Watch the video above for a quick guide on how to correct rounded shoulder posture. We asked physiotherapist Jesse Awenus (that's him in the video) from Synergy Sports Medicine in Toronto to comment on why he chose those specific exercises to get you sitting up taller. Here's what he had to say:
How many times have you been told to sit up straight? If you had parents like mine, I bet you heard it a lot. With the pervasive use of technology, everything in our world is in front of us. Texting, emails, and browsing the web all place us in a forward, hunched position which many would deem less than attractive. But the connection between posture and pain isn't as clear as we once thought.
There are some people who have what we could call "terrible" posture who feel great, and there are others with great posture who are always stiff. With that said, there is evidence that suggests that others form beliefs about you based on how you carry yourself. So let's sit up straight and project confidence to the world! Here are three exercises to help you with your power pose.
1) Band pull-behinds:
How to do it:
Standing up straight with a band gripped between your hands in front you, stretched taut so your hands are a bit wider than shoulder width. Slowly raise the band above your head and pull it wider as you bring the band back down behind you. Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades back as you pull the band behind you. If you have a history of shoulder injuries or dislocation, only go as low as you can without pain. Repeat three sets of eight reps.
Why it matters:
Sitting with your shoulders rounded can lead to tightness in the front of your chest, which in turn can also pull your shoulders forward. This exercise is fantastic at opening up the chest, while working the muscles that pull your shoulder blades back to get you feeling more open and free through the shoulders, even after the first set.
2) Belly swimmers:
Lie on your stomach on a yoga mat with your arms at your sides, with elbows bent, in the "hands up" position. From there lift your chest slightly off the ground, extending your upper back up just a few inches while pulling your arms up off the ground by squeezing your shoulder blades together. From there, reach both your arms forward so they are straight on either side of your head, while keeping your chest up and shoulders squeezed back. You should feel a pretty great burn in your upper back and behind your shoulders after just a few reps. To take any pressure out of your lower back, keep your butt tight throughout the exercise. Repeat three sets of eight - 10 reps, progressing as it becomes easier.
Why it matters:
This is one of the best body-weight exercises to strengthen your upper back, shoulder blade and shoulder muscles all at once. Think of this as a way of counteracting all the stuff that you do that pulls your shoulders forwards during the day. Having strong back and shoulder muscles can help prevent neck pain as well. Give it a try and feel the burn.
3) Reverse fly with band:
Sitting on the ground with your legs in front of you, knees slightly bent and feet together, wrap a band around the bottom of your feet. From there, sit up straight and pull the band apart as you pinch your shoulder blades together. You should keep a small bend in the elbows as your arms move away from one another. Do not sway your back as you pull the band apart. Think of the pull being initiated from your shoulder blades. Slowly return the band back to the start position, repeating 3 sets of 12 reps.
Why it matters:
This exercise works the back of the deltoid and rotator cuff, which are both commonly neglected in many gym exercises. Keeping these muscles strong will prevent the forward migration of your shoulders and will keep them healthy to move overhead without that annoying pinch so many of us get after long hours at a desk.
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