Correct Rounded Shoulders for Better Performance and Appearance by taoyni


									Correct Rounded Shoulders for Better Performance and Appearance

Posture is one of the major limiting factors to our fitness and health. We all
know people – men and women alike – who have rounded shoulders and a
forward head posture. If you are one of those unfortunate people who are
confined to a desk job, or spend lots of time reading or at a computer, this
is probably the type of faulty posture you exhibit. These folks are at serious
risk of shoulder and spinal injuries, and it just looks bad to the eye.

When I first see a client with this type of posture, I usually know which
muscles are shortened and tight, and which are long and weak. The tight
muscles typically include all the muscles of the neck, upper trapezius,
pectorals, and latissimus dorsi. The approach I take, which I learned from
the best at the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), is a corrective
exercise strategy utilizing a combination of flexibility and resistance

After warming up for 5-10 minutes, you can begin stretching the shortened
muscles so they start getting back to their optimal length. Then, and only
after warming up and stretching, do we engage in resistance training to
shorten the long and weak muscles, which will also stretch out the opposite
aforementioned tight and shortened muscles. The exercise of choice for
correcting posture is called the “Cobra.” This exercise can be done on the
floor, with an exercise ball, standing, or on a bench.

The most common and easiest way to perform the Cobra is on the floor, so
I will explain that mode in more detail. First, lie face down (prone) on the
floor with your arms stretched out in front of you, palms down. Next,
tighten your abdominal muscles as you bring your outstretched arms back
to approximately 45 degrees from the side of your body, as you rotate your
hands back, so that your thumbs are pointing upward. At the same time,
you need to gradually lift your chest. If you perform the exercise correctly,
you will feel your shoulders going down and back, and your chest opening
up. Finally, keep your gaze down, so that your neck is inline with your spine
and your head does not drop down, as you lift your upper body. Start with
10-12 repetitions, slowly and with control, and without added weight. If you
consider yourself a novice in the weight room, consult with a NASM-certified
personal trainer (CPT), to make sure you are doing the exercise correctly,
and to learn about other stretching exercises.

Good luck and be consistent!

- Rory McKeown, MS, CPT, IFS, PES

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