Are you one of those people who constantly have their shoulders curled up? That must have bothered you already … and you think you should do something, but what? For my part, I was forced to face the problem when it came to treating my chronic tendonitis in the elbow and preventing further injuries in the future. Today, I share my experience with you if you want it and if you think it can help you. I am not a physiotherapist or certified coach, just a professional musician who cares for her main instrument, the body, through sport and stretching. You will find here the exercises that I applied and that really made the difference.
PS: A small bonus awaits you at the end!
How do I know if my shoulders are well placed?
One of the first things my physiotherapist showed me was that if your hands naturally fall on the front of your thighs, your shoulders are probably too far forward. You can quickly take the test to see where your hands fall.
Concretely, what do I gain from having a good posture?
In a day, we do a lot of activities with our arms and hands, which require “carrying the weight of our arms”, often in front of our body. It’s true, when you think about it, do the dishes, carry your shaker, carry a little cat to give him a hug (#teamchat). When your shoulders are forward, the weight of your arms is somehow heavier to bear if they are well in place. I let you try and observe the difference.
By adding this useless weight, you tire your muscles and prevent some muscles from performing their basic function. Your body will then compensate by using disproportionately smaller muscles that had never signed for this job, the poor! So you can improve your posture to avoid injuries. As Fit Girl, you have to be particularly attentive to these kinds of things because they are not (only) kittens that we raise, but also very heavy weights. So, do it for the deadlifts! (If it’s your favorite exercise, raise your hand!)
I am the first to criticize my figure and my pace when I see myself in photo, and this is mainly due to my posture. The shoulders forward give the impression that I lack confidence in myself and a kind of nonchalant pace. When I did this work for the first time, after only two months, my grandmother asked me if I had grown up when she saw me (I’m 24 years old and I’m the same size for eight years!). In addition, I do not hide a better posture brings out the chest … So if you have small mandarins like me, you’ll see the difference!
Materials needed: elastic, tennis ball, foam roller
To improve your posture and see results fast enough, you have to do exercises almost daily. I’m going to show you two or three here, but there are plenty of others and you can without question your physiotherapist who will help you much better than me. The first time I did this work (spring 2015), I was extremely diligent during three months and I saw results up to my expectations. My mistake was not to think long term and a few months later, I was almost back to the starting point. When I got serious (fall 2016), I was careful to incorporate some exercises into my sports routine to continue to progress once my goal is achieved.
The shoulders are often held forward because our chest muscles are too short, and those of the back, not strong enough to hold them.
What you can do to fix it
For that, two solutions. You can do good old chest stretches, as shown here. This is the classic solution and it is important to do them regularly. I was advised to do it three times a day to see a difference.
You can also take the more “drastic” option of massage. So either you have an adorable boyfriend who is willing to help you, or, like me, you can use a small ball. You will find foam rollers in the shape of a ball that are provided for this purpose, but you can also use a tennis ball that will do the trick. The idea is to use the weight of your body to roll the ball on your pectoral muscles. When you find a little knot, stop on it and breathe well.
As said above, once your chest is relaxed, you will need a small team of well-trained muscles that will hold your shoulders back, in their proper place. Often, rhomboids, among others, are a little weaker. This is the muscle between your shoulder blades. The goal in the following exercises is to connect your brain to your muscles in order to have the feeling, as concretely as possible, that your shoulder blades come back to the center, and a bit lower.
Place your foam roller against the side of your forearms and against the wall, elbows at shoulder height. Check your posture before you start (think about placing your shoulder blades!) Lower your arms while rolling slowly, and stop just before you can maintain good posture. Go back and start again, without ever leaving your shoulder blades back.
Draw: You can use this exercise in a lot of different ways. Here, I show you with elastic and TRX but you can do it with the machines in your gym. Anything that is traction can help you too, provided you put your back on it before starting the movement. To start, move your shoulders away from your ears, place your shoulder blades well, sheath your lap belt. All you have to do is shoot!
I like having a rubber band at home so I can do this exercise very regularly. You can do three sets of ten repetitions, depending on the resistance of your elastic, and repeat this one to three times a day.
NB: There are lots of other exercises that you can do to improve your posture and many options to inform you adequately. The best thing would be to make an appointment with a physiotherapist if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Some practices are adjacent to gyms and the therapist will show you directly how to apply indoor exercises and how to incorporate them into your sports routine.
Yoga can help you a lot because each yoga sequence contains postures that are intended to open the heart , which is a very nice way to summarize point 1. A lot of postures will also help strengthen your muscles. deep in the back so do not hesitate to go for a walk in the studio, or on Youtube, to begin yoga!
I hid something from you until now … It’s my little secret! Nobody had advised me before and my physiotherapist had even said that it would not change much, but since I sleep on my back, I noticed a clear difference in the roundness of my shoulders. So if you’re as lazy as I am right now and forget to stretch enough, try to sleep on your back so your muscles can relax during the night. If you are not well on your back, give yourself five minutes of stretching before going to bed: a small round back – flat back, a few twists (looking for “yoga twists “on your favorite search engine!), then you bring your knees against your chest, hands crossed over your shins and you will be ready to sleep in Savasana (or position of the corpse!)