5 Minute Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders

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5 Minute Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders

In today's modern lifestyle, prolonged periods of sedentary behavior, particularly for those working at desks for extended hours, have become all too common.

Unfortunately, this often leads to the adoption of incorrect postures, with the head protruding forward and upward, exerting excessive strain on the neck.

Over time, this can result in a myriad of discomforts, including lower back pain, neck stiffness, and shoulder aches, among other work-related musculoskeletal issues.

Research by EU-OSHA in 2019 highlighted that Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are a primary concern for 60% of workers facing work-related health challenges, with a significant portion, 43%, experiencing issues with their upper limbs and shoulders.

One of the prevalent manifestations of poor posture is rounded shoulders, affecting not only adults but also adolescents and university students.

Studies have indicated that approximately 36% of young individuals exhibit uneven shoulder levels due to habitual shoulder rolling.

Moreover, the prevalence of rounded shoulder posture (RSP) extends beyond mere physical discomfort, with over 80% of patients diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome also presenting with abnormal shoulder rounding.

Recent research targeting individuals aged 20 to 50 has revealed alarming statistics, with 73% exhibiting a right-sided rounded shoulder and 66% displaying the same on their left side.

Furthermore, investigations have unveiled a noteworthy correlation between self-esteem and posture, indicating that lower self-esteem tends to coincide with a more pronounced rounded shoulder posture. This underscores the intricate interplay between psychological well-being and bodily alignment.

What Are Rounded Shoulders

It is important to first understand what rounded shoulders are before we start trying to fix this issue.

rounded shoulders

The term "rounded shoulders" refers to an abnormal resting position of your shoulders that causes the body to move ahead of normal body alignments causing it to look like someone’s barely hinging.

How Do You Get Rounded Shoulders?

Rounded shoulders make your body language look weak and completely disturb your body posture. Many factors contribute to the position of rounded shoulders: increased usage of smartphones, sitting on your office chair for extended periods, driving vehicles for longer durations, laborers carrying and lifting heavy objects, etc.

It is important to note that these are chores that are essential in some people’s daily lives. Therefore, rather than avoiding not doing these, we can try exercises that help us keep our original body posture after a long day at work.

What Do Rounded Shoulders Look Like?

Imagine standing or sitting with your upper back curved forward as if you're trying to hug yourself. That's what rounded shoulders look like. Instead of having a straight posture with your shoulders comfortably back, they roll forward and inward, making your upper body slump forward.

Visually, it's like your upper body is leaning forward, almost like you're carrying a heavy backpack on your shoulders even when you're not. This can make your chest seem smaller and your upper back more rounded than it should be.

Best Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders

5 Minute Exercise Video to Fix Round Shoulders

Additional Rounded Shoulder Exercises


The reverse shoulder stretch as the name implies is a stretching exercise that stretches shoulders to the back, therefore, opening your chest at the front.

reverse shoulder stretch

If you notice closely, your biceps are also involved here. Thus helping you improve the biceps muscles as well.

One thing to keep in mind here is that you should check how much flexible your arms and shoulders are. This greatly depends upon your muscle mass. That being said, you should adjust your range of motion in this exercise accordingly to reduce any excessive pain.

To perform this, grasp your hands behind your back with the thumbs pointing downwards.

Remember that you should be standing straight.

Stretch for 20-25 seconds and contract. You can do this for 2-3 sets for best results.


The chest doorway stretch is perhaps the most easiest and effective exercise on this list.

chest doorway stretch

To perform this. Stand next to a doorway at a distance of 1 foot. Make sure to open your hands and place your palms pressing up against the wall. The arms should be in a vertical position so that they are parallel to the doorway.

Now you should put one of your steps on the other side of the doorway and bring your whole body forward. Doing this creates a stretch and hence completes a single rep of the exercise. Keep doing multiple sets for 30 seconds at max. You will feel a significant improvement in your shoulders and hence improve.


This stretching exercise involves the usage of a stretching band which is the primary key to performing this action.

band pull apart stretch

Consider a position where you are standing straight. Now stretch the band in a manner that your lower body and upper body do not bend. Not even an inch. Now pull your hands and arms back to the extent that they become parallel with your body. Now relax and return to the original state of the exercise. For best results, do 10 reps with 2-3 sets each.

How Long Does It Take to Fix Rounded Shoulders?

Fixing rounded shoulders is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Just as our bodies differ, so does the time it takes to correct this posture issue. It's a process that hinges on individual factors, including body type and how diligently one sticks to corrective exercises.

In an ideal scenario, with consistent effort and commitment to posture-improving exercises, noticeable improvements can emerge within a couple of weeks. However, it's crucial to recognize that rounded shoulders often stem from ingrained habits and the demands of certain occupations. Consequently, inconsistency in exercise routines can prolong the timeline for improvement.

How to Avoid Having Rounded Shoulders

Avoiding rounded shoulders involves adopting good posture habits and incorporating exercises that strengthen the muscles responsible for maintaining proper shoulder alignment. Here are some tips to help prevent rounded shoulders:

Maintain Proper Posture: Be mindful of your posture throughout the day. Sit and stand tall with your shoulders pulled back and down, and your spine aligned.

Take Regular Breaks: If you work at a desk, take breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around every hour. This helps prevent slouching and relieves tension in your shoulders and upper back.

Ergonomic Setup: Ensure your workspace is ergonomically designed. Adjust your chair, desk, and computer monitor to promote a neutral spine and encourage proper shoulder alignment.

Strengthen Back Muscles: Incorporate exercises that target the muscles of the upper back, such as rows, reverse flyes, and lat pulldowns. Strengthening these muscles helps counteract the forward pull of rounded shoulders.

Stretch Chest Muscles: Stretching the chest muscles can help alleviate tightness that contributes to rounded shoulders. Perform chest stretches regularly to improve flexibility and prevent muscle imbalances.

Can Rounded Shoulders Be Fixed By Stretching or do I need to strengthen my muscles too?

Both stretching and strengthening exercises are important components of addressing rounded shoulders effectively. While stretching helps alleviate tightness and improve flexibility in the muscles that contribute to rounded shoulders, strengthening exercises are essential for correcting muscular imbalances and promoting proper shoulder alignment.

Stretching: Stretching exercises target the muscles that tend to become tight and contribute to rounded shoulders, such as the chest (pectoral muscles), front of the shoulders (anterior deltoids), and upper back (trapezius and rhomboid muscles).

Strengthening: Strengthening exercises focus on the muscles of the upper back, particularly the rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius, and rear deltoids. By strengthening these muscles, you can counteract the forward pull of rounded shoulders and promote proper shoulder alignment.

Wrapping Up

Remember, correcting rounded shoulders is not just about physical health; it also brings personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. As you make progress in improving your posture and relieving discomfort, you'll experience the benefits of better overall well-being and confidence in your body.

So, commit to these exercises, stay consistent, and celebrate each step forward in your journey to healthier, more aligned shoulders. Your body will thank you, and you'll reap the rewards of improved posture and enhanced self-esteem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Rounded Shoulders Genetic

It is known in some cases that sometimes rounded shoulders can be genetic. But more prominently, this is a result of the physical activities that you do throughout the day.

Do Rounded Shoulders Affect Breathing

Yes, as rounded shoulders can contract the muscles located in the rib cage area. This can cause people to take shorter breaths which affects the breathing style of a normal human.

Can Yoga or Pilates Help with Rounded Shoulders?

Pilate and Yoga exercises are designed to increase the blood flow thus making a specific part of the human body more active. So generally, this means a better shoulder position as well.

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