complete for 3 sets of 15 repetitions

Extra Tips To Correct Rounded Shoulders:

1) Be conscious of your posture

2) Follow a balanced exercise program

3) Use proper ergonomics at work

I want to send a special thanks to the Business Insider team for inviting me as a guest writer and I also want to thank Chris Kirkinis for doing a great job on the photos.

Hope you enjoyed the video and the Business Insider article and please do share with friends!

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30 Comments

  • Kyle says:

    This was very helpful and the video was quick and easy to understand. Thank you for posting.

    • Marc Perry says:

      @Kyle - No problem. Thanks for the comment.

  • Simon says:

    Wow! I can't believe even wall can help correcting rounded shoulders. Thanks Marc!
    Based on the 'pencil test' I don't have rounded shoulders, however I'm interested in trying these exercises.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Simon - Happy you enjoyed the article!

  • saleh says:

    Hi Marc, very informative. In addition to (or as a substituted for) 5, I would add face-pulls (or rope rows to the neck). These are great for rounded shoulders as well as shoulder stability and the rotator cuff.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @saleh - awesome, thanks for sharing.

  • Matt says:

    I've tried the chest stretch several times but I keep feeling it in my upper arm and not the chest.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Matt - Make sure your hand is right at, or slightly higher than chest level. In addition, what has become my favorite exercise for correcting rounded shoulders which I do not have in this list is using a massage ball against the upper traps and front part of the traps, which is where a lot of people have a lot of tension and "store" their stress. One more thing, I wouldn't stretch your chest cold, usually during/after a workout is best.

  • sheila says:

    I just pinned this on pinterest. I have rounded shoulders and hopefully this will help!

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @sheila - Thanks sheila!

  • Jennifer says:

    Great tips. I'm definitely gonna try 'em out. Just a q though. With the tennis ball exercise, is that just rolling it around high up on the chest below the collar bone? Or around the whole chest area? If so, I feel a little put-off seeing as I have a lot of 'female fat' on my chest *cough*, and am not too keen on yanking any skin around needlessly.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Jennifer - good point. I would recommend the upper part of your chest and especially where your chest meets your shoulder muscles, that's where trigger points and muscle knots can form. And one thing I forgot to mention in the article is the upper back. Definitely use the ball on your upper back to help lessen the tension in your neck/shoulders. Your shoulders will fall back and relax naturally.

  • Seb says:

    On a random day should you do this one, twice or more ?
    For example on Monday I would do this once , twice , or more?

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Seb - It's really up to you. You could do it once per day, or before your workout, which is what I do. You can choose one, or a few of the exercises, or all of them. It depends on your schedule and how much you need to help your posture.

  • Seb says:

    ok thanks for answering my question even though your very busy !!!!!

  • beth says:

    I find your articles/videos to be very insightful. Having worked in spine injury medicine as a midlevel health care practitioner and then experiencing a t-spine fracture and soft tissue injury from a skydiving injury a decade ago (with subsequent treatment for chronic neck, upper back, shoulder, and chest pain by a couple of well-respected physical therapists over the years, I have to say, that I think your problem-oriented approach to fitness is, to me, quite profound. Some serious props to your exercise recommendations on this one. Thanks!

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @beth - thank you so much for the kind comment!

  • Melissa Dorai says:

    Thanks Marc! I found out i have rounded shoulders amongst other postural problems today from a chiropractor, will try these exercises out!

    • Kristin Rooke, CPT says:

      Awesome! While it's not fun to find out that you have postural problems, it's great that you have the motivation to correct them. I'm really glad you found this article helpful. Definitely give these exercises a try, and let us know how it goes. If you're interested, I would also recommend trying this workout to fix poor posture. Good luck!

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

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