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Coach Duffy Exposes the Protracted Shoulder Girdle

The protracted shoulder is a very common postural imbalance that is seen in a high percentage of the general population. The people that are most at risk include those who have a sedentary lifestyle, those who do a lot of pressing exercises (bench press), and also athletes who overuse certain muscles (baseball players, swimmers, etc…).

The best way to visually see if you or somebody else has this postural deviation is by checking out how you are standing, and the way your shoulders, back and arms are positioned. If you have a protracted shoulder girdle, your shoulders will be rounded forward, your upper/mid back might be hunched/rounded, and your arms will be internally rotated (palms facing back).

There are tight muscles and weak muscles that contribute to all of this. The good news is there are several stretches and exercises that will help tremendously!

The tight muscles are the two biggest muscles of the chest: pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, the fronts of the shoulder (anterior deltoid), the serratus anterior, and the latissimus dorsi as well.

The weak muscles include the mid trapezius, the rhomboids, and the rear deltoids.

A couple of possible indicators that you may encounter if you have a protracted shoulder girdle is when your shoulders are rounded forward, if you have shoulder pain and discomfort when you raise and rotate your arm in several different directions, and if you have the “classic” poor posture with the slouching over appearance…like my man sitting at the computer above!

The most important corrective exercises that you’ll need to focus on are: Dynamic Flexibility, Motor Control Exercises, Strength Training, Static Stretching, and Self Myofascial Release.  Check out my video on the protracted shoulder girdle to see some examples of each one of these means of stretching and exercise.

The most important thing to know is that you need to stay consistent with these stretches and exercises.  You will not be “cured” after doing these exercises just a couple times…you won’t feel like a new person just after two weeks, but you will start feeling better and better the more you do them, and the more consistent you are.

It’s taken years and years for your body to get the way that it is today….short and tight muscles, along with muscles that have been shut down for a long time…therefore not as strong as other muscles.  Be patient, it’ll take some time and effort on your part to start working your posture back to where it should be.

You’ll stand taller, exercise more efficiently, feel better, and you’ll attain your goals quicker because of all of this!  Good luck, and SIT UP STRAIGHT!!

Andrew Duffy, A.T.C., N.E.T.A., is a certified Charleston Personal Trainer and the Studio Director at Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studio.  He has over 8 years of experience as a personal trainer, fitness coach, weight loss expert, and bootcamp instructor.  You can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation to begin your new life of health and fitness.

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