“I want to make fitness simple and attainable for busy women”

-Allison Lambert

The Fit Tutor

10 Exercises To Correct “Mom Posture” (Rounded Shoulders)

What if your aches and pains could go away and you could look five pounds lighter? For many of us, our posture and muscular imbalances create those aches and pains and force our guts to stick out, creating the loathed “Thanksgiving-belly” year-round. We allow our lives and habits to wreck our postural alignment, and then wonder why we ache, feel old, and can’t get rid of that stomach “pooch.” I’ve talked about the importance of posture before, and although it doesn’t get much glory or get you your coveted beach body, good posture can help alleviate pain and help get you a strong foundation on which to build that six-pack!

What is “Mom Posture”?

This article will focus specifically on “mom posture” which consists of rounded shoulders, a forward head position, and an anterior pelvic tilt. Moms are troopers. After carrying the baby in utero, they then carry, nurse/feed, pick up after, and change the baby, etc. – mostly in a hunched position. After giving birth, muscles are weak, tired, stretched or shortened, and need to be rehabbed back to normal.

If you’re not a mom, don’t feel left out! These postural imbalances are also found in desk jockeys who hunch over their desks all day, people who have suffered injuries or have weaknesses, and people who have hunched since childhood.

If you feel like any of these describe you, this article should help you get realigned! These stretches and exercises should help you feel better and hopefully look slimmer, guys and gals alike!

Do All Moms Have It?

Mom posture isn’t a one size fits all deal, but it’s probably safe to say most moms have rounded shoulders. Some moms have a posterior pelvic tilt instead of an anterior one, so figure out which one you are by checking out this link. If you have a posterior one, skip the exercises I include for pelvic tilt in this blog and see the resources below!

This is a pretty complicated topic, and I’ll keep it as simple as possible. However, I still maintain the notion you should get assessed by a professional and get a personal corrective plan to really fix imbalances. I know that may not be realistic for everyone right now, so I hope these exercises work for you!

Exercises To Help Correct Rounded Shoulders

Doorframe Stretch

Rounded shoulders are caused by weak back muscles and tight chest muscles. To loosen up the chest muscles, you can try this
doorframe stretch:

chest stretch to help correct rounded shoulders and posture

Line your elbows and hands up with the door frame and step through, going only until there’s a stretch. Don’t force your way through farther if there’s pain. This will help loosen your chest muscles which may be pulling your shoulders forward. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

**BONUS exercise: This is another great chest stretch, if you happen to have time to just lie around on a foam roller or blanket:

Foam Roller Chest stretch for rounded shoulders

Make sure your head/neck are supported- I ignored that once and was quite dizzy when I stood up! Start by sitting on the edge and walking yourself back. The blanket/roller should be along your spine. Lay your arms out perpendicular to your body. If you feel tingling or numbness in your hands, prop your arms up on a blanket. Start with 30-60 seconds, depending on how you feel. You can work your way up to more.

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foam-roller

 

Band Pull Aparts

To work on strengthening your back muscles, you can try the band pull apart if you have an elastic band. These will help strengthen your rotator cuff and scapular stabilizer muscles, which will help pull your shoulders into correct alignment.

band pull apart for rounded shoulders and posture

Have your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent (not locked) and keep your spine in good alignment. Think about keeping your ribs over your hips, so your hips aren’t flared out. Pull the band back to even with your torso in a slow and controlled manner, pause, and return to the front. Keep your arms straight throughout the movement. Start with 1 set of 10 reps, and try to work your way up to 2-3 sets.

 

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resistance-bands

Scapular Pushups

Scapular Pushups can be challenging, but they are really helpful for strengthening your scapular stabilizers and rotator cuffs, which will help you keep your shoulders back.

scapular pushups to correct rounded shoulders and posture

Start in pushup/plank position, but have your hands a little closer together (under your shoulder blades instead of shoulders). Without bending your arms, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and then release and return to the starting position. If this is too challenging, you can make it easier by doing it on your knees, a couch or table, or a wall. Start with 1 set of 10 reps. Work your way up to 2-3 sets. Make sure you start out with the modification that you can complete all the reps correctly.

Wall Slides

Wall Slides have been the most challenging for me , but they are great for strengthening your scapular muscles.

scapular wall slides

Stand with your back to a wall, trying to keep your upper back and butt in contact with the wall. Walk your feet about 12-18 inches away from the wall. Lift your hands over your head and try to press your forearms into the wall. Slide your arms up and down the wall, by squeezing your shoulder blades. Focus on your scapular movement, and don’t fret if you can’t touch your arms to the wall. Think about starting with your hands in an “I” shape and dropping them to a “W.” Start out with 1 set of 10 reps. Work your way up to 2-3 sets.

Exercises To Help Correct Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Anterior pelvic tilts are linked to tight hip flexors and erector spinae, and weak rectus abdominis and glutes.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Performing this hip flexor stretch can help decrease the tightness in your hip flexors:

hip flexor stretch to correct mom posture

Start in a half kneeling position, with your knee on the floor placed directly under your hip. Lean forward over your kneeling leg, keeping your back straight. You will feel this in the hip of the leg on the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.

Glute Bridge

Strengthen your glutes with a glute bridge:

glute bridge exercise for posture

Start out lying on the floor with your knees bent and heels close to your butt. Press your heels into the floor, which will bring your butt and hips up. Keep your core tight and hips high. Hold each rep for 5 seconds. Do 1 set of 10 reps. Work your way up to 2-3 sets.

Plank

You can increase your rectus abdominis (RA) strength (and tone and tighten your core) with a good ol’ trusty plank! If you can’t hold good plank form, then you’re not ready for a floor plank. Start with a plank on a couch, or join the fit tutor to get detailed instructions and modifications. (If you have Diastasis Recti, skip the plank and do the next RA exercise.)

plank to strengthen your core and improve posture

For a plank, get on the floor on your stomach, with your forearms on the floor. Keep your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and toes curled under. Press up through your shoulders to bring your core up, so your body is in a straight line from head to toe. Once your body is no longer in a straight line your form has broke and you should rest. Go until you break good form and work on increasing your time in a stable, correct plankity-plank!

Dead Bug

Another RA exercise is a dead bug. This helps your core pull your hips back so you can keep a neutral spine.

dead bug corrective anterior pelvic tilt and posture

Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Think about contracting your lower abs into the floor, and extend one leg out straight. Don’t let your leg touch the ground; just let it hover a few inches over, and then bring it back to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite leg. To make it more challenging, you can lift your arms over your head as you move your legs. Start out with 5 reps on each side, making each rep last about 5 seconds. Work your way up to 2-3 sets of 10, and move on to a different variation.

Hip Hinge

It’s also good to practice a hip hinge. I do not have time (or maybe the average person doesn’t have the attention span? :)) to explain the importance of the hip hinge right now, but if you are a fit tutor member then you hear that phrase in a LOT of videos! :)

This will teach proper movement pattern and help fix current and prevent future problems. Do 10 reps, and work your way up to 2-3 sets of 10. Don’t be shy- have someone watch you to make sure you are doing it correctly. (Preferably someone you know??!)

hip hinge exercise for posture

Start out just a few inches away from the wall and sit back (keeping your back in neutral spine) to touch your butt to the wall. Once you feel comfortable with that movement, step a few inches out and try again. Your knees are bent, but the movement is all from your hips, driving them straight back to the wall.

Exercises To Help Correct Forward Head Position:

Chin Tuck

Performing a chin tuck will stretch out your tight neck muscles while strengthening postural muscles to help keep your head where it should be!

chin tuck to correct forward head position

Stand with your back straight against the wall, with your feet about 3 inches away. While keeping your chin down, pull your upper back and back of head to the wall. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Start with 1 set of 10 reps, and work your way up to 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps. Once you get the hang of the position you can do this at your desk or in your car while sitting down. This article has some more info that might be helpful.

**Side note: This is when a double chin is supa-cool!

Many of the rounded shoulder exercises will also help with a forward head position.

The Plan

I recommend doing these exercises a minimum of 3 days a week for the reps and sets described. These are definitely NOT the only recommended exercises you can do for these postural problems, so I’ve linked more resources below. I picked a reasonable amount for the busy person, or maybe for someone who is similar to me– I can find all the time in the world to lift, but when it comes to postural correction I suddenly am very busy ;) Taking the time to do these will DEFINITELY help. It’s a gradual process, but you will see results if you do them consistently!

Please share this with any fellow mother or desk jockey who you think could benefit from these exercises!

NEW on The Fit Tutor is a Postpartum Workout Program! If you’ve recently (or within the last few years!) had a baby, check out this program that rebuilds your core and pelvic floor, as well as helps you flatten your stomach and lose weight! 

Postpartum Workout Program

Also NEW: I’ve also created a few Posture warm-ups to complete before workouts that target the areas mentioned in this post!

I love being on this journey with you! I would love for you to join our exercise community and learn how to workout with The Fit Tutor! We offer instructional exercise videos with modifications for every level of exerciser. You can build your own workouts, go through one of our Workout Programs, or mix it up week to week with our challenging and fun Weekly Workouts!

Not ready to commit? You can get FREE WORKOUTS sent to your inbox each week! Sign up here:

Free Workouts!

Leave a comment about YOUR struggle with posture, or report back after trying these exercises! Also, ask any questions you might have!

Also, for all my HIMYM fans, life is short and you should feel good and do awesome air kicks. Hopefully, this will help you and you will celebrate with a victorious air kick!

air kicks in celebration of good posture!

Further Resources:

Anterior Pelvic Tilt:
T-Nation- Trouble with Correcting the Tilt
Up Your Asana- Erector Spinae Stretches
Fix Knee Pain- Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Rounded Shoulders & Forward Head Posture:
Primally Inspired – 6 Stretches to Prevent Rounded Shoulders
Exercisebiology.com- Exercises to Correct Forward Head and Shoulder Posture
T Nation- Heal That Hunchback

Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Exrx.net- Posture (scroll down to posterior pelvic tilt)
Men’s Health- Strengthen your Psoas
Knee Pain Explained- Glute Stretches
Best Massage etc- Hamstring Stretch
Wikihow- Strengthen your Quads Without Weights

***Disclaimer: Don’t start ANY exercise program without consulting a doctor first. I’m not a physical therapist, so these exercises are to help with posture, not to diagnose or treat any physical ailment! I definitely recommend seeing a doctor first, and also seeing a personal trainer to give you a specific postural analysis and personalized plan.

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24 Responses to “10 Exercises To Correct “Mom Posture” (Rounded Shoulders)”
  1. Great exercises for posture! I love that one you show on the foam roller – I do that one a couple of times a week and the band pull aparts. I am going to have to try the wall arm slides and the hip hinges – have never done those before.

    Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      Thanks Kimberlee! :) I LOVE the foam roller stretch! It has definitely become one of my favorites! The arm slides are surprisingly hard if you have forward rounded shoulders! Let me know how you like them! I think I’ve seen the best results from the scapular pushups! They are hard, but I feel like the build strength quickly to help keep your shoulders back :)

      Reply
  2. As a physical therapist treating patients all day long for postural imbalances I must say; you’ve truly hit the nail on the head. These 10 are enough to fix most problems if done diligently. Kudos

    Reply
  3. My 4 year old daughter started mouth breathing 6 months ago. Chiropractic adjustments haven’t helped. She now has swollen (not inflammed) tonsils (? and adenoids) and the steroid nasal spray and Claratyne (have fever medicine) didn’t help. I think it is related to how she squats when playing. She squats, feet flat on the floor, feet pointing out and leans over her bent legs and her whole back ends up curved, especially higher thoracic spine, like in kyphosis. Love to know your thoughts on that, whether it is changing how her jaw sits. She has slight overbite. thanks. Sandra

    Reply
  4. Thank you for these great moves. I learned some at a physical therapist but it was $50 a visit, w insurance. I am finally motivated again to stay consistent and feel/look better. I am a stay at home mom after working at a desk (improperly) for 8 years. I’m always slouched over and I have a lot of pain in my neck and shoulders. Here I go…day one of getting back to health!

    Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      That’s awesome Misty! I hope day one went well! :) I hope these exercises work well for you- they are effective if you do them consistently! And let me know if you need anything on your new journey to health! So exciting!

      Reply
  5. Thanks for your upbeat demos:) This describes my posture to a T! Hopefully with time I’ll be able to improve it:)

    Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      Thanks for your comment Cierra! Keep going with these exercises, and let me know if you have any questions! I’m excited for you! :)

      Reply
  6. Hi Allison, Thank you for your tips. My wife is looking for some stretches and exercise to improve her posture after giving birth. Now she keeps complaining about back pain. I hope your tips will help her to improve her posture and her back pain. I’m glad that I found your blog! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      Dillion, thank you so much for your comment! I hope these help- they definitely should alleviate some pain and help with posture. I also have a postpartum workout program that can help strengthen her core and back without putting pressure on her abs or any place stretched after giving birth! If these don’t fully help, that might be something to try. Tell your wife I think she’s a champ! :) Reach out if you guys have any questions. Congrats!!!!!

      Reply
  7. Allison, I love the postures you introduced here! May I know if I can translate your article into Chinese and post in my wechat account? I am running a non-profit jogging club named “energetic office” and am using my account to share exercise tips. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      Hi Jing Liu! Yes, that’s fine as long as you credit me with the content and link back to the fit tutor :) Thanks- I’m so glad you found this helpful! What an awesome club you’re running!

      Reply
  8. With the chin tuck does your lower back need to be flat on the wall (mine has a bit of a gap bo matter how close I try) & are knees meant to be straight?

    Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      Hey Sharon! if you can’t keep your back flat that’s OK. Our spines have a natural curve so that’s OK! You should still get the benefits of the chin tuck- I would focus more on your upper back being against the wall. And yes, the hip hinge is the beginning of a squat- but it’s not actually squatting down. It would be what you do right before you squat- throw your hips back to make sure your body is in good alignment! In this exercise, you’re doing that motion without actually squatting down :) If you know you have good squat form, squats are also good for posture so you could do those too! I hope this helps. Thanks!

      Reply
  9. marty s stankus

    The rounded should posture became very bad recently. Hope I can get help with some of these exercises. The one for forward head..I can’t do it! I have the stretch band so hoping the exercise with that will help. I am 77 yr old very active skinny lady. I fixed hair for 30 years but then worked at a desk at a PC for 22 yrs. I do take dance which works my core but now have COPD. Am I fighting a loosing battle. I pray I can get better with exercise.

    Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      Hi Marty! Thanks for your comment! Yes, doing these regularly but easing into them should help! If you can’t do the fwd head exercise, you could lie down on the ground and get your neck used to being in that position. Just lie there, allowing gravity to help. From there you could press the back of your head into the floor and hold for 1/2 a second, and then let up. You could do this seated against a wall if getting on the ground is hard for you :) Good luck!!

      Reply
    • Allison Lambert
      Allison Lambert

      Thanks so much Susan! So glad you found these helpful! :)

      Reply
  10. “I loved this post! There are so many people who suffer from postural problems! I will bookmark it for future reference.

    Thanks for posting!

    Reply
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