How to Fix Rounded Shoulders and Correct Your Posture

UK Fitness Pro
UK Fitness Pro
· 6 min read
A woman fixing her rounded shoulders.

Do you believe you used to be taller? Are you concerned about your hunchback posture? Do you often complain of neck or back pain? Headache or dizziness?

These signs might be how your body is telling you that you have rounded shoulders.

Keep tuned to find out what they are, how to rehabilitate rounded shoulders, and how to fix rounded shoulders while lying down.

Rounded Shoulders: What Are They?

Rounded shoulders are a type of poor posture you assume when you have muscle imbalance across your chest, shoulder, and back muscles. 

Normally, these muscles act together to stabilise your upper body, allow for movement, and provide proper posture. Unfortunately, some of your daily habits may shorten your chest muscles and weaken your back and scapular muscles. 

As a result, this muscle imbalance pulls your shoulders forward and gives you the rounded-shoulder appearance you dislike. 

What Causes Rounded Shoulders in My Daily Habits?

Rounded shoulders often result from poor posture habits developed over long periods of time, especially in office workers who spend extensive hours in front of a computer. This prolonged positioning encourages a forward position of the shoulders and a forward head posture, having a negative impact on the person’s overall posture. These habits are reinforced by a person's daily activities and can lead to chronic postural issues if not addressed.

In general, rounded shoulders can be a result of: 

  • Poor sitting posture on a desk for a long time
  • Slumping while using a phone or a laptop
  • Sitting for long periods every day
  • A sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
  • Frequent bending and carrying heavy weights

Are Rounded Shoulders Dangerous?

If you have rounded shoulders, you may not be able to stand tall, and you may think you do not look your best. Of course, looking good is important, but this is not the most worrisome thing about rounded shoulders. As a matter of fact, rounded shoulders may result in more serious problems such as: 

  • Neck pain, shoulder pain, and lower back pain
  • Increased load on your cervical and dorsal spine
  • Limited shoulder movement
  • Shoulder impingement and rotator cuff problems
  • Increased friction in your shoulder joint
  • Abnormal curvature of the rest of your spine

For these reasons, it is essential to improve your posture and correct your shoulder position to protect your joints and spine. 

How Long Does it Take to Fix Rounded Shoulders?

Improvement in your rounded shoulders depends on the cause and chronicity of your condition. In some cases, obvious postural and functional improvements can be seen in 4–6 weeks. Yet, when you have ignored your problem for too long, changes in your tissue structure and neural integrity can take longer.

These changes lead to: 

  • Shortening in your connective tissues (e.g., ligaments and capsules)
  • Inhibition of the weak muscles (e.g., back and scapular muscles)
  • Tightness and shortening of some muscles (e.g., chest muscles)
  • Restriction of the fascia
  • Limited joint range of movement

These changes can make your rounded shoulder posture correction journey longer.

For instance, strengthening a weak muscle takes a short time before noticeable results are seen. But reactivating or re-educating an inhibited muscle takes longer because your brain has forgotten the muscle's action, and it takes a little longer to re-engram it in your brain. 

When this is the case, fixing rounded shoulders can take up to 4 months. 

Rounded Shoulders Exercises: The Ultimate Solution

Rounded shoulders are a part of overall bad posture, often accompanying thoracic kyphosis (excessive curvature of the upper spine) and "text neck" (when your neck slopes forward, as if you're looking at your phone), leading to a rounder shoulder and forward head position. Correcting this issue involves stretching tight muscles, strengthening weak postural muscles, and adopting habits that promote better posture. Below, we explore effective exercises and tools like the foam roller, tennis ball, and resistance band to realign the shoulders and improve posture.

1. Stretching and Flexibility Exercises

Stretching for rounded shoulders exercises must target your tight chest, neck and shoulder muscles. Try some of the following exercises to help address your rounded shoulder position: 

  • Doorway stretchesStand in the doorway with your arms at 90 degrees (T-shape) at your side, step, and lean forward while keeping your arms on the door frame. This exercise will stretch your pectoral (chest) muscles and fascia and improve your posture. After holding the stretch for 30 seconds and repeating 3-5 times, change your arm position to form a V-shape and repeat the exercise.
  • Neck muscles stretchSit on a chair with one hand holding the chair at the lowest point you can reach. With your other hand, hold your head, tuck your chin in and pull your head to the side until you feel the stretch in your neck muscles. You can bend your head slightly or rotate it to the other side at different angles to stretch different fibres of your neck muscles.  
  • Wall stretch and wall angelsThese simple exercises are effective for achieving a deep stretch in the chest and shoulders. Performed against a wall, they help correct the resting shoulder position and guide the body towards a neutral position. This simple test of flexibility involves standing with your back against a wall, elbows and wrists pressed to the wall, and slowly sliding your arms over your head to stretch the front of the rib cage and open the chest.
  • McKenzie Exercise and Use of a Doorframe: Specific exercises like the McKenzie exercise, which involves extension movements to correct forward head posture and using a doorframe for stretches, can be seamlessly integrated into everyday activities. Here's a video of a physical therapist demonstrating these exercises.
  • Thoracic extensions and handclasp stretch: Utilising a foam roller for thoracic extensions and performing the handclasp stretch behind the back can significantly improve the flexibility and range of motion of the thoracic spine and shoulders.
  • Scapular Wall Press: One of the most common ways to employ corrective exercise for rounded shoulders is the "Scapular Wall Press." This involves standing with your back to a wall, elbows bent at 90 degrees, and pressing your forearms against the wall without allowing your back or shoulders to lose contact with the wall surface. Upper back exercises like this strengthen the scapular muscles, crucial for correcting rounded shoulders.
  • Lying down: That’s right! You can correct your rounded shoulders while lying down on your back. All you need to do is place a rolled towel between your shoulder blades. This position will help you stretch your chest and shoulder muscles quickly and effectively.

2. Strengthening Exercises 

Strengthening exercises must target your back muscles to correct the position of the shoulder blades and shoulders. 

  • Superman exercise: Lie on your stomach with your arms in a Superman position, raise your straight arms towards the ceiling and squeeze your shoulder blades as much as you can. Repeat this movement 10-12 times. Change your arm shape to T (arms straight out at shoulder level) and inverted V shape to engage all your back and scapular muscles.
  • Shoulder exercises: Specific exercises targeting the shoulders and upper back can enhance muscle strength and promote a neutral shoulder position. The best exercises include shoulder presses and reverse flys with light to heavy objects (e.g., dumbbells) tailored to your capacity to encourage correct posture.

3. Core Stability

Strengthening the core muscles is crucial for maintaining the body’s natural state of alignment. Because good posture starts at the core, core stability exercises are a vital part of your plan. Strengthen your core by performing diaphragmatic training, breathing exercises, pelvic floor exercises, and abdominal strengthening. For instance, exercises like planks and dead bugs help stabilise the core, essential for a correct shoulder position and better posture. These exercises will help you achieve the best results and will prevent the recurrence of your rounded shoulders. 

Tools for Addressing Rounded Shoulders

  • Foam roller and tennis ball: These tools are excellent for targeting tight chest muscles and the latissimus dorsi, which can contribute to rounded shoulders. By lying on a foam roller placed along the thoracic spine and using a tennis ball to massage tight areas, individuals can work towards releasing tension and improving their range of motion.
  • Resistance band: Incorporating resistance band exercises can strengthen the shoulder function and correct muscle imbalances. Basic exercises like band pull-aparts help activate and strengthen the postural muscles necessary for maintaining the body’s ideal alignment.

Maintaining Correct Posture

Achieving and maintaining correct posture is a continuous process that involves being mindful of one’s posture during daily activities. Incorporating the aforementioned corrective exercises and stretches into your routine, along with regular physical activity, can significantly improve rounded shoulders and overall posture. Remember, consistency is key to returning the shoulders to their correct position and promoting the body’s ideal alignment.

Correct Your Posture With an Expert

Do you think correcting your posture with an expert personal trainer would be easier and faster? You're right! People often have better, faster, and long-lasting results when their rehabilitation programme is customised by a local personal trainer. Customised programmes target your problems and focus on solving them. Maybe now is the time to start working with a top personal trainer in London.


Addressing rounded shoulders, a common issue resulting from daily tasks and poor posture habits requires dedication and the right approach. Utilising tools like foam rollers, tennis balls, and resistance bands, alongside engaging in a handful of exercises focused on strengthening the lower traps, upper back, and core, can significantly improve shoulder posture. Simple stretches and specific shoulder stretches, especially for the back of your shoulder, offer a simple way to enhance flexibility and correct posture. Although fixing rounded shoulders involves hard work and may take a lot of time, incorporating these corrective exercises into your routine is the best way to achieve better posture and restore your physical body to its ideal alignment.

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