After years of teaching Pilates the most common problems I see is poor posture and in particular round shoulders. My clients are concerned about their posture and ask me, "How can I fix round shoulders".
Using computers and mobile phones encourages poor posture. Chest muscles become strong, and back muscles become weak, pushing your head forward and creating tension in the neck.
Strengthening your mid-back will help avoid unwanted strain on the neck and back by allowing back muscles to hold and maintain the best posture. Avoiding or helping alleviate round shoulder posture. Pilates professional equipment will bring awareness to the placement of Shoulder-blades and strengthen this area. At the gym avoid focusing mostly on the chest muscles (Pectorals), and balance your workout with back and shoulder exercises.
The upper back has a natural curve, poor posture can create a hump that's stiff and at times painful. Together with a forward head position the potential for neck pain and headaches is increased.
Exercises to work this area in the opposite range of motion are what's needed to lengthen and extend the spine. This will eventually change posture, and counter-act round shoulders. Pilates exercises to fix round shoulders have proved successful.
A simple way to activate the muscles in your upper back - lay on your front with arms at 90 degrees, keeping your abdominals engaged to support the low back - inhale to lift your head and chest from the floor. Think length rather than lift - depending on mobility in this area the movement may be small - don't force it.
Using an elastic resistance band. Stand tall and hold the elastic wider than your shoulders, then inhale as you pull the band wide. Hold this stretch for 2/3 deep breaths then release - repeat 5 times - don't rush use the full breath and control movement rhythm.
A simple wall push-up will open the chest and gently work the upper back. Stand away from a wall and place both hands a little wider than shoulders, bend both elbows wide then stretch both arms. Make sure your head does not push forward. Repeat up to 10 times.
We've talked about problems with poor posture and how to fix round shoulders with simple Pilates exercises. This problem has developed over time, so will take time to fix. However, a little attention to this every day - even just noticing how well you're standing or sitting will reap benefits.