Walk into your neighborhood gym and quickly write down on a piece of paper, what you more than anything else.
Did you write down “Bros”? “Bad Form”? “Cardio Princesses”? “Bros hounding Cardio Princesses with Bad Form”? “That One Guy Who Looks Like Vern Fonk with a Journey Tour T-Shirt from 1982”?
All these are solid answers. It’s nothing we could actually dispute since we’ve literally seen all these. One thing however we see a lot of is poor posture, and more specifically “Rounded Shoulders”.
While there are a few people out there who claim to have naturally rounded shoulders, like anything with the human body, this is stuff that is typically an imbalance. The culprit? CHEST-PRESS-LEMANIA. Too often than not, vanity muscles are over trained while neglect on the REALLY IMPORTANT ONES takes place.
What do we consider the important ones? Let me introduce you to my good friend “The Posterior Chain”.
Now it’s not that everyone steers away from the posterior chain. In fact, Deadlift Mania is almost as popular as that fake Chest Presslemania thing I invented above. And while that isn’t a bad thing, a lot of people can’t pull off a decent deadlift due to limited hip flexor mobility and bad form. Defend Proper Form with all your blood and sweat people! Defend it til your death!
There are other causes of rolled over shoulders that are not due to imbalance. For example, older folks spines can actually bend and roll over forward because of the kyphosis associated with osteoporosis. For them, exercise will not help with the correction of the issue, but with exercise and strengthening the posterior chain, it will dampen the severity of the kyphosis.
Better than not, folks who are smart enough to PROPERLY train the posterior chain (mad flow skills there from MC Metal Made) probably have pretty upright posture with good shoulder positioning. At least we hope dearly. And having proper shoulder posture can be a number of things but over training with chest press exercises is often the biggest reasons.
“I’ve seen bootcamps where people make plans that have WAY too many press exercises and not enough pull movements”, says Michael Bailey, a super skilled trainer out of Redmond, Wa. “Like a million pushups or so. And considering so many workouts are push oriented, it creates that imbalance that keeps people hunched over”. He has a point. He literally said this before in conversation and I’m not making it up. He’s a real person in fact. Oh yeah, and add in “texting neck” or “sitting at a PC all day” and you have a recipe for disaster as far as upright, nice, clean posture is concerned.
What can we suggest? Recently we stopped lifting heavy because we got bored with it (it’s boring) and knew that for function purposes it didn’t serve our agenda to go up the sides of mountains. So the program we created has completely abandoned the Bro Culture moves everyone is so obsessed with beating like a dead horse. We have 3 total chest moves all week, and everything else is concentrated on keeping our body upright with a neutral spine, a lot of unilateral stances and contra-lateral moves and anything that will “pull our shoulders back”. So far our progress has been excellent as we’re standing up straighter and more like a superhero.
So if you stand in the mirror and notice this to be a problem, review your training program and scale back on all that chest for a bit and up the rear deltoid, trap and lat moves until things even out. And pro tip number two? Start observing your posture in the mirror or windows you walk by. If you see yourself slouched like a couch, stand the F up! You’ll feel like a rockstar after a few days of doing so. Without all the post-tour hangovers.