One of the most troublesome office-work patterns is the forward-shoulder posture that results from reaching for a keyboard and mouse all day. To undo this pattern, retract your shoulders (pull them back).
The quickest and simplest way to retract your shoulders is to stand up and:
- rotate your arms so that your hands face forward,
- lift your arms to a 45-degree angle (halfway between straight out to the side and hanging at your side)
- pinch your shoulder blades together
There are a lot of moving parts in the shoulder-forward pattern, so your ongoing shoulder-retraction exercise routines should account for all of the components of shoulder retraction. The exercises below address each part of this pattern.
This video isolates the motion of scapular retraction. This is a good exercise to develop a sense of what it feels like when your scapulas are pulled back toward the midline of your back.
This video shows how you can target the same muscles using an exercise ball to elevate your torso.
This video emphasizes the engagement of the lower part of the trapezius muscle. This is a good exercise to develop a sense of what it feels like when your scapulas are pulled downward toward your hips.
This video shows “high face pull” exercise. This is one of my favorites because it engages all of the different muscles that are involved in shoulder-forward posture. The rhomoboid and lower rhomboid muscles stabilize your scapulas as your middle trapezius and posterior deltoid muscles pull your arms back.