Forward he cried from the rear and the front rank died
Do you feel like you can relate to our friend the chimp? Arms hanging forward of our legs, much too far forward. I know I do. I spend a good amount of time at the keyboard of a computer and also probably do more pushups than I should in the sense of having a balanced body. Carrying heavy objects can also lead to forward rolling shoulders.
That’s the topic of today’s post. Shoulders that roll forward. Why spend time writing a post about this? Because it can cause us discomfort from having a sore back, lead to fatigue, and also impacts your performance when exercising. When our body is imbalanced our health and well being suffer.
What can be done? Lot’s. Typically our shoulders roll forward due to muscle imbalances. Strong anterior delts (front of our shoulders), strong pectoral (chest) muscles. Not just strong, I guess I should say stronger than their respective opposite muscles, the posterior delts (back of shoulders) and weak rhomboid muscles. I’m not surprised that most of us have this issue. It’s a reflection of our lives these days. Also, if you participate in any fitness class, how many times have you done exercises that target the back of our shoulders, or our back? Probably not that many at all. I’m guilty of that too. It’s hard to do this. Push ups, no problem. Bent over dumbbell flys or lat pulls a different story. Working the back or rear shoulders general requires equipment and that can be hard to accommodate when dealing with a large class size.
But I digress. What can we do to build our weaker muscles. Here are a number of things we can do:
- Bent over dumbbell flys: This will target the rear delts and the rhomboid muscles. Sit on a chair or the end of a bench. Right, have your dumbbells with you at this point. Now lean over so your body is resting on your legs. With your dumbbells in your hands, and your arms perpendicular to your body, start with your hands around your leg area. Now raise your hands so they become parallel with your back. Does that make sense? If not, please search youtube for a video on how to do this. I think I have said this before that I’m not a big fan of detailing how to do an exercise, that I prefer you acquire the resources of a personal trainer to help you out. Do this for 3 – 4 sets, 8 – 12 reps. Feels good, right?
- Shoulder blade squeeze: I like this one, I do. Mainly because you don’t need any weights or other equipment to carry this one out. Sit on a chair (we all have one of these) and let your hands rest on your legs. Keep your shoulders down, chest up and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Squeeze them together like there is a pencil between them and you are trying to grasp that pencil with your shoulder blades. Hold the squeeze. Hold it…hold it.
- Laying shoulder roll: Yep, that’s what I’m calling this one. This is going to be tough trying to explain how to do this exercise. I’ll do my best. Let’s start by lying on your back, and have an arm out perpendicular to your body. Bring your knees into your upper body, like you are hugging them. If your left arm is out, grasp the left side of your rolled up knees with your right arm. Now, let your body roll towards that arm that is stretched out (that arm should be palm up) having your body move as one unit, shoulders and all. To add resistance, let straighten your legs a bit. The further your legs are out, the harder the exercise is. Do you get it? I hope so because I am not the best in writing down how to do exercises.
- Lat dumbbell rows: Have your dumbbells ready by your side. Be on all fours, hands and knees. Starting with one side, having the dumbbell beside you just ahead of your leg, pull the weight up from the ground until it’s at your side. Do the same on the other side. Again, search youtube for a video on how to do this. *Note: if you would like to see videos on this blog, such as myself performing these exercises let me know. Maybe it’s something I can do.
That’s it. I’ve laid it out for you now all you have to do is do it. The work has to be done. Do it. Just like using those predominate muscles made them stronger, you can do the same for the weaker muscles. Over time those weaker muscles will become stronger and balance will be restored. If you are tired of pain, discomfort, injury than do it. Write in your calendar right now that you are going to do this at least twice a week for 4 weeks. Mark the days down. Then when week four is over, you are going to be amazed at the difference in your shoulders. You will! Four weeks, 1 month, 31 days. Or let me put it another way: Twice a week for four weeks is 8 workouts. That’s it. 8. Eight 10 – 15 minute sessions. Do it and see the difference. I’ll take a cheque later for fixing your shoulder issues.
Yours in health,