What’s up Gronk Fitness,
Many people think that training your back is the exact opposite of training your chest; hence the two cancel each other out, meaning that your shoulders will be 100% balanced and healthy if you perform back and chest exercises to 1:1 ratio.
Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that your biggest back muscles are the lats and not only they don’t externally rotate the shoulder but they actually contribute to its internal rotation! After all, one of the functions of the lats is arm adduction and internal (medial) shoulder rotation! So, thinking that training your lats will prevent shoulder imbalances, kyphotic posture and injuries is just plain wrong.
What actually CANCELS out the postural effects of ONLY training chest is TRAINING YOUR REAR DELTS, RHOMBOIDS, LOWER & MID TRAPS & ROTATOR CUFF muscles. And sure, those muscles do get activated to an extent when you’re performing your pull-ups, rows or lat pulldowns but it’s definitely not enough.
How To ACTUALLY Fix Those Rounded Shoulders
The only exercise you need to address that upper back/rear delt and shoulder weakness is a Face Pull with external rotation. Emphasize EXTERNAL ROTATION. That’s because you can perform a face pull with internally rotated shoulders which might be a good upper trap workout but it’s definitely devastating for your shoulders’ long term health and injury prevention. All you need to perform this exercise is a Cable Pulley System and a Rope Attachment. Alternatively, you can perform the same movement with Strength Bands.
- Use the Rope Attachment. Straight Bars, V-Bars or EZ-Bars will NOT do.
- The attachment should be around chest or head height.
- Grab the rope with your palms facing AWAY, not each other.
- Retract and depress your scapula, pull the rope while twisting it so that your palms are now facing behind you (external rotation of the shoulder)
- Slowly return to the starting position, completely stretching out the upper and mid back muscles.
How Often To Do This
You can do this on your back or shoulder day, or IDEALLY, you could do this between your bench press sets. In fact, you will find that doing it in-between your pushing sets will take all your shoulder pain away and you will be able to press more weight because your shoulders will be in a mechanically advantageous position.
That’s how you lift safely. That’s how you become the best version of yourself. That’s how you get your mind right.