• Postural gymnastics: exercises for closed and abducted shoulders

    Postural gymnastics: exercises for closed and abducted shoulders

    A shoulder can precede for a stiffness of the posterior joint capsule and for a retraction of the extra rotary muscles of the humerus. This rigidity generates a micro of tissues posterior to the shoulder which does not keep the head of the humerus aligned but brings it forward.

    This condition alters the right movements and, in addition to creating forward shoulders and winged shoulder blades, can cause inflammation of the tendons. Alignment analysis, length test, and manual evaluation will shed some light on this. In general, to facilitate a release of the posterior capsule of the shoulder and improve alignment, a stretching exercise to be done on the side is indicated: the "sleeper stretch".

    The shoulders can be curved forward for an excessive abduction of the scapula (the medial margin will be more than 7,5 / 8 cm away from the column), or for an anterior tilting scapular alignment (with a detachment of the lower corner of the scapula from the thorax). In this case, a muscular imbalance may have to be resolved, due for example to a weakness of the rhomboids and the trapezius muscle (middle and lower) and/or a retraction of the pectoralis major and pectoralis major muscles get now, the upper trapezius and the elevator. of the shoulder blade. Alignment analysis, strength/length test, and manual evaluation will shed some light on this. Specific exercises for muscle rebalancing are indicated, such as stretching the pectoral muscles and strengthening the adductors/depressors of the shoulder blades.

    A shoulder may precede as compensation in defense of a suffering brachial plexus (nerve compression). In this circumstance, the origin is nervous and it is important to identify the cause of the compression to reduce the tension and irritation of the plexus (by bringing the shoulder back and keeping it for a few seconds, symptoms such as tingling in the hand are triggered).

    A careful medical history and a precise functional evaluation through specific tests will highlight a problem of this type.

    Below is a series of exercises to work on curved shoulders.

    • Lie on your stomach, keeping your elbows bent and in contact with the floor. Then shrug your shoulders and contract your abs, making sure that your pelvis stays on the ground.
    • Sitting on the ground with legs crossed, the arms are stretched at shoulder height and with the palm facing upwards. Remain with your back and neck straight, always fixing the same position in front of you. So bring your arms as far back as you can.
    • Stand up, with your legs half open and your back straight. Flex your head to one side as if you wanted to touch your shoulders with your ear. Be careful to move only the neck, keeping the gaze turned forward and the shoulders low.
    • Kneeling, head resting on the floor and arms stretched behind the torso (with joined hands). Maintain the position and bring the arms upwards gradually. Stay in the position for a few seconds.

    The exercises to correct the curved shoulders and to widen the shoulders can also be performed at home, just carve out your free time and equip yourself with a mat on which to practice.

    Curved shoulders exercises in the gym

    In bodybuilders, curved shoulders are often linked to poor muscle balance due to incorrect or rather excessive workouts and exercises in some muscle areas and deficient in others. When we focus only on the pectorals and biceps that cause imbalances such as strong pectorals that actually pull the shoulders forward, as the back and deltoid muscles, with non-existent and poorly trained trapezius muscles; forward-curved shoulder with too strong front shoulder muscles and too weak back muscles.

    When the shoulders pull forward, it is good to know that the joints and bones will also follow them. Several cases of curved shoulders are due to a serious condition called spinal kyphosis, which occurs in an arching or rounding of the back. Since kyphosis is often caused by deteriorating bone conditions, such as some degenerative diseases, osteoporosis and spondylolisthesis, some weight exercises, such as flat or incline bench presses, can pose serious health problems for the body.

    When you have curved shoulders, you need to strengthen the posterior shoulder and back muscles. This is usually recommended in weight lifting to help maintain muscle balance. It will, therefore, be essential to change some of the shoulder and especially pectoral relaxation exercises with exercises that strengthen the posterior muscle groups, including the external rotators, rhomboids and trapezius muscles. It is also mandatory to include rowers using barbells, dumbbells or cables, also doing pull-ups. Some trainers also recommend performing myofascial release exercises using a foam roller for overly contracted chest muscles.

    To maintain the muscle tone of the pectorals, it is sufficient to make pullovers with handlebars and / or barbell very suitable also to stretch the back muscles. A very welcome exercise are pullovers with relaxation: take an EZ barbell; lie down on a bench and perform a pullover and follow a relaxation.

    Closed shoulders exercises to open them

    The so-called "shoulder muscle" is actually the deltoid, which is not a single muscle, but is made up of three bands: the anterior deltoid, the lateral or medial deltoid, and the posterior deltoid. The three bands are activated in three different ways, and it is precisely for this reason that it is an exercise mode that shows significant results with great effort, even if it is not absolutely impossible, you train constantly.

    Consider, for example, that the anterior deltoid is a muscle also activated by the exercises on the pectoral muscles, just as the posterior deltoid is also activated in the exercises that are performed for the back muscles. Basically, if you put together good exercises for the chest and back for the training that will be illustrated shortly, designed specifically for the shoulders, the results will certainly be more effective. As is easily understood, the shoulder exercises are mainly focused on the lateral deltoid.

    The best exercise, from this point of view, is undoubtedly the lateral lifting with dumbbells, which is part of the group of exercises to widen the shoulders at home. In practice, holding the dumbbells, you will have to start with your arms close to your hips and go up as gradually as possible, slightly rotating the humerus when the arm reaches the height of the shoulder. The rise time can be quantified in about two to three seconds and the ideal is to reach a height slightly less than that of your head, keeping that position for about a second. It is essential, in this exercise as in all the others, to concentrate the effort on the body area you intend to train (in this case, as specified, the lateral deltoid): do not start the movement from the hand but from the elbow and, in particular, do not strain the back;

    As well as being the exercise with the best difficulty/results ratio, the lateral elevation with handlebars is also one of the easiest exercises to do and less insidious as regards possible damage to the joints; This criticality is very present in the exercises that affect the deltoid, if not performed in the right way.

    There are also some exercises to stretch the shoulders to a free body. The best known of these is undoubtedly the handstand, a decidedly effective but also particularly complex exercise to do. Like all bodyweight exercises, it obviously has the advantage of not having to resort to tools. It can be performed anywhere, even and especially at home. It is practically a vertical to be done with the support of a wall on which to slightly rest the heels. Then do push-ups on your arms until your head comes in contact with the ground. In this way, the deltoid goes to raise our weight and is, therefore, an exercise indicated for those who have particular experience with bodyweight exercises, and above all who already have an important deltoid behind them. The main contraindications, of course, are cervical problems, on which all the weight is released when doing this exercise; a weight that, of course, the cervical vertebrae are not made to endure. For these reasons, it is not an exercise for everyone.

    A variant of the lateral riser with handlebar, however, is the lateral riser with elastic. These are exercises to widen the shoulders that are not suitable for everyone, due to a peculiar characteristic of the elastic itself: it has a strength that increases during the execution of the exercise. Basically, when you start with the movement, the resistance exerted by the elastic increases as you go upwards, unlike the dumbbells, where the resistance remains the same throughout the duration of the exercise. It is clear that, for those who are still at the beginning and do not have defined and trained shoulders, this exercise can have a particular difficulty. For this reason, too, it is essential to carefully select the length and resistance of the elastic, based on the difficulty that you want (and that is possible) to impart to the exercise. To start,

    Postural exercises for the back

    Whenever you feel pain in the neck or back, you often think that the cause is incorrect posture, usually with the shoulders too far forward. However, incorrect posture is more a consequence than a cause, there is no association between incorrect posture and pain. The stiffer the muscles, the more the posture is curved forward. Posture, therefore, is only a mirror of muscle stiffness.

    Incorrect posture is therefore not one of the main causes of the problems, but the consequence of excessively rigid muscles. Postural muscles can stiffen due to:

    • Congenital and structural reasons: there are individuals of a flexible nature, others with very rigid muscle tissue. In addition, there are those who have congenital vertebral problems from birth, such as scoliosis, which has a very strong impact on muscles. However, even if you have a certain predisposition, it does not mean that you cannot correct any defects.
    • Trauma or mechanical stress: when we talk about mechanical stress, we refer to past trauma. The latter give rise to areas of rigidity that the body tends to "protect", and which modify movements even after years; skin scars are also areas of rigidity, in particular referring to abdominal operations; sports activities practiced beyond three hours a week.
    • Metabolism problems: those who have a metabolism that does not work properly have a much greater tendency to have musculoskeletal pain and postural problems in general. If the metabolism does not work well, the quality of the tissues slowly deteriorates, which loses hydration and several other precious substances, instead of accumulating waste products. Muscles are among the main parts subject to this deterioration, as they are very hydrated and rich in minerals tissue.
    • Emotional states and character: it is recurrent to trace rigidity in people with strong emotions, especially in the diaphragm muscle. For example, very anxious people tend to have their shoulders rotated anteriorly, precisely because of the excessive rigidity of the diaphragm muscle. They are individuals with very high and shallow breathing, which is why their respiratory muscles tighten.

    Below are the symptoms of excess muscle stiffness, with consequent worsening of posture.

    Tiredness and fatigue: the more stiffness there is in the muscles, the harder it is to make even simple gestures. Because of this, much more fatigue can accumulate than necessary.

    Joint and spinal pain: the stiffer the muscles, the greater the pressure they exert on the vertebrae and joints, therefore the greater the probability of having various pains.

    Headache and difficulty concentrating: headache and posture are linked. In fact, the greater the tension of the cervical muscles, the greater the pressure they make in the areas where they join the skull. Exaggerated cervical muscle tension can also be accompanied by difficulty concentrating.

    To improve posture, you must first assign yourself objectives: make a list of symptoms to work on; analyze your posture in the mirror, to understand how it is currently.

    When performing the exercises focus on the sensations felt and note any difficulties encountered. Focus on the feelings you have to understand the improvements.

    Exercises can be done every day, as long as excessive tension is not generated. Almost all exercises require muscle stretching, which must be gentle and progressive.

    Exercise 1- diaphragmatic breathing: lying on your stomach, putting your stomach on a book, or something that has a minimum of weight to better feel the movement. Place your hands on your chest to find out if you are moving it or not. Then inhale through the nose (inflate the belly like a balloon, without arching or stiffening the back and shoulders). The weight placed on the belly will, therefore, have to rise. There must be no movement of the chest, only of the belly. Then exhale, with your mouth wide open. Allow all the air to escape, without however allowing the shoulders to come forward. Inhale must for at least four seconds and exhale five. Repeat the exercise thirty times.

    Exercise 2- stretching the posterior chain: this exercise is necessary to stretch all the posterior muscles of the spine and lower limb. Sit on the ground, with the lower back as close as possible to the wall (stand on a non-slippery surface). Then stretch the legs, keeping the ankles close. Several people already feel a lot of tension in this position, especially behind the legs. If this were the case, end the exercise. Do thirty slow and relaxed diaphragmatic breaths, constantly keeping your legs together and ankles close together. If excessive tension is felt, move forward with your butt. If, on the other hand, you do not feel too much tension, continue with normal exercise: flex the head forward, as if the chin wanted to go towards the sternum; bend your shoulders forward, as if to open the back posteriorly; place your hands on your legs and slide forward until you feel the right level of tension; hold the position for four to five diaphragmatic breaths, then go back up for a break; repeat five to six sets of four to five breaths.

    There are exercises that allow you to stretch all the muscles of the front chain at the same time, but they are out of the reach of most people at least at the beginning. For this reason, it is necessary to divide the front chain into two exercises. We begin to stretch the lower area: lie on your side, with your head resting on or under your arm or on a pillow. Afterward: take the ankle with one hand (side above); let go of the legs downwards, so as to start with the knees in contact; with the help of the hand, push the leg back until an anterior tension is generated, avoiding to follow the movement with the back; keep the voltage 3 - 4 effective seconds; repeat thirty times per side. Then lie on your stomach, using a head support if needed. Bring your arms back, straight but not forcedly stretched; inhale with the diaphragm; exhale to the max; repeat four to five times before taking a break; repeat thirty times in all. Around the end of the exhalation, you will notice how the hands will tend to detach from the floor and how the neck will try to follow the movement by arching. Allow the hands to rise, but not the neck to arch. In conclusion, lengthen the side chain. Sit on the ground with your butt against a wall; open your legs straight, so that they create an angle of about ninety degrees; bring a hand behind the head and make sure that the elbow remains against the wall; tilt your back sideways until you feel the right tension (usually on the side of your back or chest); do five to six deep breaths, without looking too much at whether they are diaphragmatic breathing or not; lean over to the other side and repeat the operation; continue until thirty breaths per side have been performed.


    The forward shoulders are a fairly frequent posture defect in the present day, a condition that can cause aesthetic discomfort but also real dysfunctional forms of the shoulder resulting in inflammation of the tissues and pain. Often, in fact, those suffering from shoulder pain have this type of alignment, with hunched shoulders forward that disrupt the normal movement of the joint both during everyday life and in recreational and sports activities. Here are the main houses of the shoulders forward with an exercise related to its correction.