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Dear Dr. Bell, What type of exercise should I do to prevent (reverse) my shoulders that curb toward the front of my chest? Thanks, Donald
First, understand you have a 2-part problem. “Rounded Shoulders” are typically caused by Hypertonic (overly strong-overly tight) chest, anterior deltoids and Internal Rotators. The other part of the equation is weakened and stretched Upper Back muscles and External Rotators. Therefore, you will need to stretch the hypertonic muscles and strengthen the weaker muscles.
Follow the Flexibility Guidelines listed in the “Book on Personal Training” i.e., never stretch “cold muscles,” never go to the point of pain, never hold a stretch for over 90 seconds, etc. Also, remember a flexibility session lasts for 4 hours, your muscles with begin to tighten up again, 4 hours post your stretching session. In order to make rapid improvements, you will be required to perform a Warm-Up and stretching session 2-3 times/day.
The exercises for rounded shoulders you need to increase strength of the Upper Back muscles are:
(1) Bent-Over-Reverse Dumbbell Flyes
(2) Seated Rows with full scapula retraction
(3) Lat Pull Downs with full scapula retraction and depression
(4) External Rotation exercises
To correct the imbalances, you will need to perform 3 exercises for the WEAK side, for every exercise you do for the strong side. It is important to keep all the sets in the same Rep Range ( i.e: 15 RM).
Hopefully, you are not experiencing any pain or loss of function. You must begin immediately, to avoid serious problems later. The more misaligned your shoulders become, the more painful and dysfunctional it becomes!
You must start a prevention program now, to prevent serious problems later.