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Fix Rounded Shoulders With 1 Exercise!

No More Nerd Neck!

Posted by Scott_Herman - June 15th, 2018

A lot of people think that when it comes to correcting rounded shoulders, that training your back is the exact opposite of training your chest, hence the two cancel each other out. This means that your shoulders will be balanced and healthy if you perform back and chest workouts on a 1:1 ratio.

Even I used to think this back in the day, so don’t feel bad if you were taught this as well. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that the biggest back muscles are your LATS, and not only do they NOT externally rotate the shoulder, but they actually contribute to its INTERNAL rotation.

Remember we have also talked before about how the lats are responsible for HUMERUS ADDUTCTION, so thinking that training your lats will prevent shoulder imbalances, kyphotic posture and injuries, is just not correct. If you are still suffering from protracted shoulders, even with a balanced chest and back workout, what you need to be doing is placing a bit more emphasis on training your rear delts, rhomboids, lower & mid traps and rotator cuffs. The only exercise you need is the FACE PULL with an EXTERNAL shoulder rotation.

Face Pull

I have explained how to do this exercise in the past, and in the past I have shown more of an internal rotation to target a bit more upper traps. The way you would do that is by holding the rope with your hands facing away from your body. Then when you pull it to your face, your elbows would be as high as possible.

If you’re trying to correct your pronated/rounded shoulders, you want to start to target more mid & lower traps, rear delts, rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles. The best way to do that is to EXTERNALLY rotate your shoulders. You’re still going to grab the rope with your palms facing away from your body, but now instead of pulling with high elbows, you’re going to pull with your elbows down. You should be retracting and depressing your shoulders/scapula as much as you can, then get a nice tight squeeze in your back, before returning to the starting position, and repeating for reps.

If you watch the movement from the back, you can see a clear difference. You can see more upper trap engagement with internal rotation, and then when you switch to external rotation, you can see more of the mid-back muscles activate, and you can see a difference where the elbows go as well.

When doing this exercise, you can choose to do it on your shoulder day or your back day. But, believe it or not, if you have any sort of pain in your shoulders when you’re bench pressing on your chest day, you can do this in-between all of your pushing sets, and you might find it will alleviate a lot of that pain, while obviously strengthening and correcting the pronated shoulders.


For sets and reps for this exercise, if you’re going in-between all your sets on your push day, that’s fine. If you’re doing it as a stand-alone exercise, you may as well hit 5 – 6 sets of 8 – 10 repetitions. Just make sure that you’re using a weight that allows you to activate all those muscles in your back. This is not an exercise where you are supposed to go crazy heavy on. You’re supposed to use just enough weight to be able to pull back, hold for a second, and the return back to the starting position.

Related Videos:

Fix Your Bad Posture Now! | 3 EASY FIXES YOU CAN DO ANYWHERE! (Rounded Shoulders & Kyphosis)

Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt In 3 EASY STEPS! | NO MORE LOWER BACK, HIP & NECK PAIN!

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I have a question, Scott. When I do Face Pulls (internal rotation [elbows higher than wrist])  I have the pin about hip height when I have the pin about-face height I feel my traps taking over the movement. However, is it safe to do the External rotation Face pull, with the pin at hip height or is there shoulder impingement risk? Thank you. Excuse my English it's not my strongest language.

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

@trapsarenotgay hey man!  Sorry for the late reply.  as long as your grip is wide you shouldnt feel any kind of impingement.  As you pull the rope toward your face be swure to pull your hands away from each other. 😁 


A very important topic that if you fail to acknowledge and incorporate fixing/preventing in your weekly routine will result in your posture going from Nerd to Hunchback of Notredam! Nice work @scott_herman