Are Your Shoulders Letting You Down?

If you’ve been experiencing pain in a shoulder joint and/or the mid upper back region, you could be suffering from a muscular imbalance which leads to the rounding of the shoulders.

Most of our everyday activities in life involve internal rotation of the shoulders, from giving someone a hug to grabbing the steering wheel of a car… and who of us can honestly say that we’ve never been guilty of mindlessly hunching over a keyboard for prolonged periods at a time? It’s these types of activities that cause our rhomboid muscles to weaken; the muscles which connect the shoulder blades to the spine and are there to pull the shoulders back for good upright posture. Furthermore, this hunching also trains the opposing chest muscles ( Pectoralis major and minor) to shorten and become excessively tight; further contributing to this rounded shoulder condition.

The following exercises are ideal for strengthening the Rhomboids and mid fibres of the Trapezius muscles to help correct this muscular imbalance. But strengthening these muscles alone is not enough; the tight antagonist chest muscles must also be treated to regular stretching exercises, or the Rhomboids will end up returning back to their weakened state. So included here are two easy chest stretching exercises that you can implement as well.

Here’s How to Get Those Rhomboids Working Effectively Again:

Perform the following exercises in the order presented

Door Frame – Pec Stretch:

  1. 1
    Position yourself in an open doorway and extend one arm out to your side – slightly below shoulder height
  2. 2
    Next, bend your arm at the elbow – 90 degrees, and place your forearm firmly against the door frame
  3. 3
    Gently rotate your torso away until you feel a good, comfortable stretch in the chest region
  4. 4
    Hold this stretch for 30 seconds before relaxing
  5. 5
    Repeat this static stretch 3 times before changing to the other side
door-stretch

Door Frame Pec Stretch

Foam Roller – Pec Stretch:

  1. 1
    Lie down on a foam roller, with the roller positioned in the region between your spine and scapula, and with palm facing up
  2. 2
    Hold this stretch for 30 seconds before relaxing
  3. 3
    Repeat this static stretch 3 times before changing to the other side
are-your-shoulders-letting-you-down-foam-roller

Foam Pec Stretch

Rhomboid Darts – Strengthening:

  1. 1
    Lie face down on the floor with your arms close by your sides and the palms of your hands facing up
  2. 2
    Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slowly exhale as you use your Rhomboids to lift your head and chest of the floor as a single unit
  3. 3
    Always keep your chin lightly tucked in and your neck relaxed during the entire movement
  4. 4
    Maintain the squeeze at the top of the movement for 4 seconds before returning to the floor to rest
  5. 5
    Repeat this exercise 3 to 6 times
are-your-shoulders-letting-you-down-rhomboid-darts

Rhomboid Darts

Bent Over Band Rows – Strengthening:

  1. 1
    Stand with one foot forward and the middle portion of the stretch band under this leading foot
  2. 2
    Bend the hips at a 45 degree angle while keep the back straight, the neck relaxed, and the knees soft
  3. 3
    Holding a band handle in each hand and the arms fully extended in front
  4. 4
    Pull up on the band while attempting to get the elbows as wide out as possible
  5. 5
    At the top of the movement squeeze the shoulder blades together for 4 seconds before returning to the starting position
  6. 6
    Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
are-your-shoulders-letting-you-down-band-row

Bent Over Band Rows

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