• Exercise Programming for Depressed Shoulders

    Exercise Programming for Depressed Shoulders

    Depressed Shoulders? Rounded Shoulders? Do you sit in a slouched position all day?

    Well, in today’s post, I’m going to be talking about some exercise programming tips, if you are someone that suffers from depressed shoulders or your training a client that has depressed shoulders. But before I share my programming tips, I want to talk about some of the causes and implications of having depressed shoulders.

    Firstly, depressed shoulders is commonly caused by sitting or standing in a slouched position for a long period of time. Whether, that’s sitting at your computer desk and typing all day or it’s just standing around with a poor postural position. Neither of these things are good but it’s just the reality of what today’s society has become, which is very sedentary. However, if we assume these positions for a long period of time, our normal body posture will change and adopt to the position that we are constantly in. Ultimately, this will change our normal body posture and it can have some major implications from a body alignment perspective. Also, it’s important to note that another major contributing factor to depressed shoulders is holding weight’s or carrying things at our sides (e.g., holding grocery’s, carrying a gym bag or even performing a heavy dead-lift). The reason these things would contribute to depressed shoulders is because the weight is creating a downward force that is constantly pulling our shoulder into depression and if we have no elevation to combat that, we are only feeding into dysfunction.

    So, those are just some of the causes of depressed shoulders but it’s important to note the implications as well. The implications for depressed shoulders can be pretty serious and it’s something that can further contribute to injury over time. Think of it… if your a hockey player and you have a slouched posture, it can be hard to maintain a good neutral position on the ice, especially if you get hit into the boards or something. And when you get hit into the boards, their is a strong chance an injury can occur, if you are already in a depressed state.

    Now, that we have talked about some of the causes and implications of depressed shoulders, let’s move onto some exercise programming tips!

    Before we begin, I want to ask you… Would you ever prescribe chin-ups or farmer’s walk to someone with depressed shoulders?

    If you answered yes, then you may want to think twice! However, if you answered ‘no’, then I believe your on the right path to making a solid workout program!

    The problem with chin-ups, farmer’s walk and even dead-lifts is that they all contribute to depressed shoulders. The way these exercises are carried out is that they create a downward force of the shoulder, that’s further going to contribute to dysfunction if someone already has depressed shoulders. And WHY WOULD WE EVER WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO DYSFUNCTION EVEN MORE?

    Were only going to create more dysfunction and were going increase to the risk of injury, which is what we don’t want!

    So, as a coach, trainer or athlete, we need to look to alternative exercises that will generate the similar strengthening results as a chin-up, dead-lift or farmer’s walk but they don’t create that downward force on the shoulder. For example, a hip-thrust or glute bridge is a great substitute for a dead-lift because it still focuses on strengthening the posterior-chain (glutes, hamstrings) but doesn’t create that downward force on the shoulder! This makes the hip-thrust or glute bridge a great exercise for someone with depressed shoulders.

    Now, this is just one example and their are many ways to work around different exercises but as a coach, trainer or athlete, you really just need to think outside the ‘box’ and look to exercises that aren’t going to contribute to a dysfunctional posture.

    Hopefully this posts helps you re-think your training methods and it creates a more detailed approach to strength training!

    All the best!


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  • Posted by Mike Gnoinski on April 2, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Remi what exercises would you recommend doing then?

  • Posted by Mike Gnoinski on April 2, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Remi what exercises would you recommend doing then?

    • Posted by remisovran on April 10, 2016 at 6:12 am
      in reply to Mike Gnoinski

      – Mike

      Hi Mike, well if your someone that does have depressed shoulders, some good exercises may be something like an overhead shrug, bear crawls, shoulder press, etc. Typically, anything that may encourage elevation of the shoulder. There is plenty of exercises that you can do and those are just a few examples that I listed 🙂


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