If that made you look then you came to the right place.
Not only are rounded shoulders an unattractive look but they can lead to a host of joint issues ranging from shoulder pain, neck pain, or even mid to lower back pain.
If you currently look like Mr. Burns and are not feeling any of those symptoms then it is not a matter of “if” but only a matter of “When” you do.
So you should probably still pay attention to the forth coming information.
If you are currently looking like Mr. Burns and DO feel the above symptoms then relax… – I got your back; pun definitely intended (I’m such a nerd – haha).
The first question we should ask is can actually fix these postural issues?
And if so where do we start?
I answered that question here è http://stowetrainingsystems.com/?p=584
I’ll wait a minute while you breeze through that and so we can get the ball rolling……
Let’s continue then….
At this point I will assume that you have begun to address the mobility issues at the center of your body (Glutes and hip flexors) and are ready to move up the kinetic chain and take a direct plan of attack for your Mr. Burn’s shoulders.
Here is an excerpt from the article I linked you to previously discussing the author’s view on what causes “Rounded Shoulder”.
“The problem: The sternoclavicular joints are unstable, therefore the body recruits the pectoris minor muscles to stabilize the joint. This brings the shoulder forward. With the shoulder forward, the upper trap turns on helping to support the shoulder from the neck. There is also a relationship with the thoracic spine & the sternum. The exercise described recruits global muscles to do the work of the postural muscles what happens is that for a short period of time holding through these muscles works then the muscles fatigue and the person falls back into the poor posture.
The fix: Lie facedown on the floor, with each arm at a 90-degree angle in the high-five position. Without changing your elbow angle, raise both arms by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds. That’s one rep; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily. Changing posture has to happen by working the postural muscles which are deep to the global muscles.”
In case you missed it, you can view the full article here è http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/07/07/6-bad-postures-that-are-ruining-your-health-and-how-to-correct-them/
Ok, some pretty technical stuff there and definitely not Innacurate.
To start with the author states that “There is a relationship between the thoracic spine and sternum” in passing.
I would argue that this relationship IS the MAIN issue and not simply “oh yeah, those are also involved”.
Rounded shoulders are not a shoulder issue.
They are a shoulder BLADE issue…..
As such the deconditioned client with rounded shoulders should would be better served by beginning with the “Prone A” instead of the “Prone T” as suggested.
When we lower our hands to the “A” vs. the “T” we will begin to recruit more of our lower/mid trapezius muscle as well as the rhomboids. These are all much larger and more centrally located than your rear delt muscles. The will be the engine that is driving this synergistic relationship instead of merely a passenger car.
Just check out how large the “green and blue” muscles are on the diagram vs. the “pink” muscle group.
Without an exercise science degree I am sure that you can quickly tell which one is more powerful and therefore more capable of retracting and depressing your shoulder blades back into correct anatomical positioning.
Here is a quick video from respected coach Nick Tumminellio for those auditory learners out there:
[video_player type=”youtube” width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]IGh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL3dhdGNoP3Y9dFE4WDVkTXpIcTQ=[/video_player]
By getting the shoulder blades stronger 1st they will allow you to target the rear delts with much greater ease.
If we target the rear delts without 1st addressing the shoulder blades as suggested in the article then they will continue to dominate the kinetic chain and your shoulder’s will continue to look like Mr. Burns.
However if we get the shoulder blades to perform correctly 1st then the shoulders will basically just “follow along” and end up in the correct place.
A problem that I encounter often when I try to teach a new client the “T” befoe they learn the “A” is that their “upper trap is turned on”.
In short; when the elbows are raised to the “T” position new clients tend to hunch up their shoulders instead of actually retracting them.
Again it goes back to experience vs. education.
While techincally choosing this exercise to target the rear delt muscles is a good choice – in the real world folks are such “motor morons” that they simply CAN NOT squeeze the appropriate muscle.
No matter how hard they try….
You simply don’t know what you don’t know.
Their body doesn’t know what “correct” feels like so they butcher the exercise while never being the wiser.
In this case their body literally just doesn’t know how to retract and depress the correct muscle. By changing the angle of the arm we put the body at angles and leverages that make it much, much easier to get the exercise “right”.
The client isn’t asked to do something that they can’t do yet.
Kinda like trying to learn how to multiply when you don’t know how to add. It’s going to be a lot tougher.
Total body tension needs to be considered as well.
The tighter the body the less energy leak we will have.
Imagine for a second your car is pinning a loved one beneath it and you need to lift if off the ground in order to save their life. It is the only way.
You would instinctively take a deep breath and tense up as much as possible in an sub-concsious effort to use every motor neuron and muscle fiber available in your body.
The tighter the body and the more tension you can create; the stronger you are going to be. It prevents energy from being leaked.
Same thing even on a simple exercise like this.
By making a fist and squeezing it hard (or even better squeezing a tennis ball in each hand) you will create more tension throughout your body.
This will lead to greater motor neuron recruitment and activation and thus to stronger muscles that are capable of fighting off gravity 24/7 – placing your shoulders in an ideal position.
So in short by switching our hand placement from a “High five” position to an “A” position and making a fist we effectively:
A) Make the exercise more user friendly/idiot proof if you will. Leverage and anatomy is on our side
B) Recruit larger muscles that will dominate the synergistic relationship of the shoulder complex and lead to a favorable result in much less time
C) Create maximum tension throughout the body resulting in greater motor neuron recruitment and thus a quicker result
For the visual learners out there:
Here is the exercise that was suggested:
[video_player type=”youtube” width=”300″ height=”169″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20vd2F0Y2g/dj1Pa0c3VXpqX2QzOA==[/video_player]
Do note that I did not shoot the video specifically for this article so I was making a fist and had slightly different elbow positioning. However, the take home point is the drastic differences in the chose range of motion
This is the simple change in hand positions that will greatly increase the effectiveness of fixing rounded shoulders in the deconditioned:
[video_player type=”youtube” width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]IGh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL3dhdGNoP3Y9T1pKM1FLQXlBcFE=[/video_player]
Drastically more so.
The devil is in the details.
So go grab some tennis balls and start working on those shoulder blades Mr. Burns.
Next up we will address that forward head of yours.