10 Exercises For Rounded Shoulders That Feel *So* Good

It’s all about the bend and stretch.

How to fix rounded shoulders, according to the pros.
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If one of the many TikToks about rounded shoulders pops up on your FYP, it might be a sign to sit up straighter. It’s so common to hunch over your phone or computer, whether you’re working, scrolling, or keeping up with a rapid-fire group text — but it’s also a recipe for bad posture, which is where these TikToks come into play.

With over 131 million views on TikTok, creators are sharing all sorts of remedies and exercises for rounded shoulders. Clearly, we all need them. According to Dr. Joseph Rosi II, DPT, a licensed physical therapist and founder of Alinea Performance, rounded shoulders are most often caused by holding a poor posture for sustained periods of time. (Read: hunching over your phone.)

Poor posture leads to weaker back muscles, he explains. “As the shoulders start to round, the muscles in the back of the shoulder become even weaker as they are not used as much,” says Rosi, noting that these muscles are responsible for keeping the shoulders in a good position. If they’re weak, they can’t do their job properly. At the same time, your muscles become tighter, too, so stretches for your shoulders are just as important as doing the right exercises.

“Rounded shoulders aren’t necessarily a serious problem, but they can lead to some discomfort and pain,” Rosi says. He recommends doing targeted exercises two to three times a week. You might feel a difference in your posture right away, or in about a month. If you’d like to fix your hunched shoulders once and for all, keep scrolling for 10 shoulder exercises and stretches from TikTok that should do the trick.

1. Shoulder Foam Rolling

To fix rounded shoulders, creator @badyogiofficial suggests foam rolling the fronts of your shoulders as a way to stretch the muscle. This move helps loosen any tightness in your chest so that it doesn’t pull your shoulders forward.

2. Towel Stretch

Creator @jennlashley_ recommends using a towel (or shirt) to help stretch the area. Simply grab onto the ends of a towel and lift your arms up and overhead, keeping your shoulders down as you drop your arms behind you. Again, it’s all about loosening up the chest.

3. “T” Stretch

Follow @veraarmishaw’s lead and lie facedown on a mat, extend your arms out straight to each side, and, while keeping your neck neutral, lift your arms up — kind of like a bird. Do this stretch for 30 seconds daily, and you’ll see a big difference.

4. Neck Stretch

Creator @katie.blake.fit is all about the neck stretch. Sit or stand up straight and use your left hand to gently guide your left ear closer to your shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then repeat on the right side. Do this stretch two times on both sides to ease tension in your upper back and shoulders.

5. Down Dog Variation

TikToker @nanserawellness has all sorts of rounded shoulder exercises on her channel. This one starts off in a downward dog position. Lift your heels up as you start to glide forward, then drop your knees into the mat, release your chin towards the floor, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Try to stay for 15 seconds before moving all the way down to your stomach.

6. Table Stretch

TikToker @trainwithkia showed off a nifty way to stretch using a table. Place your hands on the surface and then hinge forward at the hips. Let your head drop between your arms towards the ground. Hold it for about 30 seconds and repeat it every day. Trust: It feels amazing.

7. Vertical “W”

Next up, try @docjenfit’s rounded shoulder exercise called a vertical “W.” Reach up overhead then draw your elbows back into a “W” shape. Push your sternum up towards the sky as you bring your shoulder blades together. Repeat 10 times.

8. Sphinx Pose

Creator @flowwithvictoria suggests getting down into a sphinx pose. Lie on your stomach and lift your upper body up. Prop yourself up on your forearms and hold for 30 seconds.

9. Deadlifts

If you’re looking for more of a strength-based move, @red5performance recommends good, old-fashioned deadlifts. By strengthening the muscles in your upper back, it’ll be easier to maintain good posture.

10. Band Pulls

If you’ve got tension from hunching, TikToker and trainer @sunnyleefit says it’s best to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles in your shoulders with sets of band pulls. Roll your shoulders back and down and keep your elbows in at your sides as you pull apart a resistance band. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps to get your shoulders back where they belong.

Studies referenced:

Lee, DY. (2017). Changes in rounded shoulder posture and forward head posture according to exercise methods. J Phys Ther Sci. doi: 10.1589/jpts.29.1824.


Dr. Joseph Rosi II, DPT, cert DN, CSCS, licensed physical therapist, founder of Alinea Performance