How to Prevent the Perma Shoulder Shrug

They say "prevention is better than cure". Here are things on how your shoulder to avoid that perma shoulder shrug. Make your fitness program safe!!

Over many years in fitness, I have become adept at spotting postural problems. And if you own a computer, I can almost guarantee you either suffer from a stiff neck, tension headaches, and soreness in the shoulders and back.

I base this on the fact that computer posture (forward head and rounded shoulders) is one of the most common postural ailments among Americans today.

Tips for curing the perma shoulder shrug and chronic shoulder pain

In the event of bad posture (or bad training), the upper back muscles often overpower the muscles which depress the shoulders - leading to chronic tightness in the neck and upper back. In the mirror, this might look as if you are shrugging your shoulders up and forward (as opposed to back and down). If this is the case, pain in this area is a likely symptoms of this strength imbalance. These issues inevitably contribute to chronic back, shoulder and neck pain as years of sitting pull our bodies forward. The solution to fighting this process is to strengthen the muscles responsible for keeping the shoulders back and down. In order to do so, perform this program at least twice per week:

1. Wall Angels (Stretching)

Lean back against a wall and bend the knees slightly. Flatten against a wall (roll your pelvis back so your lower back arch goes away). Bend your elbows and bring the arms up to shoulder height. Roll the arms back until the shoulder blades, forearms and wrists are flat against the wall. Now, push your shoulders up and down the wall as if pressing a weight. Perform 2 sets of 10.

2. Face Pulls (Depression)

This move can be performed on a cable system or with a stretch band. On a seated rowing machine or crossover pulley, set the pulley at approximately face height. From a standing or seated position, pull the handle or rope attachment towards your face/neck with elbows held high. This move can also be performed by attaching a stretch band to a doorway or high surface and pulling toward the face. Perform 2 sets of 15.

3. Push Up Plus (Elevation)

Begin on the hands and knees with knees spread shoulder length apart. Now, rise in to push up position (this move can also be performed on hands and knees) and simply shrug the shoulders up and down to strength the middle back. Perform 2 sets of 15.

4. Overhead Squat (Integration)

The overhead squat is performed by holding a weight object (dumbbells, barbell, weighted medicine ball) above the head while squatting to the floor. If your squatting depth is limited, try sitting down in a chair or elevated surface and move progressively lower as strength improves. Perform 3 sets of 8.

About the Author

Chris Kelly is a personal trainer and author of "fatloss fast" an online fitness/nutrition program geared to quickly change the body without starvation. To learn more visit Chris's blog at
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