How to Fix Rounded Shoulders (GONE IN 4 STEPS!)

How to Fix Rounded Shoulders (GONE IN 4 STEPS!)

JEFF: What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today I want to show you how to fix rounded
shoulders in just four steps. As you can see, Jessie, we fixed Jessie. We did fix Jessie. There we go. Jessie, actually, I’m making fun of him, but
Jessie had terribly rounded shoulders and you can see that in the before and after photo
right here. This was Jessie just months before we started
to train him and I know a lot of you that watch this channel have watched him physically
transform, in terms of the muscle he’s gained, but there’s been more to that. More importantly, it’s sort of been focusing
on the framework first. I don’t believe in building a house off
a crappy foundation. You don’t want to do the same thing when
you’re training. So at the same time we’ve been really working
on his posture. I’m going to show you how, exactly, he did
this so you can do the same thing. There are four parts to fixing your posture,
but maybe you’re not even quite sure exactly if you have it yet. There’s a quick way to do this, okay? Just stand up real quick and put your arms
at your side. Without doing anything I want you to just
look down at the position of your thumbs. I wasn’t trying to set you up at all, but
I want you to look at the position of your thumbs. Jessie’s thumbs, right here, if he were to
just stick them out – just extend your thumbs – his were actually in this direction. At least they’re pointing in this direction,
toward you. But a lot of you might find that your thumbs
are pointing straight at each other because when they’re standing in front, like this,
your arms are actually pointed here because your shoulders are too rounded. Now of course, you can look in the mirror
too, and have validation of that, but the four things you’re going to need to do is,
number one: you’re going to need to work on the joint. Number two: you’re going to have to work on
muscles, in terms of the ones that are too weak, and you need to strengthen. Muscles that are tight, you’re going to need
to stretch, and then we’re going to have work on habits, too. So let’s get started right away with the joint
itself. Okay, so we talked about ‘joint’ and you’re
thinking, probably, what? The shoulder is messed up. If it’s rounded it’s got to be the shoulder. But ironically, it’s not. The joint that you’re going to really want
to focus on the most is your back. More specifically, your mid-back; the thoracic
spine. What happens is, this gets really, really,
adaptably tight on most of us, and when it does, and it starts to round out what does
it do? It takes everything with it. Not just the head, but the shoulders come
with it. But if we can get an extension through the
thoracic spine everything kind of goes back quickly. It’s a lot a faster way to fix it. Now, if you’re an athlete – which a lot
of our viewers are – you can get a tight, posterior shoulder capsule. If that’s the case you can do the sleeper
stretch I’m showing you right here. That will help to attack the shoulder itself
that might be making the head of the humerus here kind of skirt forward, and be rounded,
but in most cases that’s not necessarily going to be your biggest thing. It’s more likely going to be this mid-back. So what we can do here – I’m trying to keep
this really simple so you don’t have to have a lot of equipment – you can get down
on the floor and do what we think is one of the most effective stretches you can do in
mobilization for the thoracic spine. That is what Jessie’s doing here. He simply puts his arms up, over his head
at about a 45 degree angle, and as he rotates back he tries to rotate, and keep himself,
and his chest wide open. What we’re getting here is, we’re getting
elevation of the arms overhead, but at the same time we’re getting this extension through
the thoracic spine. So that’s opening him up. It’s really easy. All he has to do is work on going to the left,
and to the right side. You do this just a few times each day, or
at least three, or four times a week, and you’ll start to see a huge difference. That’s one of the main things he did to start
opening this are up. If you want to start using equipment you can
feel free to use a foam roller. Put it across the thoracic spine and work
on trying to mobilize through that are. But again, I don’t even think it’s really
that necessary. I think if you’re a little more consistent
with this you’d have a lot better effect from doing that. So now, if we’re going to talk about muscles
we’ve got to see the muscles, right? I talked about Jessie actually making the
transformation, but what we’re concerned about here is, we’ve got to decide what is tight,
and what is weak. If you turn Jessie to the side, and you get
in this position here you can see that we have a series of muscles that are going to
get tight, and we have a series of muscles that are going to get weak. It’s called ‘Upper Cross Syndrome’ because
of the way that they cross each other. So as we get into the dysfunction here, you
get tightness here through the chest, you get tightness here through these muscles in
the upper back. The levator and the traps. Then, at the same time, because all this stuff
gets stretched out we get weakness through a lot of the muscles of the scapula, we get
weakness of the muscles inside the scapula, and we get weakness and tightness of the muscles
inside the neck as well. So what we want to do is, we want to correct
this. So let’s start with the stretching. With the stretching, the two that I’m most
concerned about because he’s got all this internal rotation here of his arms, is the
subscapularis, which is one of the four rotator cuff muscles, but it’s the only one that internally
rotates, as opposed to externally rotates. Then the other thing we get is the pec minor. So, the pec minor is actually a really interesting
one because it comes in from right inside here, and it comes down, and it connects to
the ribs. Now, what that would do – you can see, if
this got tight and I were to pull this down, it’s going to pull the shoulder forward, around
this way, it’s going to pull it down, and it’s going to tilt it this way. It’s going to bring it from here, to here. So all this stuff is obviously horrible if
you have a problem with your rounded shoulders. So we can actually address both of those. So let’s go to the subscapularis first. What Jessie would do if he’s going to stretch
that out is, we know, again, it’s an internal rotator of the shoulder. So we’ve got to get into external rotation. So that means he’s got to take his arm, get
it out, into external rotation as much as he can. So reaching back this way. After he gets in that position he’s going
to hook his arm up, against something. The edge of a doorway is fine. All you’re going to need to do all this stuff
I’m going to show you is a band, and a doorway. Get into this thing here. I’m going to show you from below, here. You’re striding out. Once it’s hooked in here you’re just going
to rotate your chest that way, over there, and try to keep reaching back here. Like that. So Jessie, come on in. so he gets up into position here, external
rotation. It should look like he’s getting ready to
throw a baseball as a pitcher. He strides out, he’s in here, he’s externally
rotated, and now he starts to rotate all this that way. And you can feel all that right inside the
armpit, right? JESSIE: Yeah. JEFF: That’s the thing. You just want to hold that for about 30 seconds
at a time. Again, do it a few times a week. It’s going to really help to loosen it up. Now, for the pec minor here. What he would do is, he would get himself
in the position here, and he’d want to do the opposite of those three things I just
told you. If it’s tilting it forward this way he can
use the edge of the doorway to actually keep it pushed back. So he’s taking the door, pushing into this
to actually hold it back. Once he’s there, the next thing is, he can
pinch his shoulder blades together to get that activated. We’ll show you again here what it looks like,
more in depth. As he gets there, the last thing he needs
to do – if it’s trying to tilt him down, this way – well, he can get it to go up
by raising the arm up. So with that stretch he can feel the pec minor
being stretched right there. JESSIE: Yeah, I can. JEFF: You can see here on the muscle marker,
you can see as he does it how this gets stretched, and elongated just by going through these
three positions. So we actually hit the two biggest problem
areas. The subscapularis and then here, with the
doorway, and we’ve got a big dent into correcting the tightness that’s causing this problem. Now we’ve got to attack the strengthening
side of it. So now we’ve got to get to the muscles. The muscles we have are, again, they’re weak. So if we strengthen them we’re going to help
get this stuff back. We talked about, if the internal rotators
are tight that means, likely, the external rotators are weak. So if we can get the rotator cuff to work,
we’d be doing a good thing. If we can get the rhomboids – the muscles
that pinch the shoulder blades together – we’d be doing a good thing. We’re getting the shoulders back. If we can get the lower traps to work, that
pull the shoulder blades back and set them down, nice and tall, then that would be doing
a good thing, too. If we could also get the serratus anterior
– which is a muscle that’s relied upon for stability of the shoulder blade to get it
nice, and back – then we can do that, too. We need to incorporate all these things into
one exercise, or at least two exercises because I want to try to keep it simple. So we use a band. Remember, just a wall and a band is all that’s
needed. The first one that we do is, you take the
band and – it’s a variation of a pull apart. A pull apart alone is not enough. If we do a regular pull apart, what we want
to do here is make it better. So as we go to open the band up what we’re
going to do is, we’re going to also try to externally rotate. So as he comes and pulls the band apart he
keeps trying to turn his thumbs back. So they’re coming back in this direction,
here. So he doesn’t just keep them here, pointed
up to the ceiling, and just keep going back like this. He wants to go back, and at the same time,
rotate the hands out. Perfect. Now do a couple of them. Now, on the way back he comes in nice, and
slow. And go back again. He’s making sure to not feed into the problem
even more because I told you that these muscles get tight. So show them what would look wrong. If he shrugged this, if you shrug it up as
you go – which a lot of people do – you’re literally defeating the purpose of what you’re
trying to do. So you’ve got to keep these down, and then
you go back, externally rotate the thumbs, all the way back, behind you, and squeeze
it as hard as you can here. Again, he’s keeping this down, he reaches
back, he’s squeezing in through here, externally rotating the thumbs – basically pointing
back toward you at the back there. Good. One more. Pull back. Right there. Good. Now what we’re looking for here – and your
rep scheme should always be – that’s good, Jess, for that one. Your rep scheme should always be 20 sets of
1, rather than 1 set of 20 because quality, quality, quality. The problem is your muscles. They’re there, they’re just not firing right. So if we can get them to fire right we’re
much better off. Now, the last one we want to do is, you want
to work on the serratus. We want to work on the lower traps. So we’ve got to get the arms up, over our
head, and we can do it with the band. So here, now you turn to the side a little
bit. For here, what you’re going to do is, you’re
going to protract your arms out. So once you get in this tall position – get
as nice, and tall as you can from here – now, once you’re here you just reach your arm – right. You reach your arms out just a little bit,
still keeping this nice, and tall, just to get your arms protracted without rounding
the back, because we don’t want to do that. So we’re here, protract. Now, maintaining that protraction there, he’s
going to turn the arms out again into external rotation, just until he has good tension on
the band, and now from here, he’s just going to raise it up, overhead. Just like that. And down. And reset everything. So here, tight, a little protraction, externally
rotate, screw it out, raise the arms up, and come down. Quality reps here, every, single time is going
to be the key for correcting this, and getting these muscles to be fixed. All right, guys. Lastly, we’ve got to talk about the habits
because remember; you didn’t’ get this way in one day. I’m sure as a kid you didn’t walk around like
this all the time. You probably walked around with good posture. You just did things to yourself over the years
that put you in that position. So I’m going to give you one thing, because
I know it’s really hard to overcome this. So you need some sort of feedback. One thing for standing – because we’re going
to spend half the day standing – and one thing for sitting down. When you sit down all you have to do is take
a tennis ball and put it behind your shoulder blades, right here, right there, up against
the back of the chair. What you’re going to find is, the second you
start to fall into that rounded shoulder posture the tennis ball is going to drop behind you
in the chair. So it’s instant feedback that you did something
wrong. So when you sit upright, and you put the tennis
ball back there it’s going to force you to be in a better position. The next thing, when you’re walking around. I always say one thing. “Where is your sternum?” We know the sternum is right here. Right there. Okay, but where’s the top of it? If the top of it is angling down then you’re
in for some trouble because if it’s going down, everything is coming with it. So what you want to do is, you want to try
to lift your sternum. Pretend that the top of your sternum – right
here, at the top of your chest bone – that it’s a glass of water. If you’re letting it tilt, and fall out then
you’re in a bad position. So always keep your sternum full throughout
the day. Keep your sternum up. You can check that throughout the day just
by trying to consciously say “Where am I?” And you’ll instantly know if it’s down you’re
tilting that water. If it’s up, the cup is level; you’re in a
good spot. The last thing – it sort of makes obvious
sense – but if you spend a lot of time behind your desk you’re going to have to get up a
few times during the day. Just break it up every 15 minutes, every 30
minutes; just stand up for a little bit. It just gives you a break in this positioning
here, and it gives you the reminder that, as you get up, you should be doing something
else, too. Which is either checking your sternum, or
remembering to go get that damned tennis ball and put it behind your back, if you’ve forgotten
to, at this point. But the fact is, habits will take some time
to break. But if you’re doing these other things I showed
you here – again, the whole thing doesn’t take that much time. It’s only going to take you about five minutes
to do a couple exercises, or a couple stretches, and a little bit of that mobility work. It’s just the consistency of doing it that’s
going to pay off in the long run, and I guarantee you, you’re going to be able to fix this. I thought this guy was a lost cause. He proved to be otherwise. You could do the same thing. Again, if you’re lifting you want to build
off a solid foundation. If you’re trying to lift off this kind of
foundation, not only is it a bad idea, but you literally, physically cannot get your
arm up, over your head as high if you’re lifting from here because of the block that comes
from having rounded shoulders. So you’re not even going to be as productive
with your lifts. So fix the foundation first, and everything
else will fall into place. If you’re looking for a program that puts
it all in place – because as a physical therapist I care about all these things, it
all matters – all my workout programs contain all the building blocks that you need to put
yourself in the best position, to not just look your best, but function your best. Those are over at In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Make sure you share it with somebody else. We all know somebody that’s got rounded shoulders. Make sure you send it to somebody and help
them fix this problem once, and for all. All right, guys. See you soon.

100 Replies to “How to Fix Rounded Shoulders (GONE IN 4 STEPS!)”

  1. Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how!

  2. Anyone here who have been trying all these? Did it worked? After how long you started seeing results? And the frequency of each exercise as I am a little bit confused.

  3. Joint fix at 2:15 & 2:50

    Stretches at 5:30 & 6:35

    Exercises at 8:15 & 9:50

    I didn't put habits just saying

  4. I'm at my worst point in my posture. I have back aches, collarbone strains, and I looked like a water slide, etc. Doing this routine daily legitimately helped my back and shoulders improve and soreness lessen. This isn't a paid comment, I can reply to yall.

  5. I don't feel any stretch when doing these two exercises:
    5:23/5:43 Subscapularis stretch
    6:34 Pectoralis minor stretch

    When I do the Subscapularis stretch it just hurts in the knuckle/bone in the elbow when pressing the arm against the wall. Does anyone have tips on alternative variations for these stretches?

  6. Interesting that you mention that having your thumbs pointed toward each other indicates that the shoulders are rotated forward. Because the primary human computer data transfer interface (keyboard) requires that the thumbs be pointed inward. Maybe a better keyboard would look something like a keyboard thats been split in half and rotated 90 degrees so you use it on its side, allowing the shoulders to properly relax

  7. So THIS is the cure for the tight thoracic spine I get after 2-3 hours on a road bike?!? Who knew it was so simple.

  8. Come here to fix what i thought I had, only to realise i don't have it lol. Anyways good content as always, dude is legendary when it comes to the body.

  9. Thank you SO much for all the great content ! I have learned so much from your videos and they have helped me tremendously in my PT career. I was wondering if you had any advice for side sleepers? I find it affects my shoulders and even though I have tried to break the habit many times, going as far as sleeping on the floor with 3+ pillows, I always resort to side sleeping due to comfort. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  10. “You probably didn’t walk around like this all the time whenever you were a kid.”
    That’s exactly what happened and that’s exactly why I’m here! Rip my hip flexibility too

  11. I'm getting a little dull pain in my shoulders on some of these exercises . Anyone know if this is bad or I'm just really out of shape?

  12. That elbow to post rotation gave me some instant neck pain relief. My right arm could get a lot farther back than my left one, though?

  13. Im so very thankful for this work being shared…. Much improvement after just a few days. Can breath deeper and feel much more free in my body.
    Such a shift so fast after so many years off suffering. The mind can be so strong and ignorant to our real needs when we dont decide to take charge of our lifes.
    Usually we are just a decision away from anything we want to accomplish. If I had not decided te get my structure in shape I would never had come across this geniouswork.

  14. At 5:00 i think that's what happened to me so now my left side hip, ribs up to clavicle has become misaligned, the bones haved moved up and the medial end of the collarbone pushing on top of the sternum because of years of being in this position in my childhood. I wonder if my rounded shoulders and bone misalignment can still be corrected at 40 if I do these exercises.

  15. This was very helpful! Thank you! I thought I was crazy for thinking my shoulders were starting to push forward lol

  16. The huge problem I have with these pec minor stretches is I don’t need a doorway to keep my shoulder pushed back; if the exercise could isolate my shoulder to ensure a good pec stretch that would be fantastic: instead I have to lean in a little and stick my chest forward in order to get my shoulder to touch even if i look towards the opposite pocket I’m already on stretch and feel nothing i actually have to lean forward and to the side really hard and at that point it feels more like a pec major stretch while I’m straining to make it happen. Please help someone.

  17. If you do a lot of arm curls with heavy weights there's a fair chance you have a bit of a 'bent-arm' look. What Jeff says at 0:57 is so simple but makes such a difference to how you look as you walk down the street.
    Stand in front of a mirror and walk on the spot as you would normally then try it with your palms facing each other and your shoulders back and see what a difference it makes

  18. great material. the anatomical knowledge and precision are very rare, almost never find them elsewhere

  19. Thanks so much for doing a video which actually informs us of a sustainable, ground up approach that leads to longevity. Super helpful!

  20. This plan is like the advanced version of what I was guided through in a physical therapy program for my rather messed up and painful right shoulder. This is the master class. The purpose of my PT was to not be really messed up. This is to get seriously squared away. Next step stuff for a lot of us.

  21. When should I stretch these muscles (pec & sub scap)? before strengthening the other ones or after? Or before bed. Pls someone help

  22. Cheers mate for making it so clear and practical, no complications or stupid machines required 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  23. I've had poor posture and rounded shoulders for years. Just practicing these movements I am feeling a good stretch and blood flow that I've never felt before. Thank you!!

  24. Just wear posture corrector, it really helps. I bought mine at extra 10% OFF at @t it's working for me. I'll observe few more weeks..

  25. The shoulders when they start to round out, they are being pulled by the pecs major muscles, creating forward head posture
    with a upper cross syndrome. The back muscles the ones Jeff points out, the rhomboids are weak, inhibited, this muscle is being
    stretched its tight do to the rounding but they are weak.

  26. I've had good quality work on an upper back injury and from what I can see here? This guy knows what he's talking about. Thanks for taking the time to educate.

  27. Thank you so much Jeff! I have been doing the exercises for only a week and already see changes. It completely cured my traps and neck pain

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  29. I tried this but I had a serious injury I have a pain in lef side neck to toe plz reply me how I fix this. I shall be grateful to you. I fell pullness in my left hand neck shoulder and leg

  30. 1. 2:50, Thoracic spine: Stomach on ground, arms above head 45* angle, rotate back while keeping chest wide open, working your way to the left and right side

    2. 5:48, Subscapularis: 30 seconds: externally rotate arm as much as you can, hook arm against something/doorway, while arm is kept back way rotate your chest forward/in

    3. 07:08, Pec minor: hold should back against door, pinch should blades together, raise arm up

    4: 08:26, Externally rotate arms away with thumbs pulled back, keeping shoulders/traps down, 20 sets of 1… not 1 set of 20, focusing on quality

    5. 10:27, Serratus/lower traps: While protracting arms (without rounding the back) externally rotate arms out just enough to feel band tension. Raise above the head, down, reset, repeat

    00. Habits:

    A: 11:13, Sit with tennis ball between shoulder-blades

    B: 12:01, Stand with sternum up

    C: 12:20, Stand up every 15 minutes if sitting all day

    —do a few times daily or 3 or 4 times weekly 3:20–3:25—do this a few times a week 6:17–6:19
    re uploaded comment so i can access quickly when i revisit daily

  31. I am 27 years old, fairly active and I started developing vertigo issues since the past 3 months. It's been scary. Especially because I wasn't sure what was causing it. I'm still not so sure. However, I did realize that I tend to have rounded shoulders. Doing these exercises has helped me with my vertigo for sure. Thank you Jeff! You are awesome

  32. Love this – NEVER been shown this exercise. Cavaliere is WAY BEYOND GENIUS when comes to the body and I cannot watch his videos enough!

  33. can i strength the weak muscles instend of streching them like in the vid? all im doing at the gym is strengthing my back. i pefer that then streching

  34. This works 100%, in just one month i got super results, of course i had a lot of time and i used to do my routine 2 or 3 times a day, i missed some days but very few, and incorpored some extra exercise like the shoulder w exersice and internal rotation, also shoulder dislocation.

  35. see.. I am apart of the generation that wasn't born with smart phone but my growth spurt years was definitely affect by smart phone use.

  36. Your exercise recommendation in this video ( is an exact combination of exercises #4 and #5. Can this exercise be used in place of #3 and #4? Thank you!

  37. I am trying to learn to do shoulder shimmies for Zumba. I realized that part of my problem was that my shoulders are rounded. It';s hard to push your shoulder forward if they are rounded! This video is helping. Thanks.

  38. Anybody else's arm go entirely numb after doing the stretch at about 5:45 ? I only held it for 30 seconds am I doing something wrong?

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